Ubisoft officially revealed WATCH_DOGS 2 today, showcasing the game’s new location and protagonist, detailing gameplay improvements, and announcing the release date.
WATCH_DOGS 2 will be set in San Francisco, primarily focusing on the Bay area. The game will star a new protagonist, Marcus Holloway, a rebellious young adult, and member of Dedsec. Marcus is also far more nimble than his predecessor, with a redesigned parkour system cited as one of the major improvements to gameplay. Other improvements include the ability to hack any vehicle in the game, taking full control of said vehicle. The driving itself has been redesigned, with a focus on “accessibility”. Players will also be able to hack a majority of the electronic devices found in WATCH_DOGS 2’s game world, with Ubisoft attempting to grant players full control of them. Likewise, players can now hack pretty much every NPC they encounter, and even initiate a mass hack, to create large diversions/chaos. Finally, players will be able to utilise drones.
Once again, Ubisoft is attempting to create a game world that truly feels alive, with NPCs exhibiting more varied behaviors than before. In particular, the developers talked about how NPCs will interact with one another, starting fights, even calling the cops on one another, as well as reporting the player. The game will also feature three main factions; hackers, criminals and business interests. WATCH_DOGS 2 will feature an always online game world, as seen in the original, but players will now be able to co-op with one another. Ubisoft promised that they will reveal more details about the multiplayer aspects of the game in the coming months.
Finally, it appears that mini games will return, with drone races being one of those mini games. You will also be able to pet dogs!
WATCH_DOGS 2 will release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 15th November.
My biggest take away from the WATCH_DOGS 2 reveal is the apparent, and much needed, improvements to gameplay. Unfortunately, WATCH_DOGS, having promised the world, managed to under-perform in every department. As for Marcus, he is certainly a more intriguing character than Aiden, although we’ll have to see more of the character before making any real judgements. The 2016 release date is also welcome, with WATCH_DOGS suffering from unrealistic expectations, born from being revealed to early. All in all, WATCH_DOGS 2 looks like it could deliver on the initial promise of the first game (and even more) but given that we’ve been here before, better to keep expectations in check for now. That said, I’m definitely excited to see more of the game at E3 next week.