If the pen is mightier than the sword, then theoretically a smart phone is more powerful than an assault rifle. While it's probably not a good idea to test that theory in real life, it's the concept behind Ubisoft's upcoming open-world hack-'em-up game Watch Dogs, in which vigilante hacker Aiden Pearce delves into the lives of his fellow Chicago citizens - into his own past - using a highly modified smart phone.
Ubisoft's recently founded film production branch, Ubisoft Motion Pictures, is producing a live-action feature based on Watch Dogs, though featuring a different story to that of the new video game. A lot of planned video game adaptations have fallen into development hell in the past, but UMP seems determined to get production underway on this and other films based on the company's most popular franchises.
The first UMP movie will be Assassin's Creed, which is set to star Michael Fassbender and release in 2015, but progress is already being made on Watch Dogs as well. Deadline reports that Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are now set to script Watch Dogs, which is being co-produced with Sony and New Regency.
Reese and Wernick are regular collaborators who also wrote a script for Deadpool that was very well-received by fans after being leaked, but unfortunately has been struggling to get a green light from Twentieth Century Fox due to its R-Rated content. The duo are currently developing the script for an original sci-fi movie called Epsilon, which will be directed by Arrow producer Greg Berlanti, and they're an extremely promising pick for Watch Dogs.
Interestingly, there have been indications that Ubisoft intends to build a shared universe between its games that could extend to the feature films based on them. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag contained an Easter egg that referenced the central operating system (ctOS) that runs Chicago in Watch Dogs, and a recent screenshot from Watch Dogs returned the favor.
Adapting Watch Dogs for the screen will be a challenge, since much of the appeal of the game is the ability to freely explore the city and peek into (and interfere with) the lives of its thousands of unique citizens. Still, there's certainly a lot of room for commentary on the meaning of privacy in a world where people's most intimate communications and personal details can be accessed online.
We'll keep you updated on Watch Dogs as development continues.