Yeah, okay. Microsoft and Sony showed off some pretty cool things today during their E3 2012 press conferences, but the ones that really stole the show for many of us here at SideQuesting was Ubisoft.
Sure, their conference was a horrifying gestalt of awkwardness, despair and ‘wajah’, but look at tose games! Not only did they show off footage for upcoming Rayman, Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell games, but they also revealed a brand new game you might not have heard of yet, Watch Dogs.
Watch Dogs looks to be all about what happens when living in a society where our every move, our every thought, can be monitored and even influenced through technology.
Normally, I’m one of the first to scoff at the idea that modern science and technology is really going to one day ruin all of our lives. That’s one of the benefits of being so young in this industry; I’ve grown up with things like the internet and other advancements all my life. It’s second nature to me and I’m much more comfortable trusting technology and adapting around it. However, as a concept for a video game, I find the concept fascinating.
In the trailer posted above, we see the protagonist using a smartphone to jam cell phone signals, scan for people’s personal information and even interfere with city services like traffic lights. The gameplay looks as though it could walk a fine line between creating a power fantasy, and (in my case, anyway) actually making the player question how and whether or not that power should be used. It’s scary stuff, especially when you consider that it might not be that farfetched. The amount of data that corporations and the government can pull from the devices and services we use can be staggering. And with some of the new legislature being put through congress, it’s likely it will only be getting worse.
Graphically, the game looks amazing with some of the better looking water effects and facial animations that I’ve seen this generation. Of course, that could all be post-production trickery, but if Watch Dogs can even approach, I would remain impressed.
My biggest issue is that the game has that special air about it that makes me think it’s not something we’ll see any time soon. Some developers, especially Ubisoft, have a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver on games that set the bar so high with interesting concepts. Watch Dogs practically reeks of that same overreaching attitude that plagued games like Splinter Cell: Conviction, the first Assassin’s Creed and I Am Alive.
Regardless, the Watch Dogs trailer stole the show during the Ubisoft conference for me, perhaps for the entire first day of E3. Hopefully we’ll see more on the game in the months to come and hopefully it can deliver on its grandiose concept.