Watch_Dogs 2 Dev Interview

Want to know a bit about what the devs behind the recently released Watch_Dogs 2 have changed, added and what they want the players to notice?  Dominic Guay, Senior Producer for the game, tells us.

1. How has the world of watch dogs changed since the first game?
We changed the perspective we are giving players on our universe: this time you play a hacker within an Hacktivist hacker group fighting a corrupted establishment.  The setting of San Francisco, the new characters, the greater power of hacking gameplay, the lighter tone of the game, the coop gameplay: all of these choices and creations are rooted in this change.

2. What does the new city bring to the game and the story?
The San Francisco Bay is a beautiful area with inspiring, diverse locations and people.  Culturally, it is very inspiring. Furthermore, it is also the birthplace of the tech revolution, notably in Silicon Valley, the place where many of the technologies that will change our lives tomorrow are being invented today.

3. Where does the story pick up within the Watch Dogs universe and what is the biggest changes to the story?
The story of Watch_Dogs 2 unfolds after the events of the first game.  While the actions of the protagonist and factions in the first game had an impact on the universe of Watch_Dogs, it is not necessary to have played the first game to understand what happens in the second.  The story is much more focused on the people abusing technology and on the impact of that technology on people’s lives.  Since you play as a part of a hacker group, it allows us to give a fresh and direct perspective on the topics we have always wanted to explore within the brand.  The tone is also lighter and fun.  While we deal with some serious topics, the game keeps a sense of balance.

4. What are the largest improvements to the gameplay? And what new features do you feel improves the game over the first game?
We pushed hacking gameplay depth and scale.  You can now hack any character, any car as well as many other electronics within the city.  Furthermore, you can now hack them in multiple ways whereas in Watch_Dogs 1 you only had one function for each.  We added more powerful manipulation hacks like changing people’s profile to have them arrested.  We added more hacks that gives you full control of some game ingredients, similar to the cameras in Watch_Dogs 1 that you could hijack at will.  We are offering two different drones (flying and on wheels) that you can use in missions and to explore the open world.  Also, you now have an ability called Network Hacking that allows you to hack through the environment, find gameplay opportunities and explore the world “through the eyes of a hacker”.
We also have a much more open game structure.  Your goal is to accumulate followers for your hacker group, DedSec, and you are free to engage in different “quests” and activities to achieve this goal.  As you explore the world, you will discover different ways to achieve this goal.  Furthermore, the game world is a lot less player centric.  AI interacts with each other’s, police forces can try to arrest anyone, not just the player, and various factions can start fights not involving the player.  Also of note, the seamless online has been one of our big focuses.  A player’s world can be populated by other players and you can seamlessly join these friendly DedSec hackers to form a coop team.

5. What where the biggest lessons you learned from the first game?
We paid close attention to players’ feedback from Watch_Dogs 1 and have worked very hard to incorporate it as we build the next iteration in the franchise.  I mentioned many of these points in the previous answer: focusing on our core thematic narratively, adding depth and flexibility to hacking, pushing seamless online to include seamless coop and open world friendly player encounters, giving the player more control on their play style by giving him more freedom in the game.  I would also add that we made our game world less player centric.  As you explore the San Francisco Bay, you will be surprised by the feeling the city has a life of its own, that it does not revolve around Marcus.  Enemy factions fight each other, events happen in the city and people react to them, people laugh at others’ misfortunes but also help each other, etc.  We also addressed some more specific points.  For example, many players felt the driving could be improved and we agreed.  Accordingly, we worked with our colleagues at Reflections studio to rework the driving system.  We kept a wide range of vehicle styles while delivering a more accessible driving.

6. Will the cross-format MP return? i.e. the ability to play using a phone app against someone playing the game on consoles?
There is no second-screen / companion app in Watch_Dogs 2.  We focused all of our efforts on the core game.

7. Have you added any features that fans of the first game where crying out for?
(see answer 4 & 5). Plus, we now have actual dogs in the world of Watch_Dogs.  You cannot do San Francisco without dogs. 🙂

8. Will we ever see a Watch_Dogs / Assassin’s Creed crossover as both have “Easter eggs about each game in them”?
Many fans have theories on this topic.  We enjoy doing little Easter eggs and there are a few more to find in Watch_Dogs 2.

9. Do any of the characters from the first game pop up in the second i.e. T-Bone?
In Watch_Dogs 2, T-Bone shows up as a kind of mentor for DedSec.  He teaches them how to attack his long-time nemesis, Blume.  But as for any other characters, I’ll let you discover it by yourself.

10. Do you feel / hope that Watch_Dogs 2 will have a similar effect as Assassin’s Creed 2 did with the community in that it was the launch pad where the series took off?
This comparison is often made and yes we do hope that we can set the brand on a path forward with this second opus.  We had a similar mindset to the AC2 team: extend what worked well with the first game and improve the things the players and the team felt needed change.

11. Will we ever see a Watch_Dogs outside of main land America? i.e. taking place in a European city link Paris or Berlin or possibly Asia like Tokyo?
We could – Watch_Dogs thematically explores how our hyper connected society, hacking, surveillance, the internet of things and big data impacts people.  These are universal thematic that apply to cities across the globe.

12. And what would you say to people who may not be interested in the game after the first try the second game?
Watch_Dogs 2 is lighter and more fun than its predecessor.  The world is more vibrant and more rewarding to explore.  The citizens are alive and will surprise the player.  The hacking is now more central to the experience and we have improved the driving.  The player is now completely free to play missions according to their style: aggressive, stealthy or as a trickster.  Overall, we feel the game and story is tighter and more focused on our core thematic.  Finally, I would point out that our new hero Marcus and his friends are a fun and charming group to spend time with.

Thanks Dominic!

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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1 comment

  1. solm67 February 7, 2017 2:48 pm  Reply

    Nice interview Stuart. Still to play the first one before diving into Watch Dogs 2.

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