Play in real time from your phone or tablet. Play anywhere you want, with anyone you want. And play for free. That’s the philosophy behind the Watch Dogs ctOS Mobile app. And, having tested the app during a recent hands-on session, we can also affirm the most important thing it offers: ctOS Mobile is a ton of fun.
But we had some questions. And we’re fairly sure you have many of the same questions. So we cornered Philippe Baude, Lead Gameplay Designer for the Watch Dogs app, and pulled him away from his own tablet long enough to grill him on every last detail of ctOS Mobile.
Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page for links to download ctOS Mobile.
OK, What Exactly Is ctOS Mobile
ctOS Mobile has two primary ways to play with your friends on console and PC: Race and Free Ride. Both modes are adversarial, pitting the console/PC player against the mobile player. On the console/PC, the player must race from checkpoint to checkpoint. Every time a checkpoint is passed, more time is added back to the clock. The goal is to reach the final checkpoint before time runs out.
On the mobile app, the player is doing everything in his power to thwart his adversary. How so? By hacking into the city via a top-down map, triggering blockers, setting off explosions and causing all kinds of mayhem. Using ctOS Mobile, the player can also attack from above via a helicopter (complete with a sniper); and he can send the local police into hot pursuit.
The differences between Race and Free Ride? With Races, the distances between checkpoints are shorter and the GPS is on for the console/PC player. With Free Ride, the distances are wider and the GPS is off by default. “It’s a bit harder and it’s more tactical,” Baude says about Free Ride. In both modes, the mobile player wins if he can stop his foe from reaching all the checkpoints.
Can I Play With Anyone I Want?
Yep, you sure can. To start off, you’ll need to log in with your Xbox Live, PlayStation Network or Uplay account. If you don’t have an account with any of the above, you can easily create a new one, using a free PSN or Xbox Live Silver account. (Uplay is always free.) Then, you simply enter your friend’s ID, and he’ll pop up in your system; if he’s available, you can invite him to play with you. Remember, though, you need to be logged in to an account on the same system as your friend in order to play with him.
Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone, or if your friends are all offline at the moment, or if you just want to play against strangers. In that case, simply choose Quick Match, and the matchmaking will find you an available player at your relative level. In other words, if you’ve reached a high level in ctOS Mobile, “we try to match you up with people who are more advanced in the game,” Baude says.
ctOS Mobile also crosses console generations: While you’re logged in with an Xbox Live or PlayStation Network account, you’ll be able to play against gamers on both gens. What’s more, you can essentially pick which platforms you want to play against – you can stay logged in to all three major accounts, or you focus on whichever platform(s) suit you.
Does My Profile Connect to Console/PC?
Nope. But that’s a good thing. ctOS Mobile has its own full (and fully discrete) progression system. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to improve your skills and enhance your options. For example, you’ll be able to unlock four different police units; increase your ctOS powers to activate more hacks; or boost your helicopter by improving your pilot and sniper.
For those playing Watch Dogs, everything earned while battling against a ctOS Mobile player stays in the system. “For the console player it’s exactly like he’s playing any online mode,” Baude says. That means all the experience, cash, and other benefits stay with the player, in the same way that it does when playing Invasion, Decryption or any other seamless online mode in Watch Dogs.
In other words, it’s not just fun. Everyone is gaining experience and other perks. “It’s two separated progressions, but at the end it’s a win-win for both,” Baude smiles. “Of course, if you manage to win, you win even more.”
Are There Enough Challenges to Keep Me Challenged?
ctOS Mobile has 26 challenges: 13 Races, 13 Free Rides. That’s plenty to keep you busy – and, dare we say, challenged – for quite a while.
But if you’re a power player, or if you simply want to create your own challenges, ctOS Mobile also comes with a full map generator. You can customize everything from the challenge’s starting point to the number of checkpoints along the way, how much time the console player will begin with, and how much time will be added with each checkpoint. “You can even choose the weather and the time of day,” Baude says.
You don’t have to be connected to anyone to build your own challenges – but you can have some fun sitting side-by-side with another player, building a challenge then testing it out together.
I’m Sold – But Is It Really Free?
Yessir. You won’t need to spend a single penny to enjoy everything that ctOS Mobile has to offer. It’s completely, totally, 100% free. There are absolutely no in-app purchases or microtransactions. You don’t even have to own Watch Dogs on console or PC in order to enjoy ctOS Mobile.
And Finally… When and What?
ctOS Mobile will be available to download on May 27, 2014, alongside the global release of Watch Dogs. The app will release on iOS and Android phones and tablets. It will work on 3G, 4G and wireless networks.
Here’s the full list of devices supported at launch:
- iPhone 4
iPad Mini with Retina display
Alcatel One Touch Idol Mini
Alcatel One Touch Idol S
Samsung Galaxy S II
Sony Xperia SP (C5303)
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Samsung Galaxy S3
LG Nexus 4
LG Optimus G2
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung P3100 Galaxy Tab 2
Asus Nexus 7 2013
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 N8010
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Toys R’Us Tabeo
Sony Xperia Z2 i12
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 N9005
LG Nexus 5
Huawei Ascend Mate 6.1
SonyEricsson Xperia Play
Sony Nicki SS
LG Optimus L7 P700
Samsung I8190 Galaxy S III mini
Motorola RAZR XT910
HTC One X
HTC ONE Mini
Sony Xperia Z (C6303)
Sony Z1 (Honami i1 C6903)
GT-N7100 Galaxy Note 2
Asus Google Nexus 7
Samsung GT-P5110 Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7”
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Kindle Fire HDX 7 (3rd Gen)
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (3rd Gen)
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For more about ctOS Mobile and Watch Dogs, check out these UbiBlog features: