Months after Kotaku originally reported on the title, Ubisoft has officially revealed that Watch Dogs 2 is coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on November 15, 2016. In a stream today, Ubisoft outlined the sequel to its 2014 open-world hacking adventure.
New Dude, New City
Watch Dogs protagonist Aiden Pierce and the city of Chicago are gone, replaced with young hacker Marcus Holloway and the city of San Francisco. This is probably my favorite change as Aiden Pierce was the first game's weak link. Not only were the inciting events his fault, his actions throughout the game make things worse for his family. He ended up coming across as wooden and unsympathetic.
Hopefully, Marcus is an improvement in that regard. Here's what we know: he's a resident of Oakland, across the San Francisco Bay, and he's rising member of the hacking collective DedSec. Unlike Pierce, who was a career criminal, Marcus is accused of a crime he didn't commit and has ultimately decided that the system is corrupt. Pierce interacted with DedSec in the first game, but his mission was his own, one of revenge. Marcus is looking for a revolution, meaning he needs to turn the city to his cause.
The mission structure sounds far more open-ended this time around, learning the game closer to Grand Theft Auto.
"Watch Dogs 2 tears open sandbox narrative like never before: the world is littered with missions that you can do in any order, each with storylines attached," explained the company over on the Ubisoft blog. "You can also ignore them in favor of side missions, or just explore the world on your own time. Whatever you do, it will contribute to your follower count and bring you closer to the game's ending."
Marcus' stomping grounds in Watch Dogs 2 are comprised of three districts of San Francisco, Oakland, Marin County, and Silicon Valley. Across the entire city, Marcus can run and jump far better than his predecessor, leaning much closer to the movement found in Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed. (Can't wait for the reveal that DedSec is the Brotherhood.)
Hack All The Things
This new region has upgraded to ctOS 2.0, meaning an enterprising hacker now has more control. Watch Dogs 2 increases the things that can be hacked by the players. Ubisoft says "everything can be hacked," but the truth of that claim remains to be seen. In addition to hacking electric grids, traffic lights, and enemy radios, Marcus can hack bystanders phones, allowing you to help or harm them, which was one of the things that felt like it was missing in the first game. You can even hack vehicles now and a hacked vehicle can be driven remotely, allowing you to set up new combat situations or a solid getaway.
Marcus has other tools at his disposal, including the RC Jumper, an upgrade to the Bad Blood DLC's RC Car, with an arm to handle objects while you're driving around. There's the quadcopter drone, which can be controlled to lift heavy objects for extraction or infiltration. Marcus can also craft a number of classic weapons via his 3D printer.
Ubisoft listened to where fans felt Watch Dogs erred before, leading to other improvements. There are no towers in the game, with all of San Francisco open to you from the beginning. Driving, which was merely adequate in the first game, has been improved this time around.
"Big steps have been taken to make driving in Watch Dogs 2 a more accessible, more rewarding experience. Each vehicle offers a unique feel, and you'll probably want to try them all while bombing down San Francisco's iconic hills at a hundred miles an hour," said the company on the Ubisoft blog.
Online is back too. Watch Dogs 2 has a seamless online experience, somewhat like the first game, meaning you'll occasionally cross paths with other hackers. The stream showed off new emotes for interacting with random players who aren't on your friends list. Online actions can be competitive or cooperative, but Ubisoft hasn't outlined if hacking PVP is back.
We can expect to see more of Watch Dogs 2 at E3 2016 next week.
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