Follow TV Tropes


Franchise / Watch_Dogs

Go To
connection is power.

Watch Dogs (originally stylized as WATCH_DOGS, but seems to have been dropped as of Legion) is a series of Wide-Open Sandbox games developed by Ubisoft. Unlike its inspiration/rival, Grand Theft Auto, what sets it apart is its core gimmick: hacking. Hacks can be used to manipulate the world, and scan profiles on any non-playable character.

Works in this series include:

  • Watch_Dogs (2014)
    • Watch Dogs //n/Dark Clouds (2014): A tie-in continuation novel written by John Shirley. It takes place shortly after the main events of the game.
    • Watch_Dogs: Bad Blood (2014): An Expansion Pack sequel taking place a year after the main story, with a Promoted to Playable T-Bone as the protagonist.
    • Watch Dogs (TBA): An upcoming film adaptation of the game. Ubisoft has stated that it is directly developing it, along with similar adaptations of all of its major franchises, but has been quiet about it overall. They have confirmed that it is still in development as of 2016.
  • Watch_Dogs 2 (2016)
    • Human Conditions: Marcus discovers various scandals concerning the scientific and medical fields of San Francisco. This also marks the return of a fan-favorite ally from the original game, Jordi Chin.
    • No Compromise: A DedSec operation goes wrong and gets the Russian mafia involved.
  • Watch Dogs (2019): A comic set in the same universe as the games. It takes place in October of 2016, a month before the events of 2.
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (2020)
    • Bloodline (2021): An expansion set between the prologue and main game covering Aiden Pearce and Wrench running operations in London.


This series provides examples of:

  • Everything Is Online: Scarily so, thanks to the establishment of ctOS after the Northeastern Blackout of 2003. Everything from phones to computers to traffic lights are hooked up to this large system, which actually makes them even more vulnerable thanks to hackers like the protagonists and/or DedSec.
  • Expy: DedSec is based on the Erudito Collective from Assassin's Creed since they are a hacker group with a strong anti-authoritarian streak that seek to expose corrupt corporations and governments. It somewhat goes directly into Expy Coexistence since they belong to franchises made by the same developer (Ubisoft) and appear to be set in the same universe due to Aiden Pearce killing Abstergo CEO Oliver Garneau on behalf of the Assassin Brotherhood.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: Each game's setting naturally has its own gangs who are directly hostile to the player.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: DedSec is a faction of Hacktivists determined to liberate the common people from the looming entity of ctOS. They were more of an Anti-Hero group in the original game but Took a Level in Kindness in the Lighter and Softer sequel.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Naturally, as it'd be much less entertaining if the hacking were as complex as it is in real life. Refreshingly, there are many cases (especially in the later games) where measures are taken to ground it more in reality, rather than make the hacking seem instantaneous and magical.
  • Karma Meter: The first game has one, which will either make civilians praise Aiden as a hero and less inclined to call the police on him, or see him as a menace to society and not hesitate to inform the police of his very presence. Oddly enough, this is done away with in the sequels, where it arguably fits much better, to help curb the Gameplay and Story Segregation.
  • Lighter and Softer: Starting with 2, the series has gradually become much more lighthearted in tone, though it still has its dystopian undertones. Legion in particular has a largely comedic marketing campaign despite trying to be a bit more in-line with the original's darker tone.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: DedSec are basically the Watch Dogs version of Anonymous complete with broadcasts and creepy masks.
  • Playful Hacker: The San Francisco chapter of DedSec depicted in Watch_Dogs 2 is much Lighter and Softer than the Chicago chapter depicted in the original game, which was a pretty sinister Expy of the Anonymous. Even the British chapter shown in Legion are a bit more fun-loving than its Chicago counterpart.
  • Shared Universe: It's complicated. There are many overt references to the Assassin's Creed universe, including a direct connection between the first game and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag in which Aiden Pearce kills Olivier Garneau. Ubisoft however claims that the two franchises do not share a universe, and any implication is simply fanservice. There's also the fact that Assassin's Creed is actually a video game in the Watch_Dogs universe; though, it's also a video game franchise in and of itself... gah. Even more screwy, Legion has a member of the British Brotherhood of Assassins as a DLC unit.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: You can completely invade the privacy of just about anyone, most likely for a cheap laugh or morbid curiosity.
  • Un-person: Profiling Aiden, T-Bone, and Marcus gives an error on ctOS and a blurred image, due to wanting to avoid unwanted attention. Averted in Legion, as every pedestrian is playable and therefore the player would need a profile to determine whether or not the civilian is fit for the task.
    • Zig zags a little. While any NPC, including agents you've already recruited, can be profiled with ctOS, the operative the player is currently controlling is explicitly showing up on all cameras as a digital blur. Most likely, when Bagley notifies an operative they've been activated, they turn on whatever tech is disguising them, before turning it off once the mission is done and they can safely disappear into the crowd (or, put more Doyalistically, when the player swaps to another operative.)