Assassin's Creed fans may learn more about the series' lore by playing Watch Dogs. Assassin's Creed 4 game director Ashraf Ismail suggests that both open-world series are actually set within the same universe.
"I don’t want to ruin the surprise for people. I don’t want to give anything away," Ismali told ElderGeek. "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."
It's easy to envision possible connections between the two games. In Watch Dogs, a supercomputer known as the Central Operating System monitors all of the citizens of Chicago in order to keep the peace. It sounds like the sort of invention that the Templars from the Assassin's Creed series would love. The Templars, a centuries-old order, seeks to control mankind in order to "save it from itself." Will the Easter egg reveal that the CtOS is a Templar invention?
The connection might not be so major, though. The developers can give indications that Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed are set in the same universe without tying their storylines together. Maybe it will just be a shared minor character or two. That would make sense, because these Easter eggs will probably only be seen by a small percentage of players anyway. If there were really important connections between the franchises, ones that all players should know, you'd think Ubisoft would be less subtle about it.
I'm really hoping that Ubisoft uses a light touch with these crossovers. I get that Assassin's Creed is a huge franchise for them and they want to milk it as much as possible. However, I'm hoping they give Watch Dogs a chance to stand on its own. Everything I've seen about the game so far suggests it can stand on its own merits. I wouldn't want Watch Dogs to just be some side story or spin-off. Furthermore, the Watch Dogs story sounds very grounded and realistic so I'd be disappointed if it was dropped into the middle of Assassin's Creed's sci-fi/fantasy gumbo. Keep Minerva and all that other nonsense out of it, please.
Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed 4 will be launching within three weeks of each other this fall. They'll be available on the same platforms as each other as well, so most gamers should have a chance to explore all the connections.