‘Watch Dogs’: Hack Your Way to Victory in These 3 Multiplayer Modes
It’s not even out yet, but Watch Dogs has been making headlines for almost two years. Its first big splash happened when developer Ubisoft announced the game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2012. The demo looked amazing — so amazing that it was obviously built for next-gen consoles that Sony and Microsoft hadn’t even announced yet. Now that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are out, the game is scheduled to hit shelves on May 27. In the marketing ramp-up happening now, Ubisoft has released a video detailing some of the game’s unique multiplayer offerings. Let’s take a look at what makes the multiplayer in Watch Dogs special.
First off, Watch Dogs is an open-world game based in a futuristic “smart” city in which practically everything is connected online. The game stars a hacker named Aiden Pearce, who can use his phone to do all sorts of damage by hacking into ctOS, the smart city’s infrastructure. He can change traffic lights to cause accidents, steal from the bank accounts of passersby, and activate road barriers to escape the police. The game’s multiplayer component turns this futuristic open world into a playground you and your friends can use in a number of different ways.
Unlike popular multiplayer games such as Call of Duty and Halo, both the single-player and multiplayer modes in Watch Dogs take place in the same world. There are no special maps just for multiplayer, which means that if you’ve played the campaign, you’re already familiar with the environment when you take your session online. In this way, it’s similar to Grand Theft Auto V.
In one multiplayer mode, people can have hacking contracts put out on them. When someone jumps into your game to fulfill a contract, you get a notification that says, “You are being invaded.” A circle appears on your mini-map, which means the invading hacker is somewhere in your game inside the circled area. Your job is to go around profiling people nearby to try to figure out who is hacking you before they finish the job. Meanwhile, the hacker is trying to remain inconspicuous as you seek them out.
In the demo video Ubisoft released, Aiden struggles to find the hacker, so he pulls out a pistol and started shooting into the air. This makes the non-playable characters panic and run away, while the hacker lays low and hopes he isn’t noticed. This doesn’t work, and a car chase ensues, with the hacker followed by Aiden, who’s is also pursued by the cops. The hacker gets away in the end, but because Aiden identified him within the time frame, he gets partial “notoriety” points, which he can use to upgrade his skill tree.
Another multiplayer demo shown in the video is entirely different. Instead of both players playing the full game, one of the players is using the free ctOS Mobile Companion App for tablets. In this mode, the player on the console is trying to evade the police, just like in the regular game. The player using the ctOS app, however, interacts with an overhead map to control the smart city in an effort to keep the other player from reaching certain checkpoints on time. The player on the tablet can execute hacks in front of the opponent’s vehicle, like making steam pipes explode and raising barriers. He can also deploy police cars and helicopters to get in the way.
The last multiplayer mode shown in the video is Competitive Decryption Combat. Here, you and your buddies compete against other teams to locate a file, steal it, and decrypt it. This mode quickly turns into a series of shootouts and car chases between teams, but with a dash of hacking added in for good measure. You can raise waist-high barriers for cover and create location-specific distractions to make the gunfights even more chaotic.
From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Watch Dogs will offer a wide variety of multiplayer options, and each one will have a unique spin, thanks to the game’s focus on hacking a futuristic smart city.