Way back in the year 2003, designer/director Patrice Désilets released a fantastic game titled Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Directly after this title, Ubisoft put Désilets to work on the title Prince of Persia: Assassin. The direction for this game strayed far enough away from what Ubisoft wanted from the Prince of Persia series that it was spun off into a new IP titles Assassin’s Creed. From the outset of the smash hit franchise in 2007, Assassin’s Creed had played up the fact that it was a modern day story, with the bulk of the game taking place through memories. This made it seem as though Assassin’s Creed was building towards the inevitable end of modern day assassin’s. However in 2012, these plans were seemingly derailed by the events of Assassin’s Creed III where [*Major Spoilers for AC III*] the modern day protagonist, Desmond Miles, dies. Ever since the events of the 2012 entry, the modern day setting of the series has lost its direction and Desmond has been replaced with faceless, nameless entities that act primarily as a camera. It would seem that the completely modern day direction of Assassin’s Creed didn’t line up with Ubisofts vision for the IP. Cue the entrance of the new IP, Watch Dogs (or Watch_Dogs, depending on if you’re a st
ickler) which incorporates a lot of things from Assassin’s Creed into the modern setting.
The protagonist of the first Watch Dogs, Aiden Pierce, uses his hacking abilities to manipulate Chicago and take down various baddies. Aiden is able to do this because he knows the ctOS system that connects all of Chicago. One of the abilities he has in the game is called the profiler, which is very similar to Assassin’s Creed’s Eagle Vision. He’s able to see who anyone is and what their allegiance is at any time, in any place. Also Aiden can use the profile to swipe funds from people’s bank accounts, similar to the pickpocket element of AC.
The big bad of Watch Dogs is also able to expertly manipulate the ctOS and essentially have the entire city under his control by the end of the game. At the wave of his hand, the main villain of Watch Dogs can cause citywide blackouts and explosions. This works out similar to the way the big bads in AC are able to manipulate their surroundings using pieces of Eden, but grounded more in realism.
However, the clearest case of Watch Dogs being a modern take on AC is that Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag actually share a character. In AC4 the modern day character is an employee of Abstergo entertainment and reports to the CEO, Olivier Garneau, several times before he goes to a shareholders meeting in Chicago. Back in Watch Dogs, Aiden Pierce is given a mission to hunt down Garneau and if Aiden uses the profiler on him it reads “Targeted by the Brotherhood”, a clear reference to the brotherhood of assassins. When asked about the character, lead writer on AC, Darby McDevitt stated "We like to put Easter eggs in our games, but they are not literally connected."
I for one am not quite buying that explanation. There’s a lot of room in this IP for assassins and it would even be believable. Ubisoft could announce that the hacker group Dedsec is an offshoot of the brotherhood and it would make lot of sense. Aiden was, more or less, an assassin in his universe already. The new main character for Watch Dogs 2 that was just introduced, Marcus Holloway, looks even more assassin-like because he even knows the trademark parkour. It is entirely plausible that in Watch Dogs 2 we learn that there are deep connections to the brotherhood of assassins and I, honestly, am fully expecting that.