A history of Watch Dogs games
How Ubisoft's legendary hacker series came to be
With the impending release of the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, Ubisoft is set to release Watch Dogs: Legion, the third game in one of their newest series on October 29th, 2020 for PC.
We are going to break out the pocket watch and turn back the clock a bit for a dive into the history of the lauded franchise - takin us back to Watch Dog's origins in 2014.
Hack the planet!
Set in modern day 2013 in Chicago, Watch Dogs combined the rich exploration and open-ended gameplay of Assassin’s Creed with more of a techie bent. Playing as hacker extraordinaire Aiden Pearce, players explore the Windy City while trying to expose the downside of the new ctOS (central Operating System) controlling every online device.
In an interview with AusGamers, designer Danny Bélanger notes how they tried to give players freedom in how they approached missions: "We want to say, we’re not changing the rules of the game all the time, now it’s stealth, now it’s combat [...] But our philosophy is mainly, let the player play like he wants -- it’s his game, it’s his experience."
A notable feature at the time was the tie-in Watch Dogs Companion app for mobile devices. Players could connect to another person’s game to change things in the city, make fun challenges for them to complete, and more. Through the main game, players could dig into an online multiplayer mode with coop and competitive modes.
Watch Dogs eventually got a DLC pack called Watch Dogs: Bad Blood - which is included in the Watch Dogs Complete Edition - featuring additional single-player content set after the core game where players had a different protagonist in Raymond T-Bone Kenney.
Tying up loose ends in the story, Bad Blood is an epilogue of sorts that features heavy use of a tricked out RC car.
Hacking at the dock by the bay
After the success of Watch Dogs, Ubisoft greenlit Watch Dogs 2. Now set in San Francisco, users play as Marcus Holloway helping him take down ctOS while recruiting more members to his DedSec hacker group.
Driving controls were tweaked to be more responsive, and the side missions were overhauled to fit into the main narrative better. Multiplayer made a return with half a dozen competitive modes as well as an open world mode with co-op missions.
In an interview with Bone Idle, Watch Dogs 2 Senior Writer Lucien Soulban noted in-game operations (missions) can be completed in any order for the most part and they can be found "by exploring the world so each player's experience will be different. There are some key Narrative moments that we want the player to live that will unlock new Operations and create Narrative continuity, but these are exceptions."
Five DLC packs were released for Watch Dogs 2 including new story missions, skins, cars, and weapons - all of which are included in the Watch Dogs 2 - Gold Edition.
We are Legion
The newest game in the series, Watch Dogs: Legion, is set for an October 29th, 2020 release on PC. Ubisoft decided to takes things out of the United States and set their new story in London.
A major change from past games in the series is the ability to switch between recruitable hackers to utilize their individual skills. Recruiting these hackers involves completing a mission for them first to sway them to your side (shades of the loyalty missions from Mass Effect 2).
Online game modes will not be available at launch, but should come bundled in a December 2020 update. There will be an open world multiplayer as well as specific modes as well including the intriguing competitive Spiderbot Arena.
A Season Pass is available which grants players two post-game story expansions, four unique hero characters, three Dedsec Missions, and a Dedsec car skin when they are released. Season Pass owners will also receive Watch Dogs Complete Edition.
Who watches the Watch Dogs?
If you're waiting to play Watch Dogs: Legion, why not check out our range of great Watch Dogs titles available to buy and play right now on the Fanatical Store.
Article by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
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