New Watch Dogs video shows how to hack like a vigilante

Patrick Carlson at

A new Watch Dogs video deals with a fundamental—but still mysterious—aspect of the upcoming game, namely that the glass and metal devices so many of us carry around in our pockets could grant us real power beyond that of a handy telephone or camera. It's a seductive premise, and one that developer Ubisoft Montreal goes to some lengths to detail in the new footage.

We learn in the new video that much of the main character Aiden Pearce's disruptive power comes from his access—through his smart phone—to Chicago's "ctOS" infrastructure, a city-wide network that behaves like a kind of urban central nervous system. The network, because it's tied into Chicago's roads, bridges, and lighting systems, should reveal some asymmetrical ways to navigate Watch Dogs' open-world.

We see in the video that the vigilante Pearce can hack into the system in order to change cover, create diversions, and track enemies. I suspect that much of the novelty of this approach will depend on how balanced these environmental tools are when compared with the trusty sidearm Pearce seems really happy to use as well. It will also be interesting to see how useful the hacking mechanic functions alongside the game's integrated multiplayer features.

Watch Dogs releases November 19 in North America.