Ubisoft technically announced Watch Dogs 2 in their financial report for the third quarter of 2015. They slipped it in with their projections for the following fiscal year, saying that their line-up will include For Honor, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and "the next Watch Dogs." The official official announcement didn't really come until E3 2016, but Ubisoft talked about the title ahead of time a teensy bit.
Before anyone heard a peep about Watch Dogs 2 other than the fact it was a thing, the mo-cap actor for the protagonist posted an image of his character on Instagram. The image was since pulled very quickly, but the Internet was abuzz for a few days pondering the identity of this new protagonist. Most everyone was fairly excited that Aiden would not return.
Still before E3 and still before any "official" news, Ubisoft Yves Guillemot spoke a bit about the title. He said that not only would it be Ubisoft's "biggest game of the year," but it would have a new tone from the first game.
Our biggest title will be Watch Dogs, which will build on the success of the first game. It has been one of Ubisoft’s best selling games of all times. The game will once again surprise players with a new tone and innovative hacking gameplay possibilities.
Ubisoft just can't keep a secret for any official announcements. They were going to announce the Watch Dogs 2 release date at E3, but a leaked ad jumped the gun on them. It releases November 15, 2016, well before the projected fourth quarter release window for the fiscal year.
In addition to the plain Jane game, Watch Dogs 2 will have two other special editions up for purchase:
Good news for PlayStation fans! All post-launch DLC for Watch Dogs 2 will be PS4-exclusive for 30 days. If getting your hands on the new DLC right when it happens is important to you, then you know which platform to purchase it on. Of course, if you read this site, you already have the PS4 as your platform-of-choice.
We did indeed get our hands on Watch Dogs 2 while at E3, and Paulmichael Contreras was the lucky dog who got his paws on it first. His experience, albeit a short one, was fairly positive. Check out his full preview here.
No story? No problem! Unlike Ubisoft's typical games, Watch Dogs 2 doesn't have any "towers" for the player to unlock in order to progress. The game is all about exploration, and pieces unlock as you explore and gain virtual followers.
Creative Director Jonathan Morin explained:
Players start with a few followers in [hacker group] DedSec but pretty soon you realize you’re going to need more if you want to pull off big operations. So you start free-roaming.
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.
Game Director Danny Belanger said that Watch Dogs 2 offers even more ways to hack as well as gives players more freedom with the various play styles available to them.
The player has the freedom to play the way they want. We’re using three playstyles to talk about the game. The combat hacker — who is more proactive and uses hacks to take down people. There’s the ghost hacker — they can use hacks to distract and make noises. And then there’s the trickster hacker. They can finish a whole mission without actually physically being there.
Ubisoft has said on more than one occasion that they have learned their lesson from the first Watch Dogs title. For starters, there will not be any AR (augmented reality) games in the sequel. Instead, they are bringing in seamless co-op, so friends and strangers can drop in and out of games whenever they wish.
The AR games aren't the only poor element of the first game that Ubisoft is addressing in the sequel. Ubisoft Europe boss, Alain Corre, explained in an interview that the team is well aware of the issues players had before, and they have improved Watch Dogs 2 accordingly.
We’ve heard what our fans were saying, and we think we have ticked all the boxes to improve everything they wanted, plus we have brought some new innovation. The new character Marcus is very charismatic. You can hack anything you want and it is now twice as big as the previous one. It is also super colorful and nice to look at. More than 80 per cent of the original Watch Dogs players say they want to explore Watch Dogs 2, plus we will appeal to new fans.
When Creative Director Jonathan Morin visited San Francisco, the new locale for Watch Dogs 2, it didn't take him long to see that Aiden Pearce would not have fit in this environment. Instead of a dark, broody, and vengeful character, they needed a younger and less angry protagonist to take on Silicon Valley. Since the game is also about social media surveillance, it definitely needed someone who is more "hip and with it" than Aiden Pearce.
As you've probably gathered, Marcus isn't taking on ctOS alone. He has a group of hacktivist friends as part of Deadsec. In July of this year, Ubisoft released a character trailer introducing Wrench, Sitara, and Josh.
As yet another stark contrast to the first game, the Deadsec's goal is to share information with the public that only they and fellow hacktivists are able to access. The dev team even reached out to the hacker community for assistance to keep their representation real, honest, and respectful. Their trailer detailing the hacker culture in Watch Dogs 2 can be found here.
Two multiplayer modes will be available in Watch Dogs 2:
Either of these modes can be played co-operatively.
If you prefer to take the pacifist route in games, it's 100% possible to finish Watch Dogs 2 without killing anyone. "It was important to us that players are free in the style they want to play. So play stealth, play non-lethal, play guns blazing, explosive and guns, or play full hacking. It’s up to you to decide how you’re going to play," Senior Producer Dominic Guay has said.
At gamescom 2016, Ubisoft showed 19 minutes of gameplay of the alpha build on PlayStation 4. This gameplay video includes the multiplayer component as well as how much of the game is truly about free roaming and exploration.
Europe has a PS4 Slim Bundle that includes Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2. Unlike other bundles, however, this one does not have a unique Watch Dogs-themed console. North American does not have this bundle.
Since the PS4 Pro released before Watch Dogs 2, the game will have PS4 Pro support right out of the box on launch day. PS4 Pro support includes enhanced visuals, better frame-rate, HDR10 support, or increased resolution.
Other than the fact that hacking is fun, what is the point to Watch Dogs 2? The story trailer explains that Marcus joins Deadsec after being wrongfully accused of crimes due to racial profiling. Deadsec has pinned Blume as the culprit, more specifically, Blume's CTO, Dušan Nemec.
Tyler Treese was able to play Watch Dogs 2 for over six hours at an Ubisoft event, and he raved how well the developer portrayed San Francisco. He went as far as to say that "the Bay Area is Watch Dogs 2's best character." He enjoyed simply roaming the world and watching the random interactions take place. Sometimes he would get involved, other times he let them play out. He did comment that the combat is rather clunky, and some of the controls are complicated for "heat of the moment" hacks. His full preview can be read here.
How open is the open world of Watch Dogs 2? A brief trailer from Ubisoft presents the open-world "playground" of San Francisco.
Ubisoft has quite a bit of Season Pass content planned, including the following story content and new mode:
Those who purchase the Season Pass on day one or pre-order it will also receive the following in-game packs:
The Season Pass is available at $39.99 or part of the Gold Edition bundle, which costs $99.99 for game, Deluxe Edition goodies, and the Season Pass.
As Tyler mentioned in his preview, San Francisco is practically a living, breathing entity of its own in Watch Dogs 2. Game Director Danny Belanger said that was exactly their goal with the environment.
It’s really important at first to create a city that feels alive. We speak a lot in Watch Dogs 2 about the world being a simulation and that’s really the fundamental aspect of it. We wanted the world to be non-player essential, meaning it will live without you being there. And once you go there, it’s a place to discover, live in, and play.
See how in Ubisoft's "Living World of San Francisco" trailer.
The week before launch, Ubisoft released their launch trailer for Watch Dogs 2. This trailer, unlike the others, highlights the action of the game above all else.
In case you hadn't heard, there isn't going to be an Assassin's Creed in 2016. Ubisoft has had an AC title every year since 2009, but they promise that Watch Dogs 2 will make up for the missing Creed. UK Sales Director Darren Bowe explained:
Assassin’s Creed has been a fantastic seller for Ubisoft and really important to the market every year, but make no mistake, Watch Dogs 2 will certainly fill the gap this year. We are very fortunate to have such a strong and varied line-up so we don’t have to rely just one franchise. Following Watch Dogs 2, we also have Steep launching at the start of December along with strong back catalog sales on Tom Clancy’s The Division and Far Cry Primal which have been two of the biggest launches so far this year.
If you're looking to get the digital copy of the game from the PlayStation Store, here are their pre-order incentives:
Pre-order and receive a bonus after checking out:
- Watch_Dogs 2 Theme
Pre-order and receive a bonus after checking out:
- Watch_Dogs 2 Theme
- Zodiac Killer Mission and Outfit
PlayStation Store Pre-Order Exclusives:
- San Bruno Radio Tower Co-Op Location and Engineer Outfit
- Bonus ScoutXpedition Activity
PlayStation Store Plus Members Pre-Order Exclusive:
- Bitflip Suit Outfit]
Not counting any of the Season Pass content, Deluxe Edition content, and pre-order incentives the PlayStation Store has to offer, Watch Dogs 2 will require 24.8GB of space.