Watch Dogs is THE Surprise Game of E3 2012

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E3 has been a dud so far if you ask me. Not that there aren’t good games being shown, it’s just there’s been very little in the way of truly memorable announcements or stage demos.

Microsoft’s briefing was a bad joke. Halo 4, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Tomb Raider were standouts, but more time was spent spotlighting third-party multi-platform titles and pushing TV show services and smart device integration than rolling out Xbox 360 exclusives no one had heard about before. Sony blew some minds and dropped some jaws with The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls, but wasted too much of the presentation on neat but ultimately gimmicky augmented reality tech that didn’t always work so well (Wonderbook says hi) and completely dropped the ball on selling folks on the future of the Vita. Nintendo didn’t do any better this morning, basically just repeating a bunch of the same Wii U talking points as last year while strutting out safe franchise titles with “U” attached to the end and showing PS3/Xbox 360 ports with gimmicky new GamePad features. Every time they’d start to talk about something potentially cool, they’d fail to come through with any specifics, choosing instead to say that more would be announced later. If the Wii U is coming this holiday season, it seems like Nintendo should have really hammered home more concrete details regarding the launch.

Amidst all the boredom from the big boys, Ubisoft has thus far been the star of E3, particularly for its delivery of perhaps the only actual out-of-clear-blue surprise game reveal. That game being Watch Dogs.

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While much of E3 is a who’s who of big-franchise sequels, Watch Dogs is a brand new IP in development by the Ubisoft Montreal crew behind Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Rainbow 6. The premise alone has many folks saying “how come I never thought of that?”

The story of Watch Dogs is so perfect for the digital “connected” age we now live in. With everything and everyone linked together by one giant network of technology, Watch Dogs explores the potential reality of what could happen if this network were hacked. (Good thing I already avoid social media as much as possible and don’t use smart devices of any kind.)

Aiden Pearce is the antihero of this modern tale, a hacker who has cracked the Central Operating System of the open-world city in which the game takes place and uses it to monitor the digital shadow of the city’s citizens and control the invisible technological infrastructure around him. By tapping into the system, Aiden can monitor phone calls, disable communications, or trigger traffic lights to cause accidents, all from his futuristic Swiss army knife of a cellphone. He still shoots people, too.

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The game itself is a technical marvel. Watching the real-time gameplay, it’s hard to believe Watch Dogs isn’t some tech demo for a game that’s coming a couple more years down the road. The demo Ubisoft presented was running off a PC, however the game is also in development for consoles and will be released next year. Amazing!

Impressive stuff, Ubi. I can’t wait to see more!

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!