Yesterday, Ubisoft revealed the first official Watch Dogs 2 trailer. If you’ve not seen it yet, you can watch it below, but you’ll need to skip through the first 14 minutes to get to the good stuff.
Since the original Watch Dogs is one of my favourite games of recent years, I wanted to quickly tell you my initial thoughts and worries about the new game.
A New City
The new setting of San Francisco seems like a good one for Watch Dogs 2, and offers a more bright and sunny alternative to the gloomy city streets that Chicago presented in the original. Although Watch Dogs’ version of Chicago was interesting, I never felt the urge to walk about and explore every inch of it, so I tended to just drive around very quickly, never stopping much to take in the sights.
A Life Sim?
Watch Dogs 2 also offers more to do in the city. There’s more for your hacker character to control, and apparently the NPC residents of the city are better simulated than the original, so that they’ll live their own lives around you, a bit like playing in some simplified version of The Sims.
According to the trailer, San Francisco’s residents will interact more with each other, including getting into fights, and may even call the cops on one another if things get out of hand.
My Biggest Worry isn’t Graphics
Despite all the interesting points, there’s one big thing in the Watch Dogs 2 trailer that worries me though, and it has nothing do with downgrading graphics.
In a recent article, Watch Dogs and paranoia: What the game got right, I explained how my favourite part about the original Watch Dogs game was the sense of paranoia created by its “seamless online multiplayer” mode.
At any time during your single player experience, another human player could jump into your game and start hacking you. You could be happily going about your business when suddenly your plans would be thrown into chaos by the “YOU ARE BEING INVADED” alert, leading you to then go on a mad race against time to find the hacker before they got away with it.
After a while, these human intrusions led to a fabulous sense of paranoia in the game, where every squeal of a car tyre or shout from an NPC would send you ducking behind a bush in case they were signals that an invader was in the area.
My life in Watch Dogs soon involved constantly looking over my shoulder to see if I was being followed, and constantly looking behind whilst driving to see if any cars following me were behaving suspiciously. I was no longer taking leisurely drives, as every car trip involved erratic evasive turns to try to throw off a pursuer who might not even exist.
Given the theme of Watch Dogs, surveillance and always being watched, this paranoia that it created in me was brilliant, and really added to the atmosphere of the game.
Watch Dogs 2 Multiplayer
When the Watch Dogs 2 trailer started to talk about multiplayer, I started to get really excited to see what innovations it would bring.
Despite my love of the sense of paranoia created in the original game, the multiplayer modes weren’t exactly that much fun to play as the invader. Hacking involved just hiding in bushes until a progress bar filled up, whilst the person you were hacking searched for you, and online tailing just involved following somebody who didn’t even know you were there, so there wasn’t a huge amount of actual player on player interaction.
Image my shock then when the Watch Dogs 2 reveal trailer said something along the lines of, “Here’s another human player in your game. He’s also a member of Dedsec, so you’re friends. If you like, you can join up and play co-op missions.”
Co-op missions? If there’s one thing I really don’t want from Watch Dogs 2, it’s to have the multiplayer game reduced to co-op missions, just like almost any other game that comes out nowadays.
If there’s no seamless player vs. player element in Watch Dogs 2 then you lose that whole sense of paranoia that made the original game so great. You no longer feel that you’re caught up in the same surveillance web as everybody else in the city, and therefore you don’t feel vulnerable in any way. Instead, you feel like you’re a superhero who’s free to mess around with the world, without any genuine fear or worry of becoming a victim.
I do hope that Watch Dogs 2 has other elements to its seamless online multiplayer game than just co-op. The trailer mentioned that there are other rival hacker groups in San Francisco competing with Dedsec for control, so perhaps there’ll be a mode that allows players to represent one of these rivals. The official Watch Dogs 2 website does mention player vs. player activities, but there’s no indication of what form they’ll take or how they’ll fit into the game.
There’s still a few months until Watch Dogs 2 is released, and there’s also E3 coming up, so I hope that more multiplayer modes will be revealed between now and then. I have my fingers crossed anyway.
Pre-order Watch Dogs 2 Now!
Watch Dogs 2 is set for release on 15th November 2016, but you can go ahead and pre-order it right now: