The Art of Watch_Dogs Review
When I first got my copy of “The Art of Watchdogs”, I was impressed by the cover. The book itself comes in a sleeve which features a close-up of Aiden Pearce wearing his signature face-mask and cap. When you turn to the back of the sleeve, it is the standard procedure – some art from within the book and a quick summary.
If you remove the sleeve, underneath lies a plain black hardcover with the stylized “Watch_Dogs” logo on it. Simplistic, yes. Effective, you bet!
As you flip on in the book, you are greeted with art. From the inside front cover to the acknowledgements, you are bombarded with art from the game. Some may say that this slightly detracts from the effectiveness of the main art-pieces and illustrations, however, I do not think this is the case and I think that the spread of the art is done very well.
The Contents page is slightly overwhelming the first time you open to the page. It features a double page spread of the characters from Watch_Dogs. It also lays out the chapters very simply. The artists have no doubt worked hard to create a dramatic opening page. Well, they have succeeded in wowing me.
The forewords are from the Art Directors on Watch_Dogs – Mathieu Leduc and Sidonie Weber. They both explain where they got the influences and why they decided to make such a challenging yet rewarding game. They explain how they wanted to focus on creating a constant element of surprise. Whether or not the game lived up to this is up for debate.
The first chapter, entitled “Dramatis_Personae” details the main characters in the game and each page has a short description explaining the creative process from original sketches to computer design and animation and integration. When you read the notes, I found that I had a newfound respect for all who were involved in the creative process. The amount of effort that goes into each pose and movement is breath-taking.
The Second chapter, entitled “The_Living_City” takes the course of the first chapter – great art, in depth commentary and inspiration for the setting of “The Windy City”. This time, however, it features conceptual photographs and the creative process to bring them to your TV screen at home. The coloring is done extremely well and the art is, once again, thoroughly impressive.The Third Chapter, once more, takes the course of the first and second chapter only, this time it details “The_Underground” and mainly consists of ASCII art as well as graffiti and the real-life equivalent to the graffiti in the game, which is done well. It also has a double page spread on whether graffiti and street art in general is decoration or defacement, which the artists say they wanted to explore within the game itself.
The fourth and final chapter is entitled, “Everything_Is_Connected” and it details the technological aspect of the game, which, as those of you who have played “Watch_Dogs” will know, is a huge part of it. Again, it features mesmerizing artistry and details of the inspiration and creative process, however, this chapter introduces a political question and almost ethical debate – “Who watches the Watchers?” It details whether or not technology is always a good thing and whether constant surveillance could be detrimental to society.
Overall, “The Art of Watch_Dogs” is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Both for the art and for the ethical and political dilemmas it incorporates into the book. I genuinely believe the artists and art directors have outdone themselves this time and deserve a big congratulations. This Artbook is the perfect tie-in to a great game.
The Art of Watch_Dogs
- High-Quality Artistry
- Opens up the in-game Universe
- In-depth commentary
- Ethical/Political Standpoints
- Some Parts are Overwhelming