While the hacking in Watch Dogs plays into our attraction to the cyber-punk themes of cinema and television, it’s easy to write it off as sci-fi that could only exist in a game. It turns out that won’t be the case as Ubisoft made sure that all of the hacking components in the game are not only plausible, but extremely accurate.
Similar to when Ubisoft hires history experts to consult with their Assassin’s Creed games, the studio contacted an expert in the field of hacking to get his opinion on the hacking in Watch Dogs. Vitaly Kamluk of Kapersky Labs investigates cybercrimes across global networks in Russia, home to the best hackers in the world. Kamluk worked with Ubisoft as the “security advisor” for the Watch Dogs script which basically meant telling the developers, “Uh, no, it doesn’t work that way.”
The input from Kamluk was used to avoid the Hollywood tropes of hacking where actors clack away at the keyboard at lightning speeds and magically create software that would actually take a much longer period of time. When Kamluk had suggestions for certain missions in the game, the developers took his advice and changed them around. One mission that would have been a simple remote hack evolved into one that entailed infiltrating the building in order to successfully hack the target. Ubisoft even went as far as to adjust minute details like monitor screen displays in accordance with Kamluk’s input.
Beyond the small details in the game, Kamluk used his experience in the world of cybercrimes to inform the developers of how real-world hackers . Gameplay mechanics such as emptying ATM’s and controlling traffic lights are techniques actually used by criminals in Russia today.
Watch Dogs seems to be the cyber-punk action adventure that all of us have been waiting (since E3 2012) to play. Think it’ll live up to the hype?
Watch Dogs will release on May 27th for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.