Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs producer: sci-fi surveillance tech of the game "exists in the present"

Ian Birnbaum at

One of the games I’ve been most looking forward to this year (and now next year) is Watch Dogs, both for its non-GTA open world environment and its ludicrous display of hacking and Big Brother omnipresence. An all-seeing security grid is a great sci-fi premise, but according to a new feature at Polygon, Chicago’s real-world surveillance technology is just about as pervasive as the fictional version in Watch Dogs.

Chicago is apparently home to an extensive array of Chicago PD–monitored cameras, and technology like facial recognition searches have been used to solve crimes. The surveillance network in Chicago, named Operation Virtual Shield is the largest in the United States. As it turns out, the most fictional thing about Watch Dogs is the protagonist’s ability to hack into any system with his phone.

"When we started five years ago we were thinking, 'Are we pushing too much? Are we too futuristic?'" Ubisoft Producer Thomas Geoffroyd says. "But in the past few years the present has caught us. We feel [the game exists] in the present, in the now."

Senior producer Dominic Guay seems to agree. "Reality has caught us...Looking further out to if we'd make a sequel to Watch Dogs we could probably make a much bigger jump forward and probably have reality catching us again.”

Check out the excellent feature in its entirety over at Polygon.