The original Watch Dogs combined fluid free-running and combat controls with a unique hacking ability to create a fun twist on the traditional third-person shooter, but the game had one glaring flaw: protagonist Aiden Pearce. His personality was a cross between sleep-deprived Batman and a bowl of plain oatmeal, and his motivations were so thin that the narrative was completely anemic. In Watch Dogs 2, new main man Marcus Holloway is designed to be more complex, more interesting, and above all, more fun.
The original Watch Dogs let you peer into the lives of a select group of citizens wandering the streets of Chicago, with the “Profiler” took giving you information on a person’s job, salary, and shady activity, and at the beginning of Watch Dogs 2, Marcus learns of the labels he has been designated with.
“At the beginning of the game he hacks into the system and we see he’s got a profile, right?” says Marcus actor Ruffin Prentiss. “All these labels are pushed upon him because of where he’s from, his family’s history … Marcus is fighting against injustice, at its very essence, at the core of everything, and he just wants everything to be fair.”
Fairness, of course, means launching a large-scale attack on those responsible for the mass surveillance now so common in the United States and around the globe. Marcus chooses DedSec, an organization we first met in the original game, because they share his goals and their diversity is representative of society as a whole.
While the original game kept its cast of characters extremely small and went into very little detail about the members of DedSec, Marcus will have several friends within the group, each with their own unique skillset. “Wrench,” for instance, who we first saw at E3, is the “problem solver” and demolitions expert, who Marcus will use when something needs to explode, while Josh is a more inverted character whose programming skills are unmatched.
“They’re not trying to take down society. They’re good people who are trying to do something right,” Prentiss adds.
We’ll see if Watch Dogs 2 wins a “most improved story” award when it launches on November 15 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.