*Updated with new information found in the “Character Trailer” – 05/13/14
Unless you’ve completely disconnected from the web recently, you probably know that Watch_Dogs has a release date and a new trailer that explains the storyline. This trailer has all sorts of awesomeness embedded in it, including a new enemy (frienemy by the end?) and a few explanations for the relationships that Aiden has with his friends. Lots of stuff to pick apart, so let’s get to it!
The first thing I want discuss to is the Eater Egg found in AC:4 that links the Assassin’s Creed universe with that of Watch_Dogs. The fine people of ACVideos have posted this video on YouTube outlining precisely what I mean:
This is file accessed in AC:4 is one of many files that can be found by HACKING computers at Absergo. As shown, it appears that Blume, the company behind CTOS wants to sell their product to Abstergo, to help secure all of their intellectual property (…and more!). This Easter Egg can be one of two things:
- Confirms a link between two Ubisoft game franchises, or
- Simple Easter Egg planted as a little advertising for their other game, and to make conspiracy theorists go mad trying to piece together a puzzle that isn’t there.
If it IS a link between worlds, that would open up all sorts of new cross over opportunities. Abstergo’s biggest strength in AC is its resources: Their wealth, their reach, their omnipresence in everything that society consumes and does. Aiden Pearce and friends are specialized hackers. If they’re able to hack in to the most sophisticated network on the planet, and that network is what is controlling and “protecting” a body of data on the scale of the Templars, could we see Aiden show up as a resource to the Assassins?
Segueing back to the Watch_Dogs trailer, the first of a few other links between WD and AC arise. Yes, I realize that both are heavy on the use of cyberspace, but just look at how the city is introduced to the trailer:
VERRRY similar to that of how the cities and environments are constructed in to AC. Again, is this because of the heavy reliance on Cyberspace and the crew at Ubisoft have found a comfy niche, or is it hinting at something more?
Just in case you missed that static screen, here it is captured:
I’m going to guess that this is the initiation of the “Profiler App” that was shown in the previous trailers. After this message is briefly flashed across the screen, we see the camera fly across the city and land somewhere by a waterway with video feed shown:
Here, we see a man and a woman enjoying what seems to be a leisurely stroll around the city on a sunny day. However, around the woman’s face is an alert, complete with an exclamation point. The text included to the left of the warning symbol is “MISSING” and “<1 MONTH>”. This is probably due to the omnipresence of the ctOS, where all utilities are intermingled. In this case, we have the police department missing person’s database, facial recognition, and street/security cameras operating in conjunction, all of which are features of the ctOS. Flash back to that other trailer:
It’s like a checklist! Also worth noting in this screen shot is the similarities in visual styles between AC and WD. Everything is pure black and white, with a simple, super clean arrangement.
Over all this, we hear Aiden stating the following:
I was the best at what I did. A Hacker. A Thief. I got in, got out. No one got hurt.
These words indicate Aiden’s personality and preferred method of attack. Absolutely non-confrontational, stealing only what he needed, and leave everything else untouched. He knows the rules and how things play out. As long as he kept a low enough profile, he wouldn’t attract attention. Hacking computer systems creates a sense of urgency amongst network security firms and departments, but nothing brings about the public’s attention and demand for action like physical violence. By remaining not physical, the general public won’t mind, and thus won’t demand that their public officials take action.
Aiden: Until I discovered something I was never meant to see.
And thus, begins our tale in to the deep recesses of corporate and black market espionage, bribery, extortion, and everything else that I’m sure we’ll be dipping in to. Seen in the video monitors, are several people lying on the floor, presumably dead, while on last victim on the center screen gets strangled and left for the same fate.
Suddenly, we see this man:
Shushing us or whomever he may be dealing with, with a notable amount of graffiti and random posters shown behind him. In the very next scene, we see a man walking with a cane with some difficulty wearing the same trenchcoat being followed by another person brandishing a pistol.
Add a gun shot sound effect to aid the transition, and we see Aiden standing in front of a grave
Aiden: That’s when they came for me, but killed her
Born: June 6th, 2006
Died: October 26, 2012
At Age 6
Obviously, this would be the same grave that he was standing by during the last T.A.O. review that I did for Watch_Dogs. Given the age of the deceased and her name sake, this would indicate that the young girl would be his daughter or niece. So Aiden is pilfering as he always does, and stumbles across some security footage not meant for peering eyes. Creepy old guy with yellow teeth does not approve of this, so he sets out to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, they end up killing his Lena, and not Aiden, thus establishing a storyline based on revenge.
Now, I’m coming for them.
Aiden: Whatever is in those file will lead me to them
Just to reinforce the dependency on hacking for this campaign, we see a quick shot of a server room. And oh lordy, what a server room it is!
Clara: You want revenge? This phone can turn the city in to a weapon!
These words are spoken by the previously unknown woman from the first trailer, who is now known to be Clara Lille. In this exchange, it confirms that the phone that Aiden uses and is central to the gameplay for WD is, in fact, NOT created by Aiden. While this does not 100% confirm that the phone is of Clara’s personal creation, it does show that she at least has access to it and hands the technology off to Aiden. Also, you can see a bit of forlorn empathy in her eyes and expression as she shows Aiden the phone. It is not known from this trailer if Aiden discusses his motives in enough detail to let Clara know about Lena, but the loss of a child may be enough to elicit such an emotional response.
Some additional information on Clara: From her entry on the WD Wiki, it is noticed that he shirt has a DEDSEC skull on it, and we are able to make out some Illuminati imagery on her chest tattoo. A young, tattooed girl with a penchant for hacking is highly similar to the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo , so much so that Sony has decided to switch it up a bit for their own exclusive gameplay, as seen here. Possibly because the movie is also property of Sony Pictures? Personally, I enjoyed the Swedish version.
As soon as the above words are uttered, the next scene we see Aiden evading the police on a motorcycle. He hits a button on his phone, and bollards pop up from the street. From the screen capture shown, Aiden is able to (barely) whiz through the bollards and catch the cop cars in a serious crash. Aside from giving us a quick demo of the phone’s capabilities, it also gives us a MAJOR hint on how it is intended to be used. During gameplay, learn and remember where these bollard traps are and can be sprung. I’m sure they’ll be useful later on when attempting to evade during an inevitable high speed escape chase!
Lucky: Your men are expendable, Mr. Iraq.
*At this time, I am unable to discern the exact name that is being enunciated here. As soon as I have more info, I’ll update this blog post according. 3/08/14
In this scene, we see Lucky letting another man, Iraq, know what the deal is. Apparently, Lucky has some form of empire that he controls, and Iraq has command of some form of either security forces or other “muscle” used for enforcement. Given that this meeting is taking place in what looks like the back of a boiler room and the unknown kingpin has his own suited muscle standing at the door, I highly doubt anything discussed is strictly legal.
In between shots of the shady dealing, we see a quick takedown by Aiden. In the screen capture, there are a few things to point out:
1. Deflected pistol shot, fluidly followed by pushing the attacker down and completing the maneuver with a shotgun blast to the face.
As stated in my previous T.A.O. post, both Watch_Dogs and Assassin’s Creed are made by Ubisoft. AC, in all of it’s iterations, has seen many takedown and assassination animations in varying levels of cinematic excellence. We’ve already seen a beatdown sequence with a baton, and if you’ve played the Freedom Cry DLC for AC4 you know that Ubisoft already has experience working a shotgun/blunderbuss in to beatdown sequences. Will they follow suit in WD and create beatdown animations with all the various weapons to be found in the game?
2. There’s another body on the ground in the background. Again pushing the combat aspect. If that body was also dispatched by Aiden, the perhaps this hacker has had some combat training.
3. The attacker is wearing a hoodie that is the same shade of orange as Iraq.
It may be a stretch to say that this man is one of Iraq’s enforcers, but the fact that the color is maintained between shots and that we’re seeing this scene in this context, maybe it isn’t that far of a stretch after all.
Lucky: My empire is not. Don’t forget who runs this city.
Ok, so all sorts of “wrong” are going on in this scene! First we see that this is a continuation of the previous conversation between Lucky and Iraq. Behind the gentlemen, we see quite the sophisticated auction in progress. On the screens, we see the headshots of many women. No names are given, only numbers. All the way to the left on the larger screen partition, the woman’s picture is accompanied by a list of stats including age (20), nationality (Russian), and hair color (dark brown). On other screens, we see other stats and updates rolling in, such as “NEW”, “SOLD”, and what I am going to assume is an increase of bids. As the numbers and faces flash across the screen, we also see three women on a stage towards the bottom left. These women are being viewed by a group of men, presumably employees of the Lucky’s or possible clients. Also there is a boat thrown in the back for good measure. The boat appears to be up on blocks, so I’m not exactly sure why it’s included in this scene. This particular scene seems to be an expansion of the Sex Trafficking displayed in the “Exposed” trailer posed back in June.
T-Bone: Trillions of bots and information at your fingertips
Clara: You wanna tell me what’s going on?
At this point in the trailer, we get so see a quick look at what “Aiden and Friend’s” hideout is going to look like. As shown in the pic, Clara has made a return and we are now introduced to Whistler, I mean “T-Bone”. As any good hero, he can’t do it alone. As it would seem, Aiden will be working with two additional people; Clara, as shown before handing Aiden the phone, and T-Bone. It’s not quite clear what T-Bone’s role will be, but given that he’s flipping the bird in his profile pick in the wiki, I really hope we get to see more of that kind of attitude through the game!
To answer Clara’s question, T-Bone simply replies with just about everything that you can probably already guess would be included in an action game about hacking and network security in the digital age.
The next few scenes serve as an action montage of what can be expected for cinematics in the game. A few of the “Big Explosions” that T-Bone was talking about, a chase sequence on top of a train (Which if you’re an Archer fan, you know this may not be as awesome as you may think), and some fancy baton action. Towards the end of this montage we see a brief sequence in which Aiden lets loose 4 shots at point blank range in to another man’s gut.
Between this, the baton move, and the Shotgun execution, I think it’s safe to say that Aiden will be employing similar kill animation sequences similar to that of AC.
It made me so happy that this guy came back to this trailer for an extended appearance! Not only is his high fashion sense back on the screen, but his suave demeanor is being tested by whatever havoc Aiden just rained down on some enemies. Jordi Chin, as he is to be known, is in the process of getting a grip of whatever that situation may be and want to sneak away from “a bunch of dead bodies” and in to a city of 40,000 people. Aiden’s solution is the famed “Black Out” function on his phone.
A few more cutscenes show T-Bone and Clara getting their hands dirty with a little work. T-Bone is ripping a server out, probably to bring back to their hideout for hacking, and Clara gets a sly smile across her face after blowing the dust off some kind of console deck. As expected, there will be plenty of hacking in to various networks and network drives.
So you’re the shit raining down on me?
Back to Iraq, and he’s got his gun drawn on Aiden. Ya, he’s the guy causing all sorts of problem for you, the city, and the Sex Trafficking Kingpin! What’s interesting here is that there’s a meeting between him and Aiden at all. If they meet at some point during the story, why isn’t Aiden blown away right there? Given the tone of disbelief in Iraq’s voice, it sounds like he may have developed a sense of respect for Aiden at this point. Does Iraq have a change of heart when he finally has a chance to kill Aiden? Do they team up to bring down the Sex Trafficking Ring?
You’re interfering with my plans!
Well, if Aiden is interfering with plans, what are those plans? Do they align with the Lucky’s? Do you have aspirations of bringing the Lucky down? Are you looking to make a name for yourself, and consequently your crew, in an entirely different way? Are you going to take the throne for yourself, or are you after some kind of similar vigilante justice just like Aiden? So many questions and I want answers!
The next few clips display more of the gameplay mechanics. Another baton beatdown, activating street barricades, random hackings, and the like.
Bloodied dude: This is huge! You gotta walk away from this, man!
Aiden: Some things you can’t walk away from! (BANG!)
Obviously, Aiden is driven both by principle and by personal vengeance. That is a volatile combination for anyone, let alone someone with the abilities and resources that Aiden’s character has. Note that in this scene, the bloodied man is absolutely terrified of Aiden, but is still pleading with him. Not for his own life, but for Aiden’s sake! Also note that the Aiden’s fist is bloody, so it would appear that Aiden was the one doing the, umm, “interrogation”. From this trailer and from the others, it is plain to see that Aiden is on a highly destructive path, laying a swath of devastation until he reaches his final goal.
This game is going to be highly complex, highly immersive, and will have a storyline on par with some of the best. What is yet to be seen is if it will be on par with the depth of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. That question can only be answered, I am willing to bet, upon completion of the game. I can remember when a friend of mine finally convinced me to give AC a try, it wasn’t until the last scene with Desmond and his “Bleeding Effect” and being able to utilize the Eagle Vision to see all the hidden messages left by Subject 16 that I truly recognized the depth of what Ubisoft was attempting to accomplish.
As of right now, I still can’t shake how many similarities there are between WD and AC. Take this gameplay trailer for instance:
As stated before, there are many style similarities between the two. The clean black and white style, the shapes of the icons, the beatdown/assassination animations. In AC, our ancestor is able to gain access to information by “Syncing” with the environment at given viewpoints. In WD, Aiden will gain access to the local networking by hacking a server bank. Both games utilize a yellow circle in the mini-map to denote the area of search from the cops/guards. To be fair, that is a common practice throughout other games as well, but it’s just another similarity thrown on top of the others. Even the SHAPES of the map icons are identical! Also, as you’re HACKING your way through the Abstergo facility, you come upon an email thread that your boss, Olivier Garneau, is headed to Chicago (the setting of WD) for a shareholder’s meeting.
Ofcourse, it could all just be a ruse to get the hopefuls like myself talking about what could be but never will. Until then, Happy Hacking!