How to Save Watch Dogs 2
So with the leaked announcement that Watch Dogs 2 is going to be a thing in the near future, we now all have to live with the fact that we’re probably going to be seeing more of a Aiden Pearce and his magic want, I mean phone. I’ve made my thoughts on the first Watch Dogs game perfectly clear (On several occasions,) and I don’t want to repeat myself by saying it’s a mediocre game with a nasty, spiteful story that detests its audience (Oops I did it again).
So if it’s such a bad thing, then why am I even writing about it? Because I actually see potential in some of the series core themes. The idea that someone with the right technology can bring a city to a standstill with a single click is terrifying, that a camera can recognize a face and look up every detail about that person is downright Orwellian. The game pays lip service to these ideas but then dispenses with it all, replacing in then with a generic vigilante tale about the most unlikable guy in Chicago.
Watch Dogs really felt like that bit in Dark Knight with the cell phones acting as Radar for Batman, but due to moral objections Lucius Fox refuses to use it more than once. Once their business with the joker is concluded, the shut it off for good, knowing that such power is hugely unethical, but Watch Dogs thinks such power is just awesome and Aiden Pearce should definitely keep it.
So how can anything be salvaged from this mess to create an interesting game? First scrap Aiden, he is the culmination of years of generic and cliched lead character writing in video games. Without any redeeming qualities, Aiden should be ritually slaughtered in the first five minutes by Jordi who then picks up Aiden’s phone and becomes the new lead for the series. Why Jordi? because he’s an interesting character in a world without them. Jordi’s a gun for hire who clearly enjoys his line of work and while he may not be a ‘Good’ guy, he is an interesting one, and games kinda need more anti-heroes or villain protagonists. Many games try and push the ‘Shades of gray’ angle but always wimp out by having the main character be vindicated in some way.
Setting was never the problem with Watch Dogs Chicago seemed interesting, but it would be a shame to not see a new city for the sequel. With Jordi as the lead go down to Vegas, the city of Sin and let things go a bit Saint’s Row. To help forge a real identity for the series, it needs to stop being such a boring GTA clone, and Vegas is the city to help them with that (Yes I know a Vegas-like city was in San Andreas). With the bright lights and distinctive landmarks, Las Vegas would be the perfect place for Jordi to move, with his energy and zest for life reflected in the city around him. This could also help inspire the gameplay, the city is famous for it’s casinos, so imagine then a Oceans 11 type story about robbing certain casinos on the strip, where Jordi’s technology helps crack the vaults. Yes, GTAV had heists but nothing came close to robbing a Las Vegas type Casino.
I’m sure, my musing on how to improve this series will go unheard (Alas they did with Gotham 🙂 but it will make for interesting viewing to see what ideas Watch Dogs 2 will bring to the table to apologize for the first.