Watch Dogs – Hacking into Multiplayer

Aiden Pearce will surprise you – and not just for the obvious reasons. We captured some spectacular new Watch Dogs details in our E3 single-player reveal (See: Watch Dogs – Sneaking, Jamming and a Grenade Launcher), but the biggest surprise of all is the multiplayer.

Watch Dogs - Multiplayer

We knew it was coming, but we had no idea that it had already begun. Ten minutes into a gameplay demo (chronicled in our other story), we see an alert on-screen saying Aiden is being hacked. Quickly, the number jumps to 14% infiltration, and Aiden must jump into action. He uses his Profiler app to search for whoever’s installing a virus onto his phone.

Looking around, we see blue X’s on everyone we profile, and the infiltration percentage continues to tick higher and higher. With time running out, Aiden hacks a camera to scan a wider range, and he spots a suspicious-looking NPC crouching in a nearby alley. Aiden sets off to stop him, a chase ensues, and then a firefight. In this particular demo, Aiden ends up shooting the hacker, thus stopping his malicious virus install.

And then the lights go up.

The lights, in this case, are from another room in our behind-closed-doors demo at E3 2013. Animation director Colin Graham, who was playing the game for us, points to his co-worker, also playing the game, now visible through a previously darkened window. That was no NPC, after all. This is Watch Dogs multiplayer in action.

Always Aiden

Now it’s Colin’s turn to hack his fellow developer, so he takes control of Aiden again, and pulls up his map to find a target. He analyzes the area, and then sees what appears to be an NPC a short walk away. Aiden moves into a position nearby, tags the “NPC” (because, as we’re sure you’ve already surmised, it’s another human player), then retreats back to a safe area to begin a virus install. He finds a parking lot, and crouches behind a parked car.

Watch Dogs - Multiplayer

Glancing over to the other screen, we see that the “NPC” is, in fact, Aiden Pearce. In Watch Dogs, when you enter someone else’s game, you will appear to the other player as “not-Aiden.” In other words, if I hack into your game, I will see you (the “hackee”) as yet another NPC-esque character on my screen. And if you hack into my game, you will continue to be Aiden on your screen, but I will see you, likewise, as a “generic” in-game character. It’s in this way that the team ensures you’re always playing as Aiden, and after seeing it in action, we’re pleased to report that it makes perfect sense. It is in no way disorienting to either player, both of whom continue to live in their own worlds as Aiden Pearce.

Once again, the other Aiden begins to frantically hunt for “our” Aiden, and we watch both screens this time, seeing the other-Aiden eventually spot the hacking-Aiden crouching in the parking lot. The cat-and-mouse chase begins anew, and this time our Aiden makes it to safety, evading the other-Aiden and finishing his virus-install.

Good Griefing

This is just a brief taste of the asymmetrical and innovative multiplayer in Watch Dogs. While the team isn’t talking yet about the risk / reward loop of hacking into another’s game (other than to say there’s been a lot of thought put into this, so it’s fair yet compelling), Colin did share a few more interesting details. For starters, you can enter someone’s game and simply be a voyeur. Or you can grief someone – ram into them with a car when they’re trying to stop a crime, for example. (However, this aspect of multiplayer is disabled during main and side-missions, so no worries there!) Colin also assures us there are plenty of multiplayer missions in which you’re tasked with protecting another player, so it’s not just about adversarial actions. Finally, you can turn off the multiplayer component if you like, but since it’s already disabled during missions, we say keep it on – it’s a great way to enhance the complexity and fun while free-roaming through Watch Dogs’ open world.

We’ll have more Watch Dogs coverage from this year’s big show. Meanwhile, check back with our E3 2013 hub post for all the stories in one handy place.

Watch Dogs


Release date — May 27, 2014
Developer — Ubisoft Montreal
Players will assume the role of Aiden Pearce, a new type of vigilante who, with the help of his smartphone, will use his ability to hack into Chicago’s central operating system (ctOS) and control almost every element of the city. Aiden will be able to tap into the city’s omnipresent security cameras, download personal information to locate a target, control systems such as traffic lights or public transportation to stop a chase, and more. The city of Chicago is now the ultimate weapon.

ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
The Author

Gary Steinman has won numerous editorial awards, but you probably don’t care about that. He also ran multiple industry leading publications and websites including PlayStation: The Official Magazine,, PC Gamer and Newtype USA – but that’s all in the past. The real truth about Gary? He loves cats, he takes too many selfies on Facebook (according to one co-worker, at least), and he occasionally crochets. And now he’s helping share stories about Ubisoft’s amazing games and their incredible creators in his role overseeing the UbiBlog and other select Ubisoft social channels. Follow him on Twitter: @GarySteinman

chris 5pts

is there an option to have it friends only as in only friends can hack you?

rahjee18 5pts

I'm not going to mence words, Watch dogs online will suck.

samir 5pts

can u disable multiplayer i hate how you can just let anyone suddenly comin to others world if theres no disable option i wont buy it and ill tell all my mates forget the game

Jax-Van 5pts

I think they should keep Psn open bc there maybe will be people on the other consoles that's not able to get ps4 or choose not to. Bc there not able maybe have fam. To take care of to put money better use and don't want to spend that much money.


Could i play Watch Dogs completely offline even when i'm not on a mission on Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 and can i play it offline on a offline profile i don't like people joining my game i'm more of a lone wolf type of guy.

Micah 5pts

Will Watch Dogs have open-world co-op? I haven't been able to find any answers on Google >.<

Harry Croft
Harry Croft 5pts

Even then, you're suppose to go round the entire city to find one person out of a couple hundred AI (at least)?...

RainMan252 5pts

Actually there will be around 14-16 people a multiplayer map. But hey!! "The more the merrier"

RainMan252 5pts

For PC, XBOX 360, PS3, and I think Wii U it will be coming out November 19, but the next gen consoles I don't know only because they haven't marked a set release date.

Harry Croft
Harry Croft 5pts

If you go into someone's game and you don't see them as aiden, how are you suppose to find them?.....

Dome500 5pts

Sounds cool.

But what really interests me is:

1. Will we hack into a random players game if we don'T want to hack into the game of a friend?

2 How will that work? Will we be able to "log" into the game of someone else, will we then jump into his area or can we come up on the other side of the city, how does that work?

3. If the player hacks into my game and starts disturbing something, like for example causing a crash or shooting someone, will I be able to see that / recognize it. Will the chaos he is making be in my game actually or how does that work?

Oculus 5pts

I will be playing Watch Dogs on the PC.

Hunter 5pts

Debating whether or not to get this game for PS4 or current gen....

Glenn 5pts


Can the "hack other players" idea be a game mode? Like you survive long enough in a round to "hack" multiple players? Otherwise what is the point of multiplayer? It will be a "ok, the 100th guy in a row is trying to hack me while I play - UGH!"

Make a mode where one team is hackers and the other is cops or NSA or whomever.. Last hacker standing is cooler than deathmatch.

But as far as open mode - make it so if you get hacked you have maybe 5 minutes of griefing while the other person re-formats their phone or device. Otherwise the MP will be a GRIEF-FEST. Just a thought as NOBODY likes griefers. In any game. EVER.

So many cool variables with this game and concept. I have pre-ordered it for PS4 and can't wait to try it out.

Michael 5pts

This game looks so cool. I just hope that the game will give u a notifacation when u can do something cool. Like look there is a chance to block enemy communication by frying the chip in they're ear. The problem is it mite make the game a bit to easy but that's where the difficulty would come into play. Hope u read this and good luck. Future PS4 user!

Justin 5pts

I see WiiU isn't tagged. Will WiiU be getting this multiplayer?

Scott 5pts

Why cant we keep multiplayer on for main and side missions for private games with friends that enjoy COOP and not just griefing public games?

Adam 5pts

Release date — Holiday 2013????? i thought it will be relased in november 22

Gary Steinman | Communications Manager
Gary Steinman | Communications Manager 5pts

We've announced that some of the open-world missions will set up so you can help other players. Also, at times you can call for help and invite another player in give you some support in sticky situations.

Mr Bleck
Mr Bleck 5pts

No, no.. It will show you the current area the guy is at if you are a hacker, but the guy that is being hacked will have to locate the hacker by hovering camera on AI's and trying to find you in the bunch. You have to stay hidden and hack him, while he haves to search for you and kill you!

rahjee18 5pts

Actually, that's complete lie.

scuba465 5pts

that's what im talking about. they must make it so you scan the people and anyone with the (I think) blue X is AI and must have another symbol for a real player. then you lock onto them and can follow them or hack them. my best guess.

ChevelleLover'70 5pts

They said the major difference between the legacy-generation version of this game and the next-gen version is the "AI" That's all they said... And think about it, they'll probably shut down the PSN for the PS3 like a few months after the PS4 is released. No more multiplayer WATCH_DOGS... :(

Phil 5pts

From what I'm gathering from this article and other websites it all pounds like when you are in another players world it's just you and them, not large amounts of people. Maybe there will be more, maybe a total of 4, maybe 5, but no more than that.

Jax-Van 5pts

Will it be on PS3?????

Gabriel 5pts

Yeah, I agree with that. I thing it would be fun to have a private COOP game in a mission.

Ayo 5pts

I hope they will have a race car mode and multiplayer modes such as team death match. free for all and so forth.

meduz' 5pts

Because coop would make the game probably too easy, plus the fact that Aiden is the main character living the adventure. That means every players but one would be forced to play subaltern roles in a coop game.

Vincent 5pts

They haven't announced the release dates for the Xbox One and PS4 because they can't announce when they're coming out. So as a whole, the game comes out this holiday.