Why does Watch Dogs 2 need guns? | PCGamesN

Why does Watch Dogs 2 need guns?

Watch Dogs 2

One of the few surprises from E3 this year is Watch Dogs 2. It’s not the reveal itself that’s the surprise, but that it’s bright and silly and features a charismatic lead that vaguely resembles a human being rather than a robot sporting a baseball cap. 

But, as I watched the demos and trailers, there was something that didn’t seem quite right; something that didn’t fit. It was hard to nail down at first because it’s almost ubiquitous in videogames, to the point where I barely notice how odd it is. It’s the prevalence of guns. 

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Ubisoft Montreal have been really pushing the idea that you can play Watch Dogs 2 however you want. They do that with most of their open-world games, as do most other developers designing sandboxes. It’s this generation’s version of “You can climb that mountain you see off in the distance.” What does it really mean, though? 

Scrub away the marketing-speak, and playing however you want tends to mean that you can choose between stealth and aggression. In the case of Watch Dogs 2, you can opt to use Marcus’ many, many fun toys like drones, RC cars and tasers, or you can just be boring and spray bullets out of an assault rifle. 

Watch Dogs 2

It just seems so unnecessary, that second option. And a bit nonsensical. I mean, Marcus is a bespectacled hacktivist who ostensibly wants to liberate San Francisco from a corrupt system. Blowing up cars and murdering goons doesn’t strike me as a very sensible approach, if that’s the case. It makes him a criminal at best, a terrorist at worst, but more importantly doesn’t really gel with what we know about the game so far. 

And here’s the thing: Ubisoft Montreal could have made this game without a single firearm, and it could still offer a great deal of freedom. They’ve already boasted about the many routes you can take to complete a mission, and there’s more than one way to get through a scenario subtly and without letting off a single bullet. 

As games continue to grow in scope and complexity, interacting with virtual worlds through guns feels increasingly antiquated. There are plenty of games that justify it, and I’m not going to sit here and say that Doom or Rainbow Six: Siege need to lose the firearms, but Watch Dogs 2 is well positioned to offer something different and novel. 

And then there’s the issue of making Marcus, specifically, a gun user. Watch Dogs 2 features a rare non-white protagonist, accused of crimes he didn’t commit. He’s the good guy seeking to clear his name and take down the dystopian surveillance state. The very simple point that’s being made – that profiling is both wrong and dangerous – is made hollow by the fact that players can transform him into that very stereotype.  

Watch Dogs 2

One could argue that, in a game that offers as much freedom as we’re being promised, we’ll be able to avoid killing entirely - and Ubisoft Montreal have already said as much. But that misses the point. Watch Dogs 2 is an open-world game about hacking. Not battles. Not gang warfare. Not Space Marines. So what do the guns offer, aside from cheap thrills? 

I’ve yet to play Watch Dogs 2, of course. Like most of you, my experience of game comes from trailers and developer walkthroughs. Perhaps Ubisoft Montreal are very aware of the issues I’ve mentioned. Perhaps there will be meaningful consequences if you choose to engage with the world violently. Maybe there’s a point being made that’s yet to be revealed. I hope so, but historically this is rarely the case.  

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AnAuldWolf avatarShriven avatarsomeslari avatar
AnAuldWolf Avatar
1 Year ago

I really wish we could see more games without guns. In New Vegas, you can play it without killing very many people at all, you can even talk the enemy general into retreating. With the STUN mod, which adds weapons to the game that can knock out foes so that you can loot their unconscious bodies then tie them up and leave them for the local law? That becomes eminently more fun.

I do wish there were games like the non-lethal takedowns in Deus Ex and Dishonored where you're not doing lasting damage to someone just to knock them out. Not everyone in a bad situation is a bad person or irredeemable, so I always feel horrible about games that just force so much killing. It's nowhere near as bad if respawners are part of the lore, but in general? It's just ending a life... I don't know, it's not fun for me.

I think you can have more fun sneaking around, doing non-harmful and non-lethal takedowns, and just being a snooper. I love snoopy games. Throw in some good writing, a little mystery, some puzzle solving, and even some platforming and you have a recipe for a game I very much want to play.

Look at Bloodlines. The best parts of that for me were always interacting with people and just being snoopy.

I want more private investigator games, come to think of it. More Tex Murphy. More of that kind of thing. I remember in Ultima VII that one of my favourite quests was following the Mayor of Britannia around to see if he was cheating on his wife (and indeed he was!). And how you could confront him about that and make a choice that actually had an impact.

I just think guns are a power fantasy. It's just a "Look at the size of my dick!" thing. And men do like bragging about the size of their dicks. And that's what guns are about. They're just phalluses of death. It's really Freudian. It's become so Freudian in fact that it's being parodied with cock guns/cock lasers in certain circles. Because really, that's what it is. It's about domination and all sorts of unhealthy power fantasies.

It's just not my thing.

So I wish for less guns, too. Not going to happen, though.

someslari Avatar
1 Year ago

I hope we can both agree, that games, as a whole, with their design, appearance and especially their Story, are art.

So you have the World which must not have anything to do with the real world, because it is a fictional world which is there to tell a fictional story.

In this world, the society can be peaceful or it can be more like the real world full of people who want to do harm on the protagonist.

so this protagonist chooses to have the healthy idea (in the situation) to defend himself if he needs to. that is the story that the designers and writers want to tell. that’s the world they created for him.

do you want to limit the story writers to only non-harmful enemy’s?

I don’t want a protagonist who Always runs away who never even things about striking back with the same weapons as he gets attacked with. that’s just not appropriate in the situations he may get in.

you are telling:

"[...] the many routes you can take to complete a mission, and there’s more than one way to get through a scenario subtly and without letting off a single bullet. "

so the Game/Artwork gives you the possibility to be peaceful. but do you really call that freedom for the player to not Run away and fight or defend himself. I think that would kill a lot of possible routes which are more or less harmful.

but isn’t it enough that you CAN do it without killing?

"I am sneaking inside the building of an enemy which will shoot with weapons if they see me. better not get a gun to at least be on the same level if something goes wrong"

does this sound logic to you?

at the end to me:

I'm 20 working and live in Germany I Sometimes play videogames but my job doesn't allow it to much.

I do not own Guns neither I am for freeing up Weapon regulations in Germany or EU. But I am against the Idea of changing the story of other people just because you don’t like on aspect of it.

I want the Story unmodified, as intended of the people who wrote it. story driven games are like Books to me or are you for censoring guns out of books too?

Shriven Avatar
1 Year ago

Pacifist runs are coming back hard.