Watch Dogs had the potential to be the modern Assassin’s Creed we all desired.

Watch Dogs could have been the perfect way to bring the fight to Abstergo, but Ubisoft kept dancing around the Assassin’s Creed elephant in the room. Watch Dogs is reportedly “dead and buried”, taking with it the potential for a killer modern Assassin’s Creed. The series is already full of references and easter eggs, but Ubisoft never committed.

Instead, Watch Dogs buried the lede and kept muddying its premise, never landing on one identity. The original Watch Dogs was interesting for uncovering all the little easter eggs and references to Assassin’s Creed, yet never embraced that side of itself, spending a trilogy trying to uncover an identity it was busy burying. The first game featured Abstergo Entertainment CEO Oliver Garneau as a target for Aiden Pearce, only to discover that he was marked by “the Brotherhood”.

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag returned the favor by referencing Watch Dogs’ own evil corporation, Blume. It’s clear where Watch Dogs lies in the grander scheme of things, but Ubisoft has been coy about these connections, leaving them as little more than vague breadcrumbs forming a trail to nowhere. Assassin’s Creed used to know what to do with its modern-day story, while Watch Dogs found an incredible solution to the modern-day problem.

Aiden Pearce, armed with a mobile phone, could match Ezio, Connor, and Bayek in the modern day. Hacking as a major gameplay loop meant that cameras and sensors were trivial obstacles that could easily be swept aside, keeping the intuitive stealth of Assassin’s Creed in a more contemporary setting. The old techniques just wouldn’t work today, but with the skill set of Watch Dogs, the creed could finally match the now near-untouchable Abstergo.

Instead, Watch Dogs became increasingly generic, its gimmick no longer enough to hook audiences. If Ubisoft was willing to admit that this is the same world as Assassin’s Creed and finally let us push forward the modern story in a meaningful way, it might have become as iconic as the series it spun off from. Instead, it’s reportedly “dead and buried”, and with it, all of that potential lost.

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