When I saw the official E3 presentation of Watch Dogs 2, I couldn't help but be at least a little excited. I actually enjoyed the first game quite a bit, and I'm more than ready to revisit the world and the themes that set the stage in the first game but with a less tacky and grim approach. Since playing the game at this point in time is pretty much impossible, the Eurogamer interview conducted with creative director Jonathan Morin at the E3 will have to be good enough for now.
Morin talks about the studio's approach to the new open world set in Los Angeles (which reportedly is twice as large as Watch Dog's version of Chicago), with the team adopting a larger focus on urban exploration and how the game's progression system and the story feed into that. Even though we fully expect that we will have to climb a tall structure to fill in the map, nothing could be farther from the truth.
It's not a game where you open your map and everything's there. There are no towers. You just explore the world.
While the exploration isn't tied to your progress, something else surely is. As a modern tech-type, you will have to gain followers for DedSec, the underground hacking group that's a fictional version of Anonymous. Followers function as a form of XP, and are acquired by doing activities within the open world. The more followers you have, the more you can do. Your available skill sets are no longer tied to how far into the main campaign you are either. Using the follower system, you can unlock everything the game has to offer by just doing activities in the open world or play the game with a friend, no story missions required.
Every time you get followers, it's like you're unlocking the DedSec hivemind. You're also unlocking new knowledge, new operations, new co-op missions. And then organically you hit those end-game milestones.
The aforementioned co-op stuff will be more fleshed out than the rather disappointing multiplayer modes found in the first game. If you decide to team up with a friend, you will be able to take part in full-fledged missions that can be tackled by more than one player, in additional to just roaming around the map, taking part in events and play PvP missions. However, it's also completely possible to play these co-op missions by yourself due to the game scaling the difficulty depending on whether you're alone or with another player. There will also be more content to play through once you've completed the story.
Morin also talks about Watch Dogs 2's protagonist, the young, black hipster who is a complete departure from the gruff and serious Aiden Pierce. This time around, you don't play someone who is completely unknown either. Marcus Holloway has had run-ins with the police that resulted in him getting profiled for a hack he did not commit. This makes him a known quantity to the powers that be for reasons beyond his control, and this will feed into the story itself.
Rather than the usual take on racism, one of our operations focuses on crime profiling based on colour. We have all heard examples where police wrongly profiled someone based on skin colour.
We think it's an interesting question to ask what would happen if people who did this tried to hide behind the code, who could just say - well, we just followed the code...
Watch Dogs 2 got an official announcement just before this year's E3, and is scheduled to release on November 15 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Find more of our E3 coverage at out E3 2016 Coverage Hub!