Caps and headscarves are still a thing... apparently.
Despite setting the record for the biggest new IP at launch (a title that would later be eclipsed by both Destiny and The Division) the original Watch Dogs had its fair share of criticism. Primarily our gripes included a protagonist that had all the personality of a desk lamp, a city that felt just as lifeless and some dodgy driving mechanics – to name a few. With the reveal of the sequel landing last week (and after a number of compromising leaks), it looks as though Watch Dogs 2 is very much a product of fan feedback.
San Fran Thank You Ma’am
The first thing that’s immediately apparent from the trailer is the switch to a new location of San Francisco, and oh my – what a welcome change it is. From the towering blocks of Silicon Valley to the rich, sprawling Bay area, Watch Dogs 2 looks to be packed with interesting places to hack and liberate, let’s just hope it has a similarly intriguing cast of characters to match. The setting also looks to be important from a narrative and gameplay perspective, with cutting edge technology like 3D printing and aerial drones both featuring in the player’s arsenal.
“V” for “Watch Dogs”
Denim vests, poor attitudes, free-running… is anyone catching a faint whiff of a certain PlayStation exclusive beanie-clad superhero? In contrast to the original’s gruff, faux revenge hero Aiden Pearce, Watch Dogs 2 looks to be helmed by an eclectic bunch of teenage hackers, and should deliver on the “fantasy of being a hacker”, whatever that means.
Don ‘Anonymous’ style masks, sprinkle in some big evil corporations that steal data and a steady avalanche of viral videos and you have yourself the loose trappings of basically any film, programme or book about hacking ever, so let’s hope Watch Dogs 2 delivers something fresh. What should be interesting is the chance to delve further into DedSec, the shady organisation that existed on the fringes of Pearce’s original revenge story.
The reveal also introduced Marcus, the snooker ball wielding, laptop toting protagonist that will lead this diverse group of would-be cyber Robin Hoods to victory over Evil Corporation X.
Marcus looks to differ from Aiden in a number of key ways; he’s much younger for a start and has probably already demonstrated more personality in the 5 minutes we’ve seen of him on screen.
Most importantly, however, he’s a minority lead. Speaking in the reveal, one of the developers comments that Marcus’s background (presumably his race and the area he grew up in) leads to him being falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Not only does this provide a more interesting character motivation that Aiden’s sepia-toned flashback-driven revenge plot, but also shows – once again – that Ubisoft aren’t afraid of tackling difficult current events and topics.
Free-running With It
Marcus’s gameplay style also looks to take a drastic departure from Aiden’s in a number of ways. In fact, the trailer is much heavier on free-running, melee and stealth than it is on gunplay, suggesting that Watch Dogs 2 is going to be much more Assassin’s Creed than Far Cry.
Marcus’s movement looks fluid, with well-captured animations and a seemingly sprawling playground to show them off in. Similarly, his arsenal is devised of a range of homemade gadgets, from the aforementioned snooker ball mace to drones, RC cars and tazers. The developers even commented that, should they wish to, players can complete the game without killing anyone, hopefully bringing a much needed moral inflection to the title.
Finally, Ubisoft revealed that, in true Fallout 4 style, Watch Dogs 2 will actually drop this fall on November 15th. Oh, and there’s a staggering six different editions to choose from, so you’d better get your thinking cap on.