IT was the big star of the year's largest video games expo. And we're getting a little of the Watch Dogs buzz in Newcastle.
Gamers have been baying for the release of the game since stunning footage and a playable demo popped up at last week’s E3 expo in Los Angeles. Part of the task of getting the title finished is being handled by Newcastle’s own Ubisoft Reflections, which is assisting its larger sister studio in Canada.
In fact, Reflections is even expanding its team to deal with the work involved. It is looking to bring in another 25 staff, who will pitch in on this and other projects.
Reflections general manager Giselle Stewart said: “Reflections has been attentively watching the reaction to Watch Dogs at E3. The studio is very excited to be working with Ubisoft Montreal on this new IP, and is currently expanding its Newcastle-based team developing for the title. Openings available for talented creative directors, senior gameplay programmers and experienced GUI artists.”
Ubisoft revealed a demo of the upcoming open world action game at its E3 press conference last week, and a gameplay demo of the PC version was on show at the expo itself.
E3 is the most high-profile expo in the video games calendar, where developers from around the world show off their most addictive and gorgeous creations. But Watch Dogs still wandered off with 40 awards at the event, and the video posted by Ubisoft already has over 4m views.
Jordan Mallory of Joystiq said it “looked remarkably better than any console title we’ve seen to date”, while Richard George of IGN said it “feels more real than anything we’ve seen in Call of Duty”. The game itself puts you in the shoes of Aiden Pearce, a denizen of a futuristic Chicago who’s out to assassinate a media bigwig wrongly acquitted of murder. However, that’s not all. Pearce is also a skilled hacker able to break into the city’s supercomputer, which gives him access to everything from mobile phones to traffic systems and citizen records.
Ubisoft creative director Jonathan Morin told E3’s gathered press corps that “Watch Dogs goes beyond the limits of today’s open-world games by giving players the ability to control an entire city.”
He said: “In Watch Dogs, anything connected to the city’s Central Operating System becomes a weapon. By pushing the boundaries, we can provide players with action and access to information on a scale that’s never been seen in a video game before.”
Watch Dogs will be released on the Playstation 3, XBox 360 and PC, and is expected to be available in 2013.
Newcastle’s Ubisoft Reflections released its well-received Driver: San Francisco title late last year, continuing its successful Driver series with a game that allowed players to “shift” between cars and tear around the lovingly-recreated hilly city.
It has just been announced it will also be working with sister studios in Paris, Bucharest and Pune on the creation of Just Dance 4. Reflections was responsible for developing Just Dance 3 for the PS3 Move, and will be bringing the sequel to both the Move and X360 Kinect.