Watch Dogs 2: New Ways to Hack

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Watch Dogs 2: New Ways to Hack

While this month’s announcement of Watch Dogs 2 — Ubisoft’s future tech open-world caper — might not have come as a huge surprise given the success of the 2014 original, it’s nevertheless a welcome return for a new IP with some big ideas. Doubly so, given that the team behind it seems keen to push forward the template they laid down the first time around.

The most immediately obvious change-up is in the game’s look and feel — whereas its predecessor often struck a serious, no-nonsense note with Chicago’s stern skyline framing the action, Watch Dogs 2 is brash, colorful, and pops with charisma.

Watch Dogs 2: New Ways to Hack

This time the action plays out in and around iconic San Francisco, with gritty protagonist Aiden Pearce replaced by exuberant young DedSec hacktivist Marcus Holloway. Along with a handful of fellow code warriors, he’s got his sights set on taking down insidious big businesses harnessing tech for nefarious ends.

“We hope you’ll feel that Watch Dogs 2 is new and different when you get your hands on it,” says Game Director Danny Belanger, talking to us backstage at last week’s E3. “We know that having a sequel that feels too much like the first game can be disappointing, so we took a lot of risks and made some pretty big changes.

“Whereas the first Watch Dogs was all about surveillance, this time we’re focusing on ‘Big Data’ — social media, search engines, and so forth. We’re taking these technologies, looking at them, and asking what the risks are, what can happen, what could a hacker do? And we’ve found that we can create some super-interesting situations.”

The changes go further than just the cosmetic, however. Holloway has an expanded arsenal of gadgets at his disposal — as well as a more powerful handset, you’ll also be getting to grips with a 3D printer, crafting everything from firearms to your very own drone. The scope of what you can hack has been expanded, too.

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“Now you can hack anything that is connected,” says Belanger, “and you have more options for how you do it.

“In the first Watch Dogs you generally had one way to hack something, and that created fairly simple patterns. But now you can carry out multiple hacks on every single person.”

Perhaps most interesting of all the new additions, however, is a fresh way of approaching self-determination and player agency. Unlike in the original game, you can actually reach Watch Dogs 2’s finale without once using deadly force.

“The player has the freedom to play the way they want,” explains Belanger.

“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.”

Watch Dogs 2

How exactly does that work? Belanger gives the example of upgrading your drone to such a degree that you can complete a mission via remote control. Of course, if you want to go down the all-action route, he’s keen to stress that sort of gameplay will still be there for you, but there is now a much wider variety of options to choose from.

“We don’t want to force you as a player to make a specific choice about how you want to play the game. One day you might want to play in a different way to the next,” he says.

Sound intriguing? You don’t have long to wait to find out how these new additions enhance the Watch Dogs formula — Ubisoft’s sequel hits PS4 on November 15.

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  • I love the change in direction – makes me look forward to Watch Dogs 2 more now. Also, given the subject matter, I hope tracks by Hacktivist and Big Data end up in the game – would be quite a missed opportunity otherwise :-)

  • I just hope the game is fun. Arkham Knight nailed the tech and gadgets. I would like to think a game centered around them can get it right.

  • I love the new direction for Watchdog. Just no TIMED missions please! I can’t stand a TIMED COUNTDOWN MISSION! I like taking my time with all things in life, including games. Don’t make me feel like a spazz under pressure. Thats society job.

  • I Can’t wait for this game to come out. i love the watch dogs series so much. but please don’t downgrade this like you did with the first one. they could pull an assassin’s creed II Jump Here. and I’m fine with the game being release every year but i know that ‘s not going to happen unless Ubisoft does something. this could Part of GOTY Contender If it Goes well, I can’t wait. Don’t **** It Up Ubisoft.

  • This looks really great, San Fransisco and parts of the Bay Area will be an awesome experience to explore and this new team seems like a very new turn from the original Watch Dogs. I do hope it isn’t too similar to GTA because I like how the first one wasn’t. Can’t wait to play this game and even though I will miss Aiden and T-Bone, a new city calls for a new hero or antihero.

  • I’m actually not really feeling this game. I quite enjoyed the first Watch_Dogs. I liked Aiden as an anti-hero. A criminal whose bad decisions got someone close to him killed, so he used his skills (and tech he acquired from Dedsec) to turn vigilante and get revenge.
    This new guy? Innocent civilian, wrongly accused of a crime he didn’t commit, who straight up becomes a criminal to fight against “the man”? That is so on-the-nose, it’s cringe-worthy.
    I’ll admit, the improvements and advancements in the game systems look impressive… but I can’t convince myself to be excited for this. It feels like they replaced an interesting character (regardless of how anyone else felt about him) with the most generic “fight the power” character they possibly could…
    I hope I’m wrong… we’ll see.

  • Will online hacking make a return? That’s been my favorite online multiplayer experience this generation.

  • I am loving learning more about Watch Dogs 2 and I am one of the few people who enjoyed the original Watch Dogs. I am glad that Ubisoft still made a sequel despite the negativity around the original Watch Dogs. I have said time and time again, gamers or more specifically hardcore gamers are killing the gaming industry. They claim they want new IP yet are overly critical of games that are new, different, and take risks. A lot of people unfairly compare Watch Dogs to GTA 5. Rockstar had like 20yrs to perfect the GTA formula. If Watch Dogs have come out before GTA 5, it would have been viewed a little better. Don’t get me wrong, Watch Dogs had some problems. But, in my unscientific study, I noticed that new IP, with a few exceptions, are judged harsher than sequels. I believe that new IP should be given a grace or benefit of the doubt in their review.

    Keep up the good work, Ubisoft!

  • Was a bit wary about the changes with WD2 after seeing the announcement trailers and especially the new protagonist but I gotta admit that after seeing gameplay ma doubts have lowered a lot.I simply loved the 1st game…despite what everybody says,its one of the best open-world games out there and I still think WD2 can’t top WD1 but I’m looking forward to play the game,definitely gonna get it and I can’t wait to explore San Francisco.

    1st game was incredible to explore,most people don’t stop to look at details but no open-world game has the amount of variety of things that NPCs do like Watch Dogs….no freaking game.

    • Forgot to say 1 thing…1 major negative point about the 1st game was no playtime counter which was a major letdown for me so I really really hope they’ve added it to WD2 this time around.

  • the one thing i want to know and hopefully see leading up to the games release is can i shot out of the driver seat in watch dogs 2 or will it be like watch dogs one where you couldnt. that was the only bad thing i had with watch dogs one. As long as this game has it now , ill be happy.

  • Played 1 on Wii U, looking forward to 2 on PS4

  • I have faith in Ubisoft each time they come out with a new IP they aren’t about to make a bad IP they just need to work out the kinks and they’re showing that with this sequel the same way they did it with Assassins Creed.

  • Can you guys bring the steelbook edition to US?

  • This game will have to bring ALOT to the table for me.
    The last game was very bland. To the point of embarrassment considering the studio behind it.
    I doubt i’ll get this one.
    But I do hope for the best but I am not expecting a ROI.

    • watch dogs to be awsome it comes out in november the 15 this year i am going to have me some fun on that game and on multiplayer as well

  • I’m no lover of the first game. The maps were to big and some of the levels really sucked. It was released at the wrong time and I don’t think the gaming community was ready for a game like this. But now… They are and I think it’s going to rock. If I’m wrong I’ll eat my hat.

  • Ubisoft lost me as a customer because of the first Watch Dogs. They make these great presentations at E3, then s**t the bed when they release the actual games. Indie developers like Dontnod are putting these guys to shame. Why don’t they really try something new and different and create real three dimensional characters unlike Desmond and Aiden.

  • steelbook edition canada!! Because Ubisoft Montreal made it :D

  • I think this game will be good but seeing the first one was to easy idk about this one

  • I really enjoyed the first WatchDogs. Maybe it’s because I’m just a casual gamer. Maybe it’s because I remember playing Pong as a kid. I will definitely be picking this up on day one. Thanks in advance Ubisoft!!!

  • It looks pretty awesome. I wonder if there will be anything about Assassin’s Creed in this game like there was in the first Watchdogs?

  • yeah

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