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Ubisoft's Jonathan Morin reflects on the moment 'Watch Dogs' was 'born'

Watch Dogs
Watch Dogs
Photo courtesy of Ubisoft, used with permission

Watch Dogs” for the Playstation and Xbox consoles plus PC has been in development for nearly five years now. In an interview with Ubisoft’s Jonathan Morin, the game director reflects on when the concept behind the game was born.

“When we began, it started with conversations where we could find a subject that everyone could be passionate about, especially when you’ve been working together for years,” Morin explained. “Things like the impact of social media and the old technology with a smartphone was emerging, it became what we wanted to talk about.

“When we started to prototype, the first thing we wanted to try was we wanted to go for giving the exploitive technology directly to players to directly avoid the 1984 drama of the evil corporation, and instead saying we are, as individuals, the ones that interact with technology in questionable ways sometimes. Eventually, hacking everything around you became this,” he continued.

It wasn’t until Ubisoft was able to get the game into the hands of players that it realized it was on to something. Unsurprisingly, it was the same E3 2012 demo that caused the massive buzz for “Watch Dogs” in the first place.

“The first prototype we did was traffic lights, the one we showed at E3 2012, which was a glorified version of the prototype we originally had,” Morin said. “We built it really fast and then we immediately gave the controller to people to see if they would like it. I think the moment where we realized it was something was when you could see the faces of people as they approach an intersection, they don’t really know what’s going to happen, they press the button and they turn around and say, ‘can I do it to the other one that’s right there too?’ We said, ‘yeah.’ Their reaction was like, ‘that’s cool!’

“To start realizing that people want to control their environment in different ways, I think this was really when “Watch Dogs” was born,” he concluded.

"Watch Dogs" will land on the PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC worldwide on May 27. A Wii U release has been pushed back to later this year.

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