Scanning the headline above, the uninitiated might be prone to think that it refers to some famous celebrity needing to be more mindful of where they’re walking late at night after several drinks. All puns aside, we’re talking video games here, not “awareness of local hazards” and it’s pretty obvious at this point that RockStar certainly seems to have some stiff competition in the new IP, “Watch Dogs”.
Having more or less rose to the pinnacle of achievement for open world game development, RockStar games is most well-known for its mega-successful “Grand Theft Auto” franchise. Throughout the course of the series they’ve drastically improved upon their model and formula, providing gamers a window into entirely new worlds which are steeped in crime and intrigue. With their latest effort, GTA V, RockStar has what can only be considered a bona-fide hit on their hands, the sort of game that people just can’t stop playing, talking and thinking about. This interest stems from their tireless attempts at improving upon the core elements of the gameplay model which they’ve gradually expanded upon across a number of sequels.
Starting off with GTA III, RockStar gave us what might be considered the first truly good free-roaming title for a home console – the sort of game that might have been just a bit ahead of its time. Fast-forward to the present day and they’ve pushed things to an incredible level with GTA V, now, players have even more freedom and stuff to do while at the same time, everything’s been given a graphical overhaul. When you’re playing you often become fully absorbed into the action, scenery, characters and wild-eyed plot.
It might be hard for some people to imagine that studios are working on games which push things even further than GTA V, but that definitely seems to be the case, particularly with the next-gen titles. Perhaps the most-lauded upcoming release out there is “Watch Dogs”, which is being spearheaded by none other than Ubisoft. In short, where GTA V is able to effectively wow you with its size, detail and macro-oriented view of things, Watch Dogs takes us in both directions simultaneously. In other words, you can expect to explore a vast world / city in Watch Dogs as well. Where GTA V lacks any sort of mechanic for interacting on the micro scale, Watch Dogs excels. This essentially means that you will be able to not only explore the very expansive map, but also dive into the lives of passerby’s among other things.
To be honest, Watch Dogs seems to be a truly “first of its kind” – type game, something of an evolved GTA. What type of things will you be able to do in Watch Dogs? See our articl - Things you'll be able to do in Watch Dogs. In the game you have so many activities to engage in that you might not even know where to start. What’s more, the environment and basic social demeanor of the residents seems to be extremely dynamic too, meaning that we might not be dealing with completely static NPC’s who interact with you the same way, regardless of your notoriety. Naturally, the “hacking” element of the game is one of the big draws as it presents gamers with a mechanic which might allow them to either complete objectives, learn about new missions or even add to their own sustenance.
But that’s not all; of course, there’s also the extremely agile moves which the lead character can pull off, many of which take on a parkour-like quality somewhat reminiscent of the gameplay from Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series. Don’t get the wrong idea though, Watch Dogs isn’t a dim-witted mish-mash of various concepts, it’s a fully-fledged model which is very vibrant and perhaps even unprecedented. The game’s developers have commented (perhaps not in so many words) that the game as it is simply couldn’t exist on the 7th generation consoles, implying that the extra horse-power of the PS4 and Xbox ONE would be required to fully render everything to their vision. Make no mistake, this new IP is definitely a major contender and the level of intricacy, detail and scale is absolutely breathtaking.
Of course this isn’t to say that RockStar isn’t also on top of their game; let’s not forget that GTA V is perhaps the top rated console title out there right now. Having been on top for so long, they’re likely very used to undermining emerging IP’s who might be looking to kick the king of the hill off of its mount. However, Watch Dogs is a completely different beast that’s going to be released on a new platform, no less. Moreover, with Ubisoft delaying the release of Watch Dogs to Q2 2014 in order to fully flesh it out a bit more, it’s very likely that the finished product will be nothing short of amazing. When a company has a great game on deck that’s also poised to be a launch title and they pull out at the last minute, you know they must have big plans.
Yet another factor to consider is the way in which the multiplayer element is construed in Watch Dogs. In GTA V there is the separate multiplayer mode (which is also very good), but with Watch Dogs other players can essentially affect your game as if you were loaded inside of the Matrix or something. Competing players can manipulate the traffic lights or even try to hack your in-game devices to trip you up. (As far as we currently know WD will not have a conventional multiplayer. Perhaps Ubi is adding a multiplayer mode even as we speak? ? That’s purely speculative.)
Even though it’s patently obvious that RockStar is in fact “King of the Hill” when it comes to open world adventure in a modern setting (certainly GTA V is a testament to that), it’s not outside the realm of possibility that someone is going to challenge their title. Many in the video game industry see the Watch Dogs franchise developing into something truly special and spectacular which will not only challenge RockStar directly, but also perhaps alter the market landscape as well.