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Hands-On With Watch Dogs' Emergent Gameplay

During a hands-on demo with Ubisoft's Watch Dogs today, I experienced the kind of emergent gameplay that the publisher's Montreal studio has been promising since E3 2012. I was taken through a series of events, and while the scenario I created wasn't intended, it did showcase what Watch Dogs is all about.

I was asked to respond to a crime in progress at a gun shop. Unfortunately, along the way, I fumbled with the controls and accidentally pulled my gun. A bystander noticed and called the police before I could jam his phone (or rip it away from him and smash it). My choices became clear: run from the oncoming swarm of police or try to stop a hold-up.

I'm glad I decided to be the hero. As I entered the gun shop, the stick-up man fled through the back door. As I burst through, I encountered three armed thugs backing up the robber. I took the primary criminal down as four police cars arrived on scene, starting a three-way battle.

I opted to flee after taking down my first target, but the police decided that the three guys shooting at them were more important than I was. I escaped quickly, much to my delight.

This situation could have played out in at least two different ways. I could have been smart enough to keep my gun in my pocket and fallen into the crooks' trap, leading to a shoot-out with armed criminals. The police could have arrived later, or not at all depending on who was walking by on the street. Or, I could have fled from the beginning and engaged in a high speed chase, using blockers, steam pipes, traffic lights, and bridges to confound law enforcement. I'll admit that Ubisoft's promise of truly emergent gameplay had me skeptical, but now that I've gotten my hands on the title and accidentally created one of these moments, I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to playing it.

Watch Dogs will be releasing on November 15 alongside the PlayStation 4 and November 19 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC. No Xbox One release date has been confirmed yet, but it is safe to assume it will be available in the same window.

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  • I'm glad that the game seems to deliver what it promises. With all the trailers, some think that over-saturation is a sign that the game is lacking. That doesn't seem to be the case. I'll be getting it!
  • It feels like we get a new trailer for this every couple of days. Not complaining though! It looks great & I can't wait to pick it u on next gen.

  • very exciting, can;t wait. only disappointment is ps4 is gonna launch before xbone, which means I'll get watch dogs for ps4...and I really prefer open world, or most games for that matter, on xbox controller. Hopefully new dualshock lives up to the hype and really is a solid improvement,
  • I must admit, the more I read about it, the more attractive the game becomes. It's still not at pre-order status in my opinion, but that could change in the near future.

  • Awww man...thought I was coming here to see gameplay -__-
  • Sounds like fun. It's good that they didn't make that stuff up about the gameplay.

  • Sounds fantastic, can't wait for the ps4 launch.

  • sooo bloody excited after reading that!

  • Awesome.. I hate to say it but it's rare to be truly emerged in a game these days although there are some quality titles out there. I need to decide if I'm playing this or Black Flag first!
  • Now i'm starting to feel the excitement. November 15th here we come. I wasn't that excited until getting the PS4 release date confirmed, now I'm counting the days
  • I can't wait to play this on my Wii U

  • Its awesome that the setting is in chicago. looking def. looking forward to this game.

  • This game looks so fun, it's breeming with potential and can't wait to check it out.

  • I can't wait to play this come November 15th.

  • So its a hacker that can fight as well... NERDGASM!!

  • So, I'm gonna have this, AC:IV, and BF4 to play all on November 15th. I have no idea which one to play first.

  • game looks really good hope it has a good story as well
  • Why am I not playing this right now?

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