After leveraging a smartphone to hack security cameras and pry into the lives of strangers to battle crime in a futuristic version of city that currently bears the unfortunate nickname of "Chi-raq," a portmanteau of Chicago and Iraq, Watch_Dogs protagonist Aiden Pierce will head to the municipality that topped the FBI's 2012 list of violent cities.
A Watch_Dogs expansion will send Pierce to Camden, N.J., a city fitted with gunshot sensors and over 120 surveillance cameras on its streets.
Despite its stuttering issues and alleged graphical downgrade, Watch_Dogs shipped more than 8 million copies and has been critically acclaimed for its dynamic gameplay in a beautifully realized take on Chicago. Publisher and developer Ubisoft leaked news via Twitter that Camden would be featured in a downloadable content (DLC) pack for the open-world, third-person video game.
"Our data indicates surveillance has become more prominent in high-crime areas," stated Ubisoft via Watch_Dogs' Twitter account. "The city of Camden, New Jersey, had the highest crime rate in the U.S. in 2012. A 24/7 surveillance program is now in effect."
Camden became home to a $4.5 million command center in 2011, with elements much like those painted in the near-future picture of Chicago in Watch_Dogs, according to a 2013 dispatch from Camden by Rolling Stone.
"One hundred and twenty-one cameras cover virtually every inch of sidewalk here, cameras that can spot a stash in a discarded pack of Newports from blocks away," stated a dispatch from Rolling Stone. "Police have a giant 30-foot mobile crane called SkyPatrol they can park in a neighborhood and essentially throw a net over six square blocks; the ungainly Japanese-robot-style device can read the heat signature of a dealer with a gun sitting in total darkness."
At least 35 microphones have been positioned around the city to detect gunshots and triangulate the locations where the guns were fired, which led Camden authorities to the realization that roughly 30 percent of gunfire in the city wasn't even being reported.
While Watch_Dogs arguably opens very little, if any, dialog on the tumultuous situation in Chicago's crime-ridden neighborhoods, the video game will likely bring more attention to the much smaller city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
Watch_Dogs was released for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC. A Wii U version of the game has been scheduled for a release some time during the fall of 2014.
Ubisoft didn't set a hard release date for the Camden DLC, though it stated via Twitter that the expansion would be available during the fall of 2014.