Titan Books is one of the more well-known producers of graphic art novels for anime, film and video games and they tend to deliver the goods for their core audience time and time again. With “The Art of Watch Dogs”, authors Andy McVittie and Paul Davies has more or less expertly laid out the visual cues and driving forces which ultimately helped to create Ubisoft’s amazing sandbox title, “Watch Dogs”.
Those who might be expecting an avalanche of 2D concept art, like what is found in many of Titan’s other offerings might be a bit disappointed. Because there was obviously a lot of direct CG design performed in creating the game itself, you’ll find far fewer traditional examples of pre-production video game art. In effect, this also means that the book itself is perhaps a bit thinner than the usual examples as well. Nevertheless, what is there is stunning and provides incredible insight into how such a complex title was visualized and subsequently pieced together from various elements.
All in all, one can see how it might be somewhat challenging to squeeze everything into a book that’s only around 144 pages long, especially when you’re dealing with an absolutely massive game (upon which it is based). However, once you actually begin to delve into it you’ll be inundated with information. Seriously, you really have to take your time and visually explore each page as there’s tons of data scattered throughout. There’s explorations of the scenery, logos and other unique facets as well as additional pertinent commentary that allows you to peer deep into the inner workings of the game itself (from an art perspective, that is).
In terms of its physical construction, Titan opted to go with a sort of wire-bound format which allows you to both lay each set of pages flat as well as perhaps explore a larger section of the page. Moreover, if you’re not dealing with paperback pressings it could also be argued that the book will ultimately last much longer.
In terms of quips and quibbles, one could point out various shortcomings relating to the way information is laid out (or again, the rather brief length), but these are minor issues really. Each chapter deals with a specific subset of game-related details, like “The Underground” which details the various symbols and whatnot that pertain to the in-game hacktivist organization, “DedSec”. Aspiring graphic artists and video game makers will also find lots to love in “The Loop”, “The Docks”, “The Mad Mile” and of course, “Dramatis Personae” (the latter of which details all of the characters, etc.)
In short, “The Art of Watch Dogs” is a great little graphic art novel that provides all the additional insight you need into the game (of the same name). Looking past the minor detractions, those responsible for putting this product together have really done a wonderful job of expanding the title’s universe and offering us a peek behind the scenes to see how all of this actually came about. Buy “The Art of Watch Dogs” on Amazon.com.