Fall Games Preview 2016: Watch Dogs 2 Covers The Assassin's Creed Slot This Year

Fall Games Preview 2016: Watch Dogs 2 Covers The Assassin's Creed Slot This Year

Ubisoft Montreal takes its open-world hack-a-thon to San Francisco.

Another holiday season is up us! Here's a look at the biggest games of the season as we make our way to the end of 2016. You can find our other previews here.

There's no Assassin's Creed coming this year, so something else has to take the flagship holiday spot for the publisher. That something else is Watch Dogs 2, the sequel to Ubisoft's new franchise for this generation of consoles.

Watch Dogs is a continuation of Ubisoft's love for open-world games, but instead of exploring different areas of history like Assassin's Creed or various harsh environments like Far Cry, Watch Dogs and its sequel take place in the modern day. Watch Dogs 2 builds upon everything that Ubisoft Montreal crafted in the series' 2014 debut. Players hack, drive, and fight their way to revenge and justice.

What Is It?

While Watch Dogs took players to Chicago to experience the exploits of hacker Aiden Pearce, Watch Dogs 2 moves to San Francisco. Our new protagonist is Marcus Holloway, a young man wrongly accused of a crime who finds his way into the hacker collective DedSec.

Ubisoft Montreal went hard on listening to player feedback and set out to improve on the first game. The result is setting spanning San Francisco, Oakland, and Silicon Valley, with more lively and active citizens. Marcus himself is a practitioner of parkour and can get around the city on foot far better than Pierce could. Cars, motorbikes, and trucks have been joined by quad bikes and boats, and the handling of all vehicles has been improved. The series focus on hacking has been vastly expanded, with more objects to hack and more options available once you' hav've hacked something.

There's also new multiplayer content, with cooperative and competitive play modes. Players can still invade other players' games to hack them, but you can also join your friends to complete missions, or team-up to hunt down other players who are causing too much chaos in San Francisco.

It Is An Annual Franchise?

Not quite. The last Watch Dogs came out in 2014 and this is launching in 2016. Given that Ubisoft has said that Assassin's Creed may no longer be an annual franchise, it's possible that Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed will keep handing off the prime holiday spot, meaning Watch Dogs 3 would likely be in 2018.

Are We Excited?

Watch Dogs was a good start to a franchise that didn't go as far into its concept as it could and lacked a sympathetic protagonist. While mourning the death of his niece was understandable, the problem with Pierce was everything that happened was his fault. Everything that happens to his family in the game is a result of his criminal actions and he's only a hero inasmuch as the folks he was fighting against are worse.

Watch Dogs 2 looks to fix both problems. Marcus Holloway is a young man accused of a crime that he didn't commit, with authorities backed by a system that can watch your every move. His slow fall in DedSec makes more sense. Ubisoft Montreal seemingly wants keep Marcus on the side of angels as well, given the online-enabled Bounty Hunter system, which spawns players into your game to hunt you down if you cause too much chaos in your city.

For a game about hacking, there really wasn't much you could do in the first Watch Dogs. Most of your options simply amounted to an on-off switch for door locks, street lights, and automated bridges. Expanding upon that is imperative. In Watch Dogs 2, you can still hack into citizen's phones, but you can do more than just view their information. Now you can help them, set them up to be arrested, or use their phone's speaker as a distraction. Vehicles can be hacked and driven remotely for a quick getaway. And the addition of Marcus' drone extends the reach of your hacking capabilities.

I liked Watch Dogs. I wanted more of the concept and Ubisoft Montreal looks like it's set to deliver. So yeah, I'm pretty excited to run around San Francisco hacking the hell out of everything.

Additional Reading

Watch Dogs 2 Brings the Revolution to San Francisco

Ubisoft's hacking sequel finds a new city and new protagonist.

Watch Dogs 2 Hands-On: Hacking Your Way Towards the Fun

Mike takes a spin around San Francisco in Ubisoft's Watch Dogs sequel.

Video Round-Up Gamescom 2016: Watch Dogs 2, Mafia III, and Ghost Recon Wildlands

Gamescom is in full swing and here are all the trailers that have headed our way so far.


Watch Dogs 2 is coming out for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on November 15, 2016.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

Read this next

E3 2019 Rumor Roundup

The down-low on all the rumors being discussed in quiet whispers in the lead up to E3 2019.

More Previews

For Honor Preview: A Whole New Sword Game

Jaz plays Ubisoft's upcoming sword fighting game, and talks to creative director Jason Vandenberghe about how it was developed.

Dragon Quest VIII 3DS Preview: New Characters, New Dungeons, New Challenges, Black Sabrecats

Though Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for the Nintendo 3DS isn't a ground-up overhaul the way Dragon Quest VII 3DS is, there's still tons of new stuff to get excited about.

Will Final Fantasy XV's Big Twist Ruin The Game?

Early details about about FFXV's endgame have emerged, to much consternation.

Final Fantasy XV Travel Diary, Final Day: Stray Thoughts and Observations

There's still plenty to see and do in Duscae, but it's time to close the book on this massive RPG (until November 29).

More on PC

Where to Get All the Skins for the Mantis in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

Here's where to find every paint job for your spaceship.

Former Arkane Founder and Producer Team Up to Form New Studio

And you won't have to wait long to see what they're working on.

Best Places for Fishing in Red Dead Online

Fishing can be more profitable than any hold-up, if done right.

Where to Find All BD-1 Skins in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

We show you where to get every possible paint job for your droid companion.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order: How to Unlock Double Jump

You’ll need the double jump ability to access certain areas in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. Here’s how to unlock it.

In Defense of Cal Kestis, Jedi: Fallen Order's Dorkiest Padawan

There's more to Fallen Order's red-headed Jedi than meets the eye.

Halo: Reach's PC Version Sports an Enhanced Mode That Goes Beyond Performance

Digital Foundry got a look at Reach for PC and liked what they saw.

More Action Adventure Games

Where to Get All the Skins for the Mantis in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

Here's where to find every paint job for your spaceship.

Where to Find All BD-1 Skins in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

We show you where to get every possible paint job for your droid companion.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order: How to Unlock Double Jump

You’ll need the double jump ability to access certain areas in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. Here’s how to unlock it.

We Tested Google Stadia at Dunkin Donuts, Safeway, and Panda Express, And We Were Surprised by the Results

Trying out Google Stadia in the real world is an interesting experience.