Recent Articles: Watch Dogs

Insert Quarter: The Rich Lives of NPCs in Shadow of Mordor and Watch Dogs


Insert Quarter is our showcase for some of the best and most interesting writing about video games on the Internet.

In this installment, Austin Walker, writing for Paste, contemplates the rich lives of non-player characters found in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Watch Dogs. Each game attempts to create a background for each NPC, specifically the Orc Captains that stalk Shadow of Mordor’s Talion through the game’s “Nemesis System” and the petty criminals of Watch Dogs that cause pain for so many of the game’s other citizens.

I’ve been thinking about non-player characters for four months now. I’ve been thinking about them ever since I stood over the body of the eleventh man I killed in Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. He had a sneering face and a stuffed bank account. The game told me that he was listed on FBI watch list. His name was William Jones. I shot him three times: twice in the back and once in the head.


Monolith offers the player all sorts of ways to fail [in Shadow of Mordor]. As Talion, I regularly overcommitted to combat deep inside of Orkish strongholds only to find myself surrounded by dozens of Uruk-hai, including a few powerful enemy captains. The Arkham series of games taught me that if I could just counter enough attacks, I’d never fail. No matter their number, the Joker’s henchmen would always leave room for me to knock them around. That is not the case here. Even in the final hours of the game, with almost all of Talion’s abilities unlocked, I was once dropped to one knee by ranged attacks and then instantly killed by a particularly strong captain. I wasn’t sent to a “Retry?” screen. Instead, the Orc who killed me rose in rank, and when he saw me later, laughed in my face. My failure—the act of my death—was not erased; it was just made more complicated, more interesting.

You can read the rest of the article at Paste.

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Madden NFL 15 spikes the competition by outselling all games in August 2014

maddnenfl15-boxEven though his stance said, “stop,” Richard Sherman took it to the house as the cover athlete of Madden NFL 15. While it’s too early to be concerned with The Curse, EA Sports’ latest football sim, as expected, toppled the competition and emerged as the best-selling game of August 2014, according to The NPD Group.

Only a small number of new releases made their way onto store shelves last month and many of them were re-releases of older titles. This tactic helped Diablo III: Reaper of Souls reach the #2 spot as the “Ultimate Evil Edition” is now available for previous-generation and current-generation consoles. And thanks to its PlayStation debut, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare cracked the top ten for the first time at #7.

Joystiq posits that this lack of major releases is the reason why game sales were down when compared to last August. The eighth month of 2013 saw the release of Madden NFL 25 as well as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Saints Row IV, and Disney Infinity.

A full look at the top ten best-selling games of August 2014 can be found after the break. (more…)

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Wii U version of Watch Dogs will launch on November 18


Ubisoft has announced that Watch Dogs will finally make its debut on the Wii U on November 18. The Wii U version of Watch Dogs was originally scheduled to be released in May, but Ubisoft delayed the Wii U launch to more heavily focus on the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One editions of the game. The Wii U version is in development at Ubisoft Bucharest and will include an interactive map and Off-TV Play available exclusively through the Wii U GamePad.

Last month, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that Watch Dogs was the last “mature game” the company planned to release for the Wii U.

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Ubisoft reevaluating Wii U because “Nintendo customers don’t buy Assassin’s Creed”


Speaking to Game Informer, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has confirmed that the publisher is getting out the “mature games” business on the Wii U. But let’s face it, the writing has been on the wall ever since Ubisoft pushed back the Wii U launch of Watch Dogs. The open-world game launched for every other possible platform in May, but Ubisoft delayed the Wii U release to some indeterminate point in the Fall. However, Guillemot was firm in stating that the Wii U version will be released: “[Watch Dogs] is coming to Wii U. It will be the only mature game we publish on it.”

Guillemot’s “mature game” clarification was his way of saying that the publisher has no intention of completely abandoning the Wii U. The Just Dance series, for example, is still a big seller for Ubisoft and Just Dance 2015 will be released for the Wii U this Fall. So why do mature games (like the scrapped ZombiU sequel) get the axe? It’s just business, says Guillemot.

“It’s very simple,” Guillemot says. “What we see is that Nintendo customers don’t buy Assassin’s Creed. Last year, we sold in very small numbers.” In fact, across Ubisoft’s portfolio, Nintendo Wii U sales only represent three percent of the total for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014.

Ouch, but it sounds like this is all part of a development restructuring that Ubisoft is implementing across the board. The CEO also revealed that all PS3 and Xbox 360 development will likely stop at the studio’s development houses in 2015. “After 2015, it will be hard for us to create games for those systems,” he said.

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The Last of Us returns to the top of the best-seller list in July 2014 NPD report


In previous years, the best-sellers chart for the month of July would normally be dominated by the latest entry in the NCAA Football series. But EA Sports canceled the series last Fall, so a new emperor is sitting upon the July Throne in 2014. Or rather, an emperor we’ve seen before in a spiffy new set of clothes.

This is a roundabout way of saying that the Remastered re-release of Sony’s The Last of Us (combined with more sales on the PS3) pushed the game to the top of the best-sellers chart. July was a pretty sparse month as far as new releases go, but 505’s Sniper Elite III also cracked the top ten. It was number eight… with a bullet.

You can check out July’s complete top ten list (which includes May releases Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 hanging tough in the top five) after the break. (more…)

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June 2014 NPD: Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 are the top-selling titles once again


Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 once again reign supreme over the monthly sales chart as The NPD Group has confirmed the two titles were #1 and #2, respectively, in their June 2014 top-selling games report. The two games were part of a trend that included other May releases such as Minecraft (#3) and Wolfenstein: The New Order (#7).

The only June releases to crack the top ten were EA Sports UFC (#4) and Tomodachi Life (#9),

With Microsoft’s Kinect-less Xbox One hit store shelves in June, so the battle between the next-generation heated up just as the thermometer did. According to Joystiq, the PS4 once again topped the Xbox One, though all console sales more than doubled (a 106% increase, to be exact) the month of May. Ultimate, the entire industry saw a 24% increase in sales over the last month… and that includes a big jump in Wii U hardware sales too.

You can view the complete top ten chart for the month of June after the break. (more…)

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Watch Dogs Review: A Bit Ruff


Watch Dogs was unveiled in 2012 at Ubisoft’s E3 Press Conference to the adoration of the entire industry. Over the past year, the Internet hype machine went into full effect, fueled by Ubisoft themselves and the fervor of online commenting communities. After that initial reveal, conjecture naturally sprung up around the web. Would the game look that good? Would the open world really be that open? With Ubisoft sending out trailer after trailer, Watch Dogs was labelled as a coming-of-age party for the next generation in terms of graphics and gameplay.

But the hype train is a bad one to catch, and it has not helped Watch Dogs, making it feel far less than it should be after the initial reveal. After experiencing much of the game’s content, what you end up with is a title that is actually still quite fun to play, but oddly uncompelling. (more…)

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Watch Dogs hacks its way into our hearts as the best-selling game of May 2014


We were already pretty aware of the fact that a lot of copies of Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 were sold in the last week of May. Now, the NPD Group has made it official by releasing their official report of the best-selling games of May 2014.

Not surprisingly, Watch Dogs took the gold while Mario Kart 8 had to settle for the silver. The top ten was populated by several other May releases including Wolfenstein: The New Order (#4) and Kirby: Triple Deluxe (#9). A retail release of Minecraft on the PS3 also pushed that game back into the top five (#5, to be exact).

According to Joystiq, the NPD Group also confirmed that the PS4 has outsold the Xbox One for the fifth straight month. You can view the complete top ten list from the month of May after the break. (more…)

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