Watch Dogs multiplayer will have you tail friends in their single player games without their knowledge

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Watch Dogs is now out; here’s our Watch Dogs review.

Watch Dogs! Not a command, regrettably, though we could do that all day. Instead, Ubisoft Montreal’s topical, free-roaming Rorschach-’em-up. It tore up E3 last year, and looks set to do the same again with what appears to be a genuinely groundbreaking topsy-turvy multiplayer mode.

In a demo for Revision3, Ubisoft showed three components of Watch Dogs’ multiplayer, each more exciting than the last.

The first is a mobile extension of the game, that will see players ping friends for help in escaping sticky in-game situations.

“Basically it’s going to go through your friends, and it’s going to ask them if they want to come and help you through their mobiles or their tablet,” said criminally young Watch Dogs senior producer Dominic Guay. “They can be in the same room or they can be further away, on the bus or in their own home, and they can still help you out.”

The tablet player is presented with a top-down view of the game world – the city, including the positions of enemies and all those juicy devices waiting to be hacked into – and plays a game-within-a-game that’s “almost like a sophisticated Pacman”.

That’s the cooperative element. The second, competitive multiplayer mode will have players challenge tablet-wielding friends. You’ll be given a destination to reach, and that ‘friend’ will do everything within their considerable power to stop you from getting there.

Finally, Watch Dogs will encourage you to take contracts to hunt down, tail or otherwise target other players within their own single player game, unbeknownst to them – blending in with the AI a la SpyParty or the better parts of Assassin’s Creed’s multiplayer.

“What makes it vastly different [from Assassin’s Creed multiplayer] is that when you’re playing multiplayer mode, you’re in that context and you’re looking for it,” said Guay. “But now you’re playing single player and this is another player – so you’re not even looking for it.

“What we see in playtests is that there’ll be a guy in front of [the player] who is very clearly [another] player, but they won’t even recognise it. They think, ‘Maybe it’s a bug in the AI’. So it’s a very powerful thing to live.”

It sounds like astonishingly good fun, but beware – attacking other players will make you more vulnerable to attacks yourself.

So: what’s the verdict? Impressive stuff, non?