Ubisoft’s choice of introducing a new protagonist in Watch Dogs 2 instead of bringing back Aiden Pearce from the original game might, at the surface, seem like a decision based on consumer feedback, because let’s admit it, Aiden had the personality of a cardboard box.
The real reason however, involved a deeper thought process to not only make the protagonist more relatable but also highlight some of the glaring issues of our society.
On his visit to San Francisco, the city where Watch Dogs 2 will be set, creative director Jonathan Morin met a lot of people from different walks of life, including tech companies or just random eclectic groups of people. Racial profiling is a serious issue which he felt needed to be addressed by the game, hence the creation of Marcus Holloway.
“He’s the kind of guy who had all the qualities to do anything he wanted, but for some reason profiling decided that that was not for him.” Said Morin.
Given his color and the young age of 24, ctOS decided Marcus Holloway must be linked to random crimes which he had absolutely no involvement in. Instead of being tortured by the world around him and his past like Aiden was, Marcus took matters into his own hands and joined DedSec to have the time of his life, making what might be considered as his weakness into his strength.
San Francisco, home to Silicon Valley is the biggest hub of social media in the country, similar to Chicago being one of the most surveilled cities. In a world like this, there is no such thing as actual privacy and that is what the game aims to further explore.
However, the world isn’t so black and white and even hacktivist groups like DedSec aren’t messiahs. While they may share the same goal of bringing the corrupt to light but every member has different reasons for being there and a different approach to the same goals, something Jonathan hopes to explain through the multiple side characters in the story.