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Watch Dogs Wiki

Create chaos by plunging the city into darkness. Help all those whining citizens conserve power for the city. *Warning* may cause open sparks - which is also pretty awesome. 
―In-game description.

The Blackout command is one of the tools that appears in Watch Dogs.


The blackout hack takes advantage of the ctOS' control of the electrical grid and power infrastructure of Chicago to temporarily disable the entire electrical grid in the city for a period of time.

In order to craft a Blackout, two System Keys and one Electronic Part are required. Like other tools, it can be crafted anytime and anywhere. However, it needs to be unlocked in the Skills Tree.


In the weapon selection interface, the tool is represented by a thunderbolt icon. When equipped from the weapon selection interface, the blackout hack is available as a secondary tool. Once used, the city will be plunged into complete darkness and the electrical supply will be disabled for around 40 seconds.

The tool is advised to be reserved for making an escape from an extremely dangerous situation, such as being stopped by police officers or having an encounter with a large team of Fixers.

Blackouts can either be crafted or purchased for $2,000 at Tobias Frewer's shop.

A shorter, more localized blackout can be caused by destroying transformer vaults. These can be destroyed by detonating an explosive near it, hitting it with a car, or hacking it with a skill.

During a Blackout, all ctOS/electronical equipment will deactivate, rendering the Profiler useless (except for profiling persons and hacking bank accounts) and immobilizing any L-Trains. With zero electricity, the visibility is slightly decreased and allows quick escape since it is harder for pursuing factions to see the player in the darkness.

Blackout Types

City-wide Blackout

This is the kind of blackout caused by the Blackout tool. Power across all of Chicago is disabled for 40 seconds.

District-wide Blackout

This kind of blackout is triggered by destroying a ctOS transformer. Power to the district is disabled for 20 seconds.

Permanent Blackouts

These are citywide blackouts which will last until a scripted event occurs. Two occur during the campaign:

  • The first one is during Bottom of the Eighth, and will last until Aiden leaves the stadium.
  • The second one is when Aiden shuts the ctOS down in Sometimes You Still Lose. It will last for the rest of the mission.
  • The third one is in a Digital Trip called Alone. Once Aiden spawns, a permanent ctOS blackout occurs so it makes things difficult to reach the generators.


Evading Cops/Pursuers

  • Best equipped in a speedy vehicle. Activating it after gaining a little distance from the pursuing chopper should allow a speedy escape.
  • For a guaranteed escape, combine it with the Disable Helicopter skill. First, gain a small distance from chopper, deactivate it and then activate blackout since you cannot hack anything while blackout is effect. Then simply drive out of the radius with little to no resistance to escape. Particularly useful at the end of No Turning Back.
  • A good tip is to drive through a garage and close the door behind you, then cause a blackout. This will prevent the pursuer from being able to open it, and they will have to have to find another way around or wait until the power comes back on.


  • Optimal for quick and easy assassination of Nicholas Crispin. Simply activate blackout and walk in to perform a takedown. Then hack his phone and leave.
  • Works perfectly for gang hideout missions during night-time. Activate blackout, take down the target and leave. This should not be a problem given the 40-second window.

Restricted Areas



  • Sometimes, traffic lights will still work under a Blackout. Despite no lights being seen, hacking one can cause accidents as if they were active.
  • The mission Sometimes You Still Lose is the only opportunity for the player to visit all of Chicago during a blackout.
  • A scripted blackout must be triggered during By Any Means Necessary in order to open the Rossi-Fremont compound door. Notice that, out of the mission, you cannot open the same door using a Blackout.
  • One of T-Bone's robots causes a very short blackout when used.
  • The player can cause a short-lasting black-out in small areas by destroying or crashing into Transformer Vaults, which gives a similar effect.
  • Sometimes, the police will still be able to see Aiden Pearce in a blackout.
  • Blackouts are, for obvious reasons, less effective in the daytime (and may in fact be more detrimental to the player than their enemies, as they are left with nothing to hack, but can still be seen).