Could Watch Dogs 2 mark a new era for Ubisoft? Let’s face it: when the company name is mentioned, thoughts immediately spring to the amount of yearly releases that have lead to the gaming market becoming disinterested in their flagship titles such as Assassins Creed and Far Cry. With seemingly endless yearly iterations of the same games being announced the market has turned sour for Ubisoft and that initial anticipation that followed these fantastic IPs has without a doubt died off.
Even the first Watch Dogs, a fantastic new IP, with huge marketing and publicity campaigns behind it faded away dramatically quickly. Much of this can be attested to the mixed reception after launch with gamers experience hindered by bugs, glitches and an overly repetitive gameplay model that had many leaving it on their shelves to gather dust shortly after release.
2016 however has presented something of a new look Ubisoft to the gaming community. Apparently beginning to learn from their mistakes; a focus shift in their business model appears to have them moving more towards quality and innovation over quantity of output. With new franchises like The Division, – albeit an offshoot of the Tom Clancy brand – and For Honor bringing new engaging IP. Will Watch Dogs 2, a sequel that seems to gel with this new Ubisoft ethos deliver?
We took some time to sit down and enjoy the live announcement for Watch Dogs 2 and believe us, the hype is real here at GAMR. Promising an open world San Francisco that looks “alive”, feels real and is designed to keep us busy, whether hacking your way around or just exploring this rich engaging environment utilisng what seems to be the most realistic parkour mechanic we’ve seen in gaming yet.
There’s a unique quality to this parkour, it’s a testament to the developers as they’ve really focused on utilsing motion capture technology to bring it to life, and it looks sensational. Could this be yet another sign that Ubisoft is moving onto a slower paced but better product development? These first glimpses of Watch Dogs 2 make us believe so, they promise to keep us interested with what looks like a deep, well thought out story, and gameplay that allows us to play out a mission in the way we’re most comfortable. Whether you’re a fan of the guns blazing or stealth approach there’s something for you. The vastly improved hacking system from the first game now even allows players to hack anything from security cameras, to mobile phones and even cars, creating an almost limitless set of options to approach the way you play.
As far as we know, the story revolves around new protagonist Marcus, our main character, a member of an anarchist hacking organization. There aren’t many story related details just yet, but producers revealed it’s going to be all about controlling the vast city in rivalry with other hacker groups, street gangs and even big corporations. All of this had me very excited about the sequel to a game that had every chance to be interesting but never truly delivered on what it promised.
With Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft have a chance to give us everything we could of hoped for in that first game, and they certainly look set to deliver. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the game and can’t wait to give it a play. Let us know what you think about the reveal, the new location, gameplay options and protagonist and if you think there’s any opportunities Ubisoft have missed in the comments below.
Richard Di Stefano | @richup5