Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed: connected, or just Easter eggs?

We take a look at the various Easter egg connections between Assassin's Creed and Watch Dogs to examine just how likely it is that Ubisoft intends to tie them together.

Watch Dogs is out today, providing Ubisoft with a second open-world franchise about a fashionable anti-hero with access to deadly arsenal of special tools. Its similarities to Assassin's Creed may seem skin-deep, but the team has been dropping clues all along that the two may share more in common than superficial design elements. We got our first hints at a connection from Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag director Ashraf Ismail. "I don’t want to ruin the surprise for people. I don’t want to give anything away," Ismali said. "I will say, for the people who love both games, for the people who will play both games, there are some Easter eggs that will be a bit hard to find, but when you find them, it will blow your mind." Sure enough, the first concrete piece of a connection came from Black Flag. The modern-day game development segments gave us a glimpse at the complex corporate structure running Abstergo's entertainment division, with more than a few cheeky references to Ubisoft's own game development culture. One particular e-mail from the Blume Corporation to Abstergo's CCO advertised the CtOS, the complex interconnected operating system that runs Chicago in Watch Dogs. The similarities between the two worlds shouldn't be understated. Both games revolve around our heroes using their enemies' technology against them to change the world for the better. The chief antagonists in the Assassin's Creed series, the Templars, advocate total control and order. To this end, they have infiltrated deep into corporations and world governments throughout the series. Chicago's CtOS system is incredibly invasive of privacy, but certainly assures a structured social order as the Templars would like to create worldwide. That connection may seem highly speculative, but Ubisoft has had some fun prodding at it within the games themselves. Oliver Garneau, Abstergo Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer in Black Flag, left the main office in Montreal to attend the annual shareholders meeting. Where was that? In Chicago, naturally. If we're meant to infer that Chicago serves as Abstergo's modern base of operations, it would only make sense to serve as a test-bed for a strictly controlled operating system that could be implemented elsewhere. All of this brings us to today, with the release of Watch Dogs. As reported by CinemaBlend, it has its own Easter Egg tying back to Assassin's Creed. One of the conversations protagonist Aiden Pearce can listen in on is between a father and son who are playing an Assassin's Creed game themselves. It lightly mocks the AC trope of speaking to a victim after killing them. Keep in mind, Black Flag established that in the world of Assassin's Creed, the AC games themselves are products put out by Abstergo to impact public opinion. Plus, if Chicago is Abstergo HQ, it shows when Pearce looks into the personal data of passers-by and sees them as employees of the shadowy company.

Abstergo is watching?

Then again, the two series do have somewhat different tones. Beyond its techno-wizardry, Watch Dogs is essentially a grounded story about one man and his quest for vengeance. Assassin's Creed has been more sci-fi from the start, and so it naturally evolved into a much larger story about the fate of humanity with ties to the ancient Greek pantheon. It's hard to see how the more down-to-earth world of Watch Dogs would comfortably fit a revived Juno running amok, or an ancient mind-control device. So what are we to make of all this? Is Ubisoft giving us real hints at continuity, or are they just jokingly peppering in references for fans to enjoy? At the moment, the connections are too tenuous to read the two franchises as existing within the same universe, but the groundwork has definitely been laid. If Watch Dogs becomes a franchise of its own--as Ubisoft obviously plans it to--the studios could continue to build more obvious connections to link their respective stories. Or, we could continue seeing sly clues that are good for a laugh, but never amount to a substantial crossover. Do you think Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed exist in the same world? Let us know in Chatty! For more on Watch Dogs, check out our review along with a special Shack Reels on how Ubisoft recreated Chicago.
From The Chatty
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    May 27, 2014 12:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed: connected, or just Easter eggs?.

    We take a look at the various Easter egg connections between Assassin's Creed and Watch Dogs to examine just how likely it is that Ubisoft intends to tie them together.

    • reply
      May 27, 2014 12:25 PM

      Shacknews' latest article "Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed: connected, or just Easter eggs?" and Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed: Connected?

      I couldn't help but notice this article contained many references to the games Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed, and the words "Watch Dogs" and "Assassin's Creed" appear several times throughout. Is Shacknews some sort of meta-Watch-Dogs-Assassins-Creed social media experiment, or are these links too tenuous to be substantiated? Let us know in the chatty!

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      May 27, 2014 12:50 PM

      I don't understand what this sentence is trying to say: "Plus, if Chicago is Abstergo HQ, it shows when Pearce looks into their personal data and sees them as employees of the shadowy company."

      What shows when he does that? How does Chicago being the HQ tie in (and what would it mean if Chicago was NOT the HQ)?

      I haven't played either game, but I don't think I'd parse that sentence any better if I had.

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        May 27, 2014 1:00 PM

        i think he means if people were employees of Abstergo it would show when you dig into their files but i guess it doesn't? although i would think that if the shadowy company were behind everything then wouldn't that data be scrubbed anyways

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        May 27, 2014 1:02 PM

        You're right, that was awkward! The sentence should read a little better now, the idea being that if Chicago is Abstergo central, it makes sense that some people on the street would be Abstergo employees.

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          May 27, 2014 1:05 PM

          but if abstergo is behind everything wouldn't they hide their true identity!

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            May 27, 2014 1:08 PM

            Abstergo is the happy, legitimate, forward-facing business entity. Hiding would just look suspicious when the entire point of the company is to have a nice public face to their Templar shenanigans. Plus it's not as if they intended to have some weirdo tapping into their systems anyway.

            Now if Aiden scanned someone and it was like "DUDE IS A TEMPLAR" then that would be a problem.

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          May 27, 2014 1:17 PM

          Still not happy with it. If I understand it now, you're wanting "Plus, the theory that Chicago is Abstergo's HQ is lent credence when Pearce...."
          'supported' might even work better than 'lent credence'

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      May 27, 2014 1:01 PM

      The first time I saw a behind closed doors play through of a mission in Watch Dogs, the first thought that came to mind is that this is AC in the modern era. I'm convinced the only reason it isn't directly associated with AC is because the gameplay does differ quite a bit

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      May 27, 2014 2:44 PM

      I was wondering about this in Far Cry 3. The bonus content contains a bunch of references to Abstergo. Explicit, integrated references, not just random Easter eggs. So I wonder if they're "canon" for the universe(s) or not.

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