Coming out of E3 2012, we were fairly convinced that Ubisoft's Watch Dogs was going to be something special. The concept of an interconnected world dominated by technology sounded relatively unique, and what the developer had to show of the game caught our interest more than most.
More importantly, our later time seeing and eventually playing Watch Dogs revealed that Ubisoft was planning to build a franchise. That only became more clear when the game brought in massive sales numbers, on its way to the title of fastest selling IP of all time.
So, with Watch Dogs 2 a foregone conclusion, games publication CVG questioned Ubi CEO Yves Guillemot about the sequel. More specifically, they asked whether this second game might see the return of Aiden Pearce or an entirely new character.
As it turns out, Guillemot isn't entirely sure whether Pearce will return, not because he is keeping it a secret but because he actually doesn't know.
"I can't say because I don't know actually. We'll see."
To us, that sounds like one of two possibilities. Either Watch Dogs 2 is so early on in development (very likely) that Ubisoft has yet to pull the trigger on a possible protagonist, or Guillemot is so busy managing his company's upcoming (read: more urgent) titles like Far Cry 4, Assassin's Creed Unity, and The Crew that he hasn't had time to check in with the Watch Dogs team.
Since both seem likely, we wouldn't write off Aiden Pearce as Watch Dogs 2's hero just yet. Having not played the game, and for fear of spoilers, I can't say whether or not the character deserves a continued story, but there's clearly some investment on Ubisoft's part in building the brand and Pearce's character.
At the same time, this would be a perfect opportunity for Ubisoft to mix things up a bit and cast a non-generic white guy as its protagonist. Developers' overreliance on the generic male hero is something we've talked about before, and slowly but surely it seems to be changing. In fact, Guillemot suggests his company is moving away from those types of characters as well.
"We are working on that. We want to spend more time on the worlds and characters in our games... you will see more and more of this at Ubisoft. We'll try to be less like we have been in the past with some characters. We'll try to extend more diversity."
Ultimately, we're still at least a year or two away from learning more about Watch Dogs 2. We know it's coming, but whether or not it will feature near future Chicago again, or Aiden Pearce, or any of the first game's mechanics and ideas is unclear. Like with the first Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs set up an intriguing world but never fully capitalized on its potential. We'd like to see a similar jump from Watch Dogs 1 to 2 as we did with AC.
Would you like to see Aiden Pearce return for Watch Dogs 2? Do you think Ubisoft should go the Assassin's Creed route and introduce a new protagonist each game?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina