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Games Of 2013: Watch Dogs

Video games. It seems like we spend way more time talking about them than playing them. How did this happen? When? A large part of the whole ‘being passionate about games’ thing is the stupid product lust – the ‘hype train’. You can’t escape it. You can’t fight it. You know it makes zero sense, but you hop on board regardless. ALL ABOARD.

Next stop – mild disappointment?

Who knows, who can tell? All this week I’m going to take a quick look at the games I’m most excited about in 2013. Feel free to get talking about the hype trains you’re currently aboard!

Today we’re talking about Watch Dogs!

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The thing that intrigues me about Watch Dogs isn’t ‘what it does’ — I’m 80% sure Watch Dogs will be a fairly standard open world game — but ‘how’. Watch Dogs will innovate in some small ways, of course, but I don’t really expect it to deviate from the template that much. It’ll be the style, the panache, that sells it for me.

That’s what excites me. The small things, like the slick interface, the slick design — the concept of the game, its ideas. I expect Watch Dogs will cherry pick certain aspects of different genres — third person shooting, Assassin’s Creed style parkour, the stealth of Splinter Cell — creating a hodge-podge of a game. Whether or not it’ll be truly successful is fully dependent on how well these different elements are combined into something truly cohesive.

In a sense Watch Dogs’ high concept is enough to inspire hype and excitement. In a world packed with space marines fighting aliens/Nazis/Space-Nazis it’s exciting to be playing as post-modern hacker in the same way it was exciting to play as a speed running assassin during the Crusades — it feels different even it isn’t actually different.

My hope is that Watch Dogs is as interesting and as important for the new generation of consoles as Assassin’s Creed was for the current generation. Say what you like about the Assassin’s Creed series, it was a unique and important game in terms of control and feel. I’m hoping that Watch Dogs is as revolutionary as that game was, but I’ll be fully satisfied if it’s nothing but a stylish, super-synched version of what we’ve seen before.

If it pulls on the threads of games and ideas that came before it, I just hope it creates something seamless in the process.