During today's World Premiere for the upcoming Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft unveiled plenty of details, and as previously suggested by other media outlets, some of these weren't a surprise. For example, as rumored the game will be set in San Francisco, and it features an African-American protagonist named Marcus Holloway. Ubisoft also announced a November 15th release date, which falls in line with earlier predictions.
The World Premiere (skip to 14:28 in the video above) introduced a cinematic trailer for the game, which emphasizes the distinctly colorful quality of life and sense of personality in San Francisco, as well as the exploits of the hacker group Dedsec, of which Marcus is a member. The trailer also depicts the highly technological nature of the city as well. Scriptwriter Lucien Soulban said:
Another point of emphasis with regards to the city and its open world is a pervasive sense of realism. According to Senior Producer Dominic Guay, the world of Watch Dogs 2 does not revolve solely around the player's actions:
"We broke the feeling that the world is centered on you, the player. So characters shouldn't only react to you, they should react to each other. You know, maybe people start fights. Maybe someone calls the cops on someone else than you. Maybe a dog barks after someone else and chases them down the street. You need to feel as if the city is alive, even if you do nothing. And then, if you start doing things, if you start playing in the world, the city should react to what you are doing."
Guay also revealed that different factions will be present in the city, including criminal gangs, powerful corporations, and other hacker groups, all of which should contribute to the sense of realism.
Ubisoft also revealed new details about the game's protagonist, Marcus Holloway. According to Soulban, Marcus's history and circumstances are pivotal factors that explain who he is:
So, our hero in Watch Dogs 2 is Marcus Holloway. He's a young hacker, very brilliant in what he does, because of the injustices that he's seen, both being from Oakland, and also having been profiled the wrong way, and being accused of a crime he actually didn't commit. That sort of made him go against the system.
With regards to actual gameplay, a key difference between Marcus and the first game's protagonist, Aiden Pearce, is the former's maneuverability. Marcus uses parkour to traverse the environment with an added sense of speed and a distinct flair. For a melee weapon, Aiden utilized a simple nightstick; for Marcus, the team researched the Internet and YouTube videos and settled on a "do-it-yourself" weapon, which features a billiard ball attached to a paracord lanyard, allowing for fast strikes and an athletic fighting style, which reflects Marcus's nature as "a more expressive guy," according to the team.
As it comes to guns, Dedsec uses cutting-edge 3D printers that can work with metal, suggesting that the player may have the chance to craft weapons. Marcus also has access to a Taser, which makes non-lethal playthroughs possible. A completely new addition from the previous games is two unique gadgets Marcus can use to survey the environment: the "RC Jumper" (a two-wheel drone) and the flying "Quad Copter" drone. The former provides Marcus the ability to scout the area around him without exposing himself, while the latter allows him to take to the sky and study the situation from above.
Some other improvements covered in the World Premiere include an improved driving experience, new "seamless multiplayer" features (where players in single player can encounter each other and team up for a co-op experience), and, perhaps most importantly, an enhanced hacking mechanic. Now, every person in the world is vulnerable to Marcus's hacking, as well as every car (which can be driven remotely to remove enemies or cause distractions). In addition, Marcus will eventually gain access to the ability to cause "mass hacking" events, where crowds of people are targeted at once to create massive distractions and more.
According to Ubisoft, Watch Dogs 2 is slated for a November 15th release. There will be a playable demo at E3 next week, which will be the first chance for players to see how these additions and other changes improve on the original game.