Watchdogs is a really interesting game about a vigilante who uses hacking as a weapon. As the Creative Director Jonathan Morin mentions, the vigilante can potentially use anything within the city of Chicago to help his cause.
So how do you visualize the act of hacking? Well the UI design is in a style that reminds me of surveillance interfaces and criminal analysis reports. The team has opted for barebones typography and icons that draws upon early cell phone iconography and 8bit/DOS programming fonts. This ‘basic computing’ look creates an usual style when contrasted with the beautifully crisp and cinematic graphics. I really like this understated look, it makes the game look not overly polished and makes it feel as though the art of hacking is still raw and a relatively new phenomenon.
To visualise the actual hacking, they’ve opted for a glitchy series of network lines to showcase the connections of data and communication, which is a really nice way of visualizing the complexity of the hacking process, and that the main character can control this with ease.
With icons scattered around the environment to indicate potential hacking opportunities, it looks almost as if the world has its own interface.
I find it kind of funny that he can even hack while driving at blistering speeds on the back of a motorbike, as if text messaging while driving wasn’t dangerous enough :)
Check out the ‘Exposed’ trailer (3:21)
Love how the security lock on the door is a touch interface rather than a pin pad.
Check out the gameplay trailer with commentary by Creative Director Jonathan Morin (4:46)
Good insights into the thought behind the game.
Check out the ‘Out of control’ trailer (1:35)
Slick GTA type cinematic story trailer.
Check out the gameplay demo (9:44)
A good example of how the game is actually played.
Check out the E3 walkthrough demo (7:21)
Another gameplay video which shows different ways of using the hacking ability.
PS. This reminds me of the stealth game Gunpoint, which let’s you hack and rewire levels. The trailer’s quite good too.