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Watch Dogs 2 is an open world Action-Adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It is the sequel to Watch_Dogs (released in 2014) and is set in the San Francisco Bay Area (which includes Oakland, Silicon Valley, and Marin County). The game was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in November 2016.

It centers around a new protagonist, Marcus Holloway. Whereas Aiden Pearce (the first game's protagonist) went on to avenge his niece's death, Marcus, instead, is on a quest to clear his name after he was arrested for a cybercrime he didn't commit, and is on the side of rebel hacker group DedSec, who are trying to take down the newly installed ctOS 2.0 and the various corrupt entities within the Bay Area.

Several gameplay additions and improvements have been made to this game, as part of the feedback regarding the mixed reactions garnered by the original game. The first trailer was released shortly after its confirmation. The second trailer was released later.

The game is followed by Watch Dogs: Legion, released in October 2020.

This game provides examples of:

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  • 20 Minutes into the Future:
    • Aside from the widespread adoption of the ctOS system, the world is otherwise on the same technology level as our own, but there are still a few hints that it takes place a few years forward. The most obvious is that the game presents the Salesforce Tower as being fully completed, whereas it was still under construction in 2016.
    • Another indication is that apparently, Assassin's Creed: Osiris was leaked like Unity and Syndicate.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Ubisoft is getting better but like in Driver: San Francisco the characters in Watch_Dogs 2 still can't consistently get the pronunciation of Marin right.
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: The Sons of Ragnarok are depicted as a stand-in for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, being based within the San Fransisco Bay Area and recognized as a criminal organization. The group as a whole appears to hold far-right and neo-Nazi sentiments.
  • All There in the Manual: Sitara maintains a Tumblr blog which shows some interesting information about several factions in the game. For example, a Blume executive who hired Prime_Eight to attack their servers is also a high-ranked member of New Dawn.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: DedSec takes over Lenni's Hacker Cave after completing the Prime_Eight quest line.
  • Amoral Afrikaner: It's never outright said, but the "Zulu" part of Umeni-Zulu's name seems to imply that the company had its origin as a South African security contractor.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In the final mission, the player temporarily controls Sitara and Wrench while Marcus plays Mission Control.
  • And That's Terrible: Subverted. When discussing dirt about their targets, the main characters outright say that what they've been doing such as manipulating social media to help their favored political candidate and firing employees for searching for specific terms on social media is illegal. Although this does point out lesser-known aspects of the law which are often abused by law enforcement to entrap civilians. Played straight in the fact Blume is their primary target over their mass-data mining, insider trading, and election fraud when lesser targets include drug dealers as well as human traffickers. Then again, Blume is responsible for the 2007 financial crisis.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The NPCs will jump away and scream in shock if you drive by them, while they are on the sidewalk and you are in the middle of the street.
    • Conversely, so long as it's not a restricted area, nobody seems to care about, or even notice, Marcus running through their back yards.
  • Artistic License – Geography: As one may expect this game bit off more than it could chew and doesn't actually depict the entire Bay Area and Silicon Valley. On top of everything being shrunken down, notable areas are missing such as the complete absence of Nob Hill and Golden Gate Park leading right into the Presidio with the entire Richmond neighorhoods missing (The city of Richmond in the East Bay is also gone).
    • The local news channel is WKZ. Stations with codes begining in W are all east of the Mississippi. K used for the rest of the country.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Several characters, particularly Wrench, are quite prone to this when they're angry.
  • Autism in Media: The Human Conditions DLC reveals Josh is on the spectrum. Jonathan Dubsky (his voice actor) researched autism and Asperger's syndrome for the role.
  • Bad Santa: Wrench calls T-Bone this out of endearment after it turns out he helped them steal a crapload of secret Tidis blueprints and designs which he lets them have.
    T-Bone: Ho-ho, Merry Fucking Christmas.
  • Bag of Spilling: Of a sort. Aiden Pearce had all the same ctOS exploits that DedSec had by Clara who was a member, and he gave the exploits he developed to T-Bone who later joins the group. Marcus, however, needs to unlock the skills for himself. This is justified, since Blume has upgraded to ctOS 2.0 and has patched most of the known exploits, which Sitara even laments as DedSec missing the opportunity to do something big.
  • Batman Gambit: Dusan uses nearly every main mission in the game to his advantage.
    • Dušan's first big plan of attack against DedSec involves baiting them into going after big companies and New Dawn through engineering certain situations, from using a thinly-veiled parody in CyberDriver to send them after New Dawn to getting another CTO to announce that Haum 2.0 was hacker-proof. This accomplishes his primary goal of selling ctOS 2.0 to Silicon Valley, giving him even more control over the country.
    • Then there's the !NVite attack, where he manages to goad Marcus out into the open by using fake social media accounts to boost their app download numbers, to get in some Evil Gloating to Marcus and lure him into a trap, where he also reveals that he has engineered most of the events DedSec was using to gain publicity purely so he could sell ctOS to Silicon Valley. This was so effective that it nearly drove the San Francisco DedSec into disbanding!
    • Then there's the Galilei hack. Dear god. Dušan helped the Auntie Shu Boys hack into the Undersea Cables, allowing them to perform insider trading. When DedSec takes them out, Dušan made sure the cable hack was exposed, showing that the Undersea Cables were vulnerable, causing companies to sign up to Blume's faster satellite uplinks instead.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: How Marcus gets some information about New Dawn. He calls the group's Auditor/Inquisitor and impersonates Siska to delay their meeting, before turning up at Siska's apartment as the Auditor and gets Siska to talk about some "Rumors" about the church.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The 2007 Financial Crisis comes up in a quest. It's Blume's fault. More specifically, it was the result of an early Bellwether test to influence trading in an already susceptible market.
  • Betty and Veronica: During a discussion Marcus and Wrench have about Alien vs. Predator, they discuss some of the superheroes that have fought the titular heroes and then come up to Archie of all people, and then Marcus asks if the Predator's a Betty or Veronica. Wrench thinks he's more Sabrina.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: At the end of the Human Resources DLC, Lenni runs off with a case full of nanogenetics. Josh shows up and asks if he can see them. Lenni, having taken a shine to him, lets him. She doesn't notice him using his phone to silently destroy the contents.
  • Big Bad: Dušan Nemec, the Chief Technology Officer of Blume.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Mary Catskills, the CEO of !NVite, although Mary only comes up during the Mark Thruss questline and the beginning of the final mission. It's also shown to be an uneasy alliance with Catskills even getting Nemec's secretary to install a backdoor into Blume's servers for her behind Nemec's back.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Invoked by Dušan, where most of the main questlines are because he's pulling the strings to draw out DedSec. The main villains of each are his business partners or people he's hired, with the exception of New Dawn and the Tezcas.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Actually, the only death among the core group in the game is Horatio who, prior to the arrival of the player character, was the only black dude in the group. His death kicks off a Roaring Rampage of Revenge during Act II.
  • Bland-Name Product: Like the first game, the cars in the game are modified real world cars with fictional names and brands.
  • Body Horror: The takedown you get with the Shuffler outfit lifts the enemy into the air and forces them through a series of absolutely painful-looking contortions for a couple seconds before dropping them to the ground.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Enforcers return from Watch_Dogs as common enemies who resist large amounts of damage from ordinary firearms. Enforcers no longer wear bomb suits and are easier to dispatch, but keep the same battle strategy of slowing advancing towards the player's position while constantly firing a powerful gun. Enforcers can either be men in bulky armor, or obese criminals wearing bulletproof vests, depending on what organization they are affiliated with.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: DedSec runs a pirate radio station that can be heard throughout the Bay Area.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Enemies wearing bulletproof vests can take more damage from firearms than regular enemies. Enforcers who are criminals often wear vests with images that represent their gang, on top of being obese.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Several main quest lines are started after the target directly attacks DedSec via the media, with the counterattack publicly humiliating them. The fights were engineered by Blume to get DedSec to attack them as part of their schemes, making this an invoked trope.
    • New Dawn does this twice - the first time, their shill Jimmy Siska stars in a movie called CyberDriver with the villains being expies of DedSec (Although Marcus and Wrench are more into it because it's a bad movie). The second time, New Dawn DMCA'd DedSec's parody video of the CyberDriver trailer which caused Marcus to help Siska to defect and destroy their "Holy Relics", proving beyond reasonable doubt that New Dawn are conning their followers.
    • Haum's CTO went on TV to boast that Haum 2.0 was completely hackproof then publicly insulting DedSec live on air. If you happen to know the incident with Anonymous and HB Gary Federalnote  you should know what's coming.
    • Lenni installs ransomware onto their servers and, when Marcus speaks to her, demands that they make a video slandering themselves or they'll release member names. Cue DedSec screwing Prime_Eight out of a deal with the Sons of Ragnarok and crashing her Hacker Cave.
    • The FBI is trying to force hackers into working for them via blackmail and intimidation, but then they kidnapped Wrench, beat the shit out of him, and stole his mask. This really ticks off Marcus.
    • The Tezcas kidnapped Horatio, tried to force him to turn on DedSec for them, and stabbed him to death when he refused. Marcus goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, burning several drug shipments for the Tezcas before beating or killing the four Tezca members who killed Horatio.
    • One side operation is based around another group doxxing DedSec. Notably lampshaded in the mission description.
    We're not just going to shut them down, we're going to make sure they get a spanking for their efforts.
  • Call-Back:
    • Iraq's orange vest is actually a purchasable piece of clothing.
    • You can also wear Aiden's clothing.
  • Car Fu: With the override hack, Marcus can control parked cars to mow down anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way. With proper timing and positioning, it's not far-fetched to clear out an entire enemy encampment with nothing but a squadron of remote-controlled battering rams.
  • Catchphrase: "DedSec has given you the truth. Do what you will."
  • Central Theme: The abuse of new technologies by those with power to oppress others, just like the first game. Only it's more of the focus of the plot rather than a Revenge plot. The game does point out that it's not just any Corrupt Corporate Executive that can do this, but rather anyone with even the slightest semblance of power. One Basement Dweller is calling fake terrorist threats against other players online and one overheard phonecall is about a system admin getting fired for stealing a coworker's contact details and harassing her. The upside is explored as well: social media and technology can be used to effect real change for good, and allow anyone to do their bit, even if only in a small way.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The penultimate mission brings back the fan-favorite Spider Tank from the first game. Except it's not a Digital Trip. It's real, it's armed, and in a decade, Blume hopes it'll be ready for combat zones and riot control. The data from players was probably being used to perfect it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A huge drone can be seen hanging from the ceiling of Wrench's garage which you'll visit in the first mission. Much later, Josh uses it to rescue Marcus from the Auntie Shu Boys.
  • Church of Happyology: The New Dawn is a Scam Religion with ties to famous actors who use their influence to ruin others' lives for their own goals. According to others, they're functionally a criminal organization masquerading as a religion.
  • Company Cross References: The taxi service app is called Driver SF. In 2011 Ubisoft released a driving game called Driver: San Francisco.
  • Cool Car: There are plenty of expensive cars for Marcus to purchase on the Car on Demand app, but a special mention has to go to the CHP-AAD that has a special DedSec design on it and animated rear lights. Acquired after the Cyber Driver mission, this car has high stats all around, with good top speed, good acceleraiton, and great traction and durability, with every bar being at max or near max. Other special vehicles can be acquired by finding them throughout San Francisco, like a jeep that's a Shout-Out to Jurassic Park, or can be obtained through DLC like a monster truck.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Gene Carcani is described as having laughed on television about drastically increasing the price of leukemia medicine made by his pharmaceutical company.
    • Most of the villains, actually. Dušan Nemec is a Blume executive and the main Big Bad, Mary Catskills is the CEO of !NVite and is manipulating user data to her own ends and both are rigging an election via hacking and blackmail, Steven Bader is the Chief Technology Officer of Haum and is selling confidential user information to insurance companies for a kickback, a bank is profiting by altering health insurance premiums based on their customers' credit card purchases...
  • Corrupt Politician: Congressman Mark Thruss is involved in a scheme with social media giant !Nvite to influence the voting ballots in his favor and remove evidence of any wrongdoing on his part.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Everybody swears. A lot. Mostly Wrench.
  • Companion Cube: Most technology for Wrench, to the point where Marcus outright tells him it's not healthy, but especially Wrench Jr. When Ray suggests putting an EMP inside of it to attack Tidis, Wrench is furious but begrudgingly goes along with it.
  • The Cracker: In addition to DedSec, there are other hacking groups in the Bay Area who seek to exploit the ctOS for their own gain.
  • Creator Career Self-Deprecation: One of the side quests is based around Marcus leaking information about a new game by Ubisoft, acknowledging some of their own real games which were leaked.
    Elliott Chennote : I can assure you, there’s no way the trailer’s getting out.
    Female Boss: Can you? Can you assure me? After what happened with Unity, Syndicate, Osiris?
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Aiden Pearce is confirmed to have shut down a human trafficking ring in Watch Dogs 1 (Which was a side quest chain in the first game), and, judging by the team's reactions to him, he canonically avoided civilian casualties.
  • Cutting the Knot: If you're patient, or just happen to be looking around in the right places, you can bring a scissor jack to some of the pickup points around the map and circumvent the maze/hacking challenge in some of them by just using the jack to get high enough to reach the pickup. This mostly works on the ones on roofs as they often have a challenge to get up to them but are otherwise unguarded.
  • Cyborg: Lenni, the leader of Prime_Eight, is a biohacking enthusiast and has a hacking device embedded into her arm.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: To enter the NetHack view, you have to click in the right stick. If you do this while in a vehicle, it just shows you the rear view, so you can't normally enter NetHack view while driving, except for if you're driving a special truck that allows you to do so. Problem is, clicking the right stick still shows you the rear view, so to enter NetHack view while driving this special truck, you have to click in the left stick instead (which normally honks the horn).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Wrench's words are usually dripping with sarcasm and snark.
  • Death from Above: A high level upgrade allows Marcus' Quadcopter to carry and drop electroshock devices and IEDs on enemies.
  • Denser and Wackier: Safe to say, this game doesn't take itself nearly as seriously as its predecessor and has more wacky situations and comedic moments in it.
  • Developer's Foresight: In "Power to the Sheeple", Wrench sets up a zipline for you to use to escape a highrise while music plays dramatically in the background If you don't use the zipline, he calls Marcus to express his disappointment.
  • Dirty Cops:
  • Do-Anything Robot: The RC Jumper, which is capable of doing pretty much anything Marcus can other than using firearms. It can hack, distract enemies, somehow carry away objects several times its size, and an upgrade allows it to plant bombs. Its small size also enables it to be much more stealthy than Marcus — after all, it's not like he can squeeze himself under a car. One story objective subverts this which involves a circuit board that Marcus notes is way too large for the Jumper to handle, forcing him to deliver and install it at the destination by himself.
  • Don't Answer That When Marcus and T-Bone confront Dušan, there's a phone in the background that keeps ringing. No one actually goes to answer it, but Marcus provides plenty of suggestions on who's on the other end like his lawyer warning him there's nowhere left to run or the police telling him to surrender. Either way, he's basically told Dušan that no matter what he does next; He's fucked.
  • Drone Deployer: Marcus can make drones to not only spy on people, but also to use for long-distance hacks and attacks.

  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The Big Bad Dusan Nemec is the jogger Marcus had a little chat while drunk after the introductory mission.
    • Lenni from Prime_Eight can be found in the Swelter Skelter festival.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Downplayed with the Marin DedSec hackerspace you take over from Prime_Eight. While much larger than the other hackerspaces, it still has the same range of amenities the other hackerspaces have.
  • Elite Mook: Some mooks in the harder DLC missions are equipped with jamming technology, preventing you from using any hacking within a certain radius around them. You have to disable their jamming first before you can use any hacks near them.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: During the final mission, you get to play as Wrench, who has all the best weapons in the game and unlimited ammo for all of them. Even if you've unlocked all of said guns yourself, Marcus can only carry a maximum of two at a time.
  • Enemy Civil War: Enemy gangs can be baited to fight each other with a skill, and can even fight without Marcus' interventionnote 
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Miranda is not happy when Marcus tells her he's with DedSec as a lot of people she personally knows wants to see the group in jail, but she co-operates with him to take on New Dawn.
    • Lenni, from rival Hacker group Prime_Eight, teams up with DedSec in the DLC, Human Conditions, to help take down a company experimenting on the homeless so she can steal their nanotech for herself.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • DedSec do not tolerate internet trolls, especially those who put innocent lives at risk. One side quest is Marcus going after a recent recruit who's been SWATting to get an advantage at Rainbow Six Siege.
    • It's implied by Josh and Wrench that hacking hospitals and then using ransomware or just hacking hospitals in general is a line that most hackers wouldn't dare to cross. note 
  • Evil Is Cool: In-Universe: Sitara compiles a DedSec-themed package aimed at kids to help them stay safe online, along with discussing with Marcus if kids like DedSec.
  • Experience Points: This takes the form of how many subscribers Marcus racks up on DedSec's social media accounts. The justification is that this represents how many people will be downloading the DedSec app on their phone, which helps create a cloud database that they draw from.
  • Expy:
    • DedSec remains from the last game as one of Anonymous.
    • Nudle is an obvious stand-in for Google, and has a map system that can be used by Marcus. However, both Blume and Haum were also stand-in for Google due to operating system monopoly and smart house specialty, respectively.
    • !NVite is a harsh take on social media services such as Facebook and Twitter.
    • Gallilei is one for Tesla, both being tech companies named after the surnames of prominent scientists.
    • Swelter Skelter is this world's Burning Man.
    • Cyber Driver is the Watch_Dogs equivalent of Knight Rider, including having a Cool Car that talks.
    • Driver SF is basically Uber, being an app that you can use to call someone nearby as an impromptu cabbie.
    • The Church of the New Dawn is clearly a stand-in for The Church of Scientology. DedSec even launches a campaign against them to expose them as frauds similar to how Anonymous did in 2008.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Dušan meets Marcus in the !NVite building which Marcus breaks into. He's in a Big Bad Duumvirate with Mary Catskill, !NVite's CEO.
    • The news reports that will play on the UI are usually either showing the fallout of DedSec operations such as tagging the Golden Gate bridge or bringing up characters and plot points from future missions for example Miranda's feud with New Dawn, the FBI's plans for hackers and the increasing violence of the Tezcas.
    • Early in the game, you might notice that of all the side missions Marcus can receive from the hackerspace, none of them comes from Horatio. That's because he'll be killed halfway through the game.
    • When you arrive a Swelter Skelter, you hear a very familliar voice announcing the Hacking Challenge that ends the sequence. Sure enough Raymond Kenney shows up in the following cut scene and joins the team. You can also see several of Ray's booby traps around the area.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • After dropping the Distract hack on a NPC (which triggers a notification on their phone), it's perfectly possible to pull a gun/Taser and take them out without them so much as glancing up, even if Marcus is standing five feet in front of them.
    • This is optional in one of the Driver SF missions, where the client is a woman dealing with the aftermath of a mission in the game who, during the journey rants about DedSec for a while. It is possible to perform this mission in a vehicle such as CHIP, which is covered in DedSec Grafiti, without her noticing or commenting at all.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • A Batman Gambit by Blume nearly forced San Francisco DedSec into disbanding.
    • From Blume's point of view, DedSec taking down Dušan has not only forced them to shift the blame on him, but ctOS took a big blow in public trust and prompted DedSec to go global, with several divisions in different countries, including England.
  • Funny Background Event: If Marcus is taking a selfie, the pedestrians that pass by may strike a pose in the background.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • DedSec is quite concerned about their reputation, and even have an obnoxious SWAT-er arrested because he was associating himself with them. Yet, there are no negative consequences to bad behavior in-game. There's nothing stopping Marcus from tossing IED's into traffic, gunning down security guards in order to complete his objectives, massacring cops, or starting Bay-wide police chases. Just like in the first game, it's also perfectly acceptable to steal money from people's bank accounts... the same people who you want to protect from spying corporations. In fact, the karma system the first game (where if Aiden's reputation was low enough, civilians would call the police on him) has been removed.
    • Marcus and the rest of DedSec condemn a member who swats other people playing Rainbow Six Siege. Marcus gaining the ability to hack someone's profile to make them a high value target for the gangs or the police (Up to and including SWAT teams) never goes mentioned.
    • Midway through the game, DedSec learn that a bunch of their followers and bots are fake, being set up by Nemec as part of a plan to discredit them, and he removes these followers once it succeeds. Despite followers being the game's equivalent to XP and progression, you do not suffer any loss of your unlocked skills afterwards.
    • Similarly, after this point Marcus' CtOS profile is restored and he becomes a wanted fugitive, but this never has any impact on the gameplay whatsoever, and you're still able to walk around San Fransisco as you please. Admittedly, having the entire map become a restricted area would be annoying, but you can still stand directly in front of police officers who won't lift a finger to arrest you.
    • The example of Failed a Spot Check above is most likely a case of this; the mission was simply not scripted to have alternate dialogue if you used a DedSec branded car.
  • Gangbangers: Several street gangs such as The 580's, the Auntie Shu Boys, and the Tezcas are involved in a struggle for control of the criminal underworld across the Bay Area. They can also be used to your advantage with an upgrade that lets you pin enemies as targets for nearby gangsters.
  • Gayborhood: Naturally, since the game takes place in San Francisco, the Castro is featured in the game's map.
  • Good Is Not Nice:
    • DedSec as a whole are rather rude and mean, but they are an Anti-Hero Team. That said, Marcus can still be a terrible person, murdering civilians, causing tons of property damage, and generally being a dick.
    • Wrench, who is rude, crude and more than a little unstable, but still a Nice Guy to the rest of the crew.
  • Good Name For A Rock Band: Discussed in an interceptable conversation, due to a record label disliking the band name "This Bullshit".
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Using Distraction on a guard who hasn't noticed Marcus always makes them pull out their phone, right then and there.
  • Guide Dang It!: During the Bottom Dollar side mission, the game doesn't point out how to alter a user's bank account. Until you figure out that the left side creates a positive event while the right side does something negative, you would either be looking at a user while doing nothing, or accidentally destroy half a foreign student's funding or delete someone's entire bank account.
    • The entirety of "The Shuffler" sidequest, wherein it's nigh impossible for players to proceed, much less trigger the whole thing, by accident. In short, it involves snapping four randomly-shaped mystical-looking glyph in fixed locations can only be seen with hacker vision (it shows what vaguely looks like a grinning face without it), use the notes in the Hackerspace to decode the glyph as a time, and then go to an almost completely unmarked area before the exact time to trigger the apparition due to the narrow time window.
  • Hard-Work Montage: One takes place with Marcus, Josh, Sitara and Wrench fixing up and customising the CyberDriver car.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Downplayed in comparison to its predecessor, in which Aiden and T-Bone would keep all of their equipment at the ready. Marcus can only keep a fairly realistic two primary weapons on him, alongside his stun gun, his RC car, his drone, and some throwables. He also wears a laptop bag, which naturally holds the laptop he uses for some of his hacks and equipment.
  • I Know Your True Name:
    • One side operation involves finding out who doxxed several DedSec members before they release the information. Once Marcus finds out it was Prime_Eight, and that they're planning to hijack the airwaves to broadcast the names on public radio, he swaps the DedSec list with one on the hackers themselves.
    • A serious problem in the story later on, since Marcus' ctOS profile was restored by Dušan and there was a warrant put out with his name on it, although not long after, it's erased once again by T-Bone.
  • Interface Spoiler: After a new story mission pops up, it's clear from the header image and title that it won't be pleasant and happy given that it's titled "EYE FOR AN EYE" with a bloodied and smashed phone on top of it being unlocked after Marcus is told that Horatio went missing, which is followed by his death.
  • Ironic Echo: Marcus was falsely accused by a crime prediction system. By the end of the plot, at a minimum, he’s guilty of several similar crimes. At worst (depending on the player’s style), he’s guilty of a ton of crimes including many, many capital offenses.
  • Irony: Rather funnily, the game that the SWATTing Basement Dweller is playing in the side mission to get rid of him (by breaching into his own house with a SWAT team) is Ubisoft's own Rainbow Six Siege, a game all about breaching with special forces.
  • It Belongs in a Museum: Said word for word by Marcus in a video log during the False Profits mission regarding New Dawn's Sumerian tablets kept in the basement of their temple. He still wants to touch them, though. When he learns they're fake however, he decides to destroy them and uses the footage in their campaign video.
  • It Amused Me: The ''CyberDriver'' mission sequence doesn't really have any strong motive besides the fact that the trailer demeans hackers in general as helpless script-kiddies, only with Marcus suggesting making their own version as a stunt.
  • Jump Scare: When you start the game, the Ubisoft logo sequence plays as normal... Until it's abruptly interrupted by DedSec's hacking.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: How Marcus gets Lenni's Bunker RFID tag. Lenni, hacker-troll extraordinaire, would know instantly that Marcus is waving his phone around for that reason so she refuses to let him near her. She doesn't even notice Wrench on the roof with a long-range scanner.
  • Kosher Nostra: The Bratva are Russian gangsters on the surface, but many members are Jewish as well. The Bratva and the Sons of Ragnarok are stated to be at war with each other due to the Sons' ties with neo-Nazi elements.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In one mission Marcus remarks that everyone loves a vigilante, while Josh responds that public opinion is actually pretty mixed on them, a not-so-subtle reference to the previous instalment's protagonist as well as the mixed reception he got.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Telling from Marcus's garb, "The Fox" has become an idol for any form of Anti-Hero hacker. Judging from Aiden's one appearance in game, he is a legend for his exploits in the previous game, not to mention infamous among people who profited from Lucky Quinn.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Two abilities allow you to sic gang members or the police on an unlucky target, which beyond screwing with random citizens is useful for provoking different factions into fighting each other, which can potentially clear out an entire restricted area at minimal risk to yourself.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than 1. As opposed to being the story of a lone vigilante seeking revenge against criminal psychopaths, Watch_Dogs 2 has the more reasonable Marcus help free the masses from the corporations tying the Bay Area down. DedSec is shown to be an Anti-Hero Team and a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
  • The Mafiya: The "Bratva" are minor antagonists encountered in a few missions, such as working with crooked cops on a drug deal and imprisoning Aiden Pearce in a side operation. The Human Condition DLC has Marcus fighting against the Russian Mafia.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything:
    • Marcus is the field operative to DedSec so he's usually doing the field work, but this is subverted. Everyone chips in on hacking the CyberDriver car, there are other DedSec members who provide software hacks and recon for Marcus (one even gets Marcus a disguise for a New Dawn mission. In fact, during the final mission, once Marcus' arrest warrant is upgraded to federal and it becomes unfeasible for him to leave the hackerspace, Sitara and Wrench do field ops with Marcus as support and Josh 3D prints a few dozen masks to fool the ctOS scan.
    • In a sense, this is reconstructed since the police and Blume are focusing too much on looking for Marcus that they don't even notice or consider the other members of DedSec.
  • MegaCorp: The Tidis Corporation, Umeni, and Blume reappear from the first game, with headquarters located in Silicon Valley, along with newcomers such as Nudle and !NVite, who are internet services.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • After Marcus and Wrench have a surprisingly sad conversation, we get this exchange.
      Marcus: You know it's gonna be a hell of a fight turning 'em back into people.
      Wrench: Fuckin' A, man.
    • The questline involving Horatio's death and Marcus' near death experience with the Bratva are pretty serious. After all of those is done, the story goes back to the usual lighthearted, wacky hijinks.
  • Mushroom Samba: The team meets T-Bone during Swelter Skelter while getting high on shrooms.
  • Murder by Remote Control Vehicle: It's possible to acquire the ability to gain basic directional control (forward, backwards, left or right) over any vehicle, and while this doesn't allow for full control, it does turn every single parked car into a battering ram Marcus can use to flatten any enemies unfortunate enough to be standing nearby.
  • Naked Apron: A guy at the Swelter Skelter festival wears one of these. He's fairly normal-looking, so how attractive it is depends on personal taste.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Played with in-story for pure laughs: an early mission has you stealing an Expy of the Knight Rider car. Cue a massive chase through the city, with the car carrying on an actual conversation with Marcus. Marcus is gushing about the idea of such an advanced AI actually existing... Until he notices a certain masked troll solemnly shaking his head, and realizes that Wrench had hacked the speaker in the car and had been taking the piss out of him.
  • Nice Guy: Marcus, and, to a lesser extent, Wrench.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The early operations in the game were engineered by Blume to trick Silicon Valley into buying into ctOS 2.0, giving Blume greater control over the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Dušan testing Bellwether and other Blume resources by manipulating the stock market gets him thrown in prison at the end, and (with the current patch) inspired new DedSec and other hacktivist groups worldwide!.
    • The plan by a group of hackers to publish a dox on DedSec would have succeeded had they not decided to test their release method by hacking payphones.
    • Also Dušan exposing how he'd been playing Ded Sec for the first part of the game does almost cause them to disband, but it also prompts them to go to Swelter Skelter, where they encounter Raymond 'T-Bone' Kenney, one of the most dangerous enemies Blume has. Furthermore he is directly responsible for Ded Sec finding out about the satellite backbone, toppling Tidis' plans for a robot army and Mark Thuss' campaign.
    • DedSec do not appear to be actively in conflict with the Tezcas before they kidnap and murder Horatio, afterwards several high ranking gang members are dead and DedSec's retaliation costs them a lot of money through destroying their pot field, wrecking one of their shipments and ruining their dog fights.
  • Nitro Boost: Present as a "CtOS engine override", and is powered by Marcus' botnet resources.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Some of the buskers act in a similar manner to the World Famous Bushman, hiding behind leafy branches and scaring passing pedestrians.
    • Mark Thruss is a combination between 2016 US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump... which, as with !NVite, are both depicted very harshly.
    • Mary Catskill, the CEO of !NVite, appearance and outfit greatly suggest she is based on Hillary Clinton. Ironically she is the one having the affair when in real life it was her husband that was accused of being in one.
    • Gene Carcani is an obvious one of Martin Shkreli, down to being described as "the most hated man in America".
    • The Tezcas are a rough equivalent to the real-life Zeta Cartel (the main difference is that the former are Gangbangers rather than a proper cartel), with whom Anonymous had a disastrous feud with. Here, it's the hacktivists that beat the violent criminals.
  • No-Gear Level: A mission in the No Compromise DLC has Marcus ambushed, knocked out, and his drones and guns taken away. Unfortunately for your captors, they didn't take your phone or melee weapon...
  • Not Me This Time:
    • Why Marcus went after an internet troll - he SWATted streamers he was playing Rainbow Six Siege against and claimed it was a DedSec operation.
    • A DLC mission has the Bratva try to take revenge against DedSec for screwing over one of their operations by decorating several vehicles with a DedSec motif and planned to use them in a major crime and let the police do the rest concerning on who was responsible. The goal of this task is to destroy all the vehicles.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In the side mission that involves getting rid of a malicious SWATting Basement Dweller, Marcus takes care of him by giving 911 a call and make them think that a crime is going on in his house. This includes making the man shout out death threats at his game, making one of his charging electronics explode, and making him scream with a Jump Scare, which are interpreted by the 911 operator respectively as a criminal shouting death threats at his victim, a gunshot, and a scream from the female victim.

  • Oh, Crap!: Several, used to various effect.
    • Played straight:
      • When it's revealed that Ded Sec had been played by Blume and that a full quarter of its followers were bots under the CTO's control - and that Marcus himself was back to being a known and wanted person - Marcus has a massive Oh, Crap! moment at the realization.
    • Played for laughs:
      • The CEO of Haum has one - on air no less - when his bragging about Haum 2.0 turns into a disaster when it's revealed DedSec already broke it.
      • During Swelter Skelter, meeting up with Wrench at the Thunderdome leads to a short discourse about the role of the "little guy" in a fight, and that while it's usually to provide an inspirational "overcome obstacles" story, in this case the little guy is going to get clobbered. Talking to him again leads to the dropping of a very emphatic Oh, Crap! as apparently the little guy gets totaled.
  • Pædo Hunt: One of the side missions is Marcus hunting down and exposing a pedophile who is getting away through his connections to Haum.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • As a very literal example, there are dogs that Marcus can pet in the city.
    • After completing the New Dawn quest to attack their compound you can hear guards talking about how one of their friends, a member, has quit due to the DedSec hack and their plans to help him hide from the church.
    • Dušan prevented the FBI from sending Wrench to Guantánamo Bay and got him released. While he did have his motives, that was still above and beyond the call.
  • Player Headquarters: The DedSec hackerspaces around the Bay Area serve as these, allowing Marcus to print new equipment and weapons, changing the clothing he wears or resting to change the time of day.
  • Point of No Return: You have to confirm you want to enter the final main mission of the game before you begin it. Subverted in the 1.0.8 patch, as you can replay this mission as many times as you like.
  • Police Brutality: Wrench is beaten in the FBI's custody.
    • One mission focuses on Oakland PD using ctOS to flag themselves as undercover, thereby preventing the system from reporting on their activities. One of many activities under their newfound lack of oversight is abducting and executing political enemies.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: This game has a noticeably more optimistic atmosphere as opposed to the first game.
  • Precision F-Strike: When DedSec knocks out a power plant in South Korea, the plant supervisor has a panicked monologue in Korean. The last line, in English, is an emphatic "we're fucked."
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Aiden Pearce can be aided in escaping capture at one point in the game by distracting a guard on his cell. He doesn't talk, and never meets Marcus in person, but the way he's talked about certainly leaves an impression.
  • Private Military Contractors:
    • Umeni security contractors appear as enemies. Like the ctOS guards in the first game, some of them seem to have shady histories.
    • Tidis is also working on government contracts to design Killer Robots capable of being deployed to warzones and riots.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Apparently, Assassin's Creed: Osiris got leaked in the past few years.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Team appears to have this going, with many different looks, including Wrench, who wears a digital mask.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: The Ghost Signals side operation is based around this trope, the premise being the NSA putting out a signal to lure hackers into chasing it down and recruiting the successful ones under threat of arrest.
    • Ultimately subverted as Marcus recognizes the ploy. Instead he deletes the logs of himself and the other two successful hackers at the end of the test.
  • Red Herring: During the initiation party on a Marin beach for Marcus joining DedSec, Dusan shows up asking for the time and gets his hands on Marcus’ phone just long enough to perhaps slip something nefarious on it to show up later in the game— But nevermind because Marcus soon, for no other reason than drunken frustration, hurls his phone right into the Pacific.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Many of the missions are based off of the exploits of Anonymous and other semi-recent events, albeit with more flair. Has its own page now.
  • Ringer Ploy: Not seen, but DedSec enlists numerous people to pull this when Marcus is targeted by Homeland Security. Their ctOS profiles are altered to look like Marcus' and Josh prints masks to fool facial recognition; there are over seventy fake Marcuses running around San Francisco before they're finished.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Tezcas quest line is started after they murder Horatio, with this being the sole reason why DedSec goes after them.
  • Searching the Stalls: When Marcus goes to meet up with Josh on his way to destroy some to-be-corrupted voting ballot machines, he finds his fellow DedSec member hiding inside a portable toilet, skittish and concerned about the snipers on the roof of Fort Point. Josh even tries to talk Marcus into occupying the stall with him in order to help get him out of the line of fire; something which Marcus refuses to do.
  • Sensory Abuse: Lenni's ransomware virus which infects the Hackerspace is very jittery and loud. Josh is particularly upset about it, to the point where he considers it personal.
  • Sequel Escalation:
    • Unlike in the original game, hacking into certain vehicles now enables the player to hack into their computer systems and veer them off into a direction of your choosing.
    • Players can now make use of drones during a mission, allowing for long-distance hacks by which a mission can be completed without Marcus even having to set foot in a restricted area.
    • There's more than one way to complete a mission. You can utilize hacking skills to manipulate your foes, send in drones and complete the job from a relatively safe area, or even just rush in with guns blazing.
    • Multiplayer has gone into a straight-up online Wide-Open Sandbox, with players able to cooperate as well as face off, allowing for missions to be done by two players rather than one.
  • Sequel Hook: An extended ending was added some time after launch which revealed that there are new DedSec cells popping up all over the world, as well as coordinates that hinted that the next game would be set in England, and indeed, it was.note 
  • Sequence Breaking: Whereas the original game was more linear, this game has missions that can be completed in any order. Some can even be skipped and the story can still be completed.
  • Shout-Out: So many it has its own page now. But then again, what else did you expect from a bunch of nerds?
  • Shown Their Work: The developers took the time and effort to be careful about what code shows up in front of your eyes in-game, such as the cutscenes and the laptops in the hacker-spaces, to the point the game actually avoids falling into the Hollywood Hacking trap of showing unrelated (often very wrong) code that's used whenever you see anything code-related happening. A lot of the terminal commands the Dedsec crew use to execute hacker-things are based on legitimate terminal terminology, as well as making use of Debian Linux commands that are at least based on real commands and file paths (albeit modified for gameplay purposes), which makes the hacking experience come across as more genuine. To wit, the epilepsy warning screen is a good example, and has a code scrawl that references the "Ext4-fs" filesystem (the default used by Linux OS's), correctly identifying it as "sda1" (the disk/ partition naming scheme in a file table), and also using the less-common name for Windows OS's filesystem; "FUSE" instead of the more common "NTFS".
  • Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer: Even when playing solo, Co-op missions are surprisingly addictive. Not helped by the fact that they give large amount of XP upon completion.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The main reason Lenni hates DedSec? She thinks they're criminals who hide behind the idea that they're "Fighting for the people", completely blind to the fact that yes, they really are good guys. She's in it for herself and thinks she's better than them because she admits to being the criminal she thinks they're too afraid to admit they are.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Similar to the experience points, this is also justified - you're allocating Research Points whenever you level up or find gear that can be reverse-engineered out in the field. These are 'Spent' by getting the other DedSec members to work on improving the designs and creating exploits that you can use, such as improving the shock pistol's range or unlocking ctOS hacks. Also, skills are locked behind gear you find out in the field during missions since you haven't been able to look for exploits in that system yet.
  • Smug Snake:
    • One of Horatio's coworkers boasts that he has him dead to rights as a DedSec member who hacked into their employers' servers thanks to a keylogger he put on his computer, and gloats to him about it before reporting him to HR. DedSec take him down a peg by framing him for Horatio's hack.
    • A lot of the villains believe themselves to be untouchable, as they are heads of corporations, government officials or violent criminals who believe they can scare the local hacktivists into compliance, and almost undoubtedly end up getting their asses handed to them by DedSec. Dušan Nemec [[spoiler uses most of these morons for his own ends, but he is left speechless when Marcus exposes his insider trading at the end.]]
  • Soft Water: Played fully straight, you can jump off the top of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge and land in the water with no damage.
  • Spider Tank: While infiltrating Tidis, Marcus comes a cross a giant robot spider armed with miniguns and a taser that he controls to destroy everything he finds.
  • Standard Snippet: DedSec uses Ode To Joy as their calling card.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Cyberdriver trailer is a godawful slew of brainless action movie cliches and technobabble. Marcus predicts that the movie itself is going to be terrible if those were the best scenes they could find for the trailer.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The Social Engineering skill tree lets you summon nearby Gangbangers or cops to deal with enemies by pinning them as targets/criminals. Upgrading them increases the power of the unit summoned up to Enforcers and SWAT units.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Marcus often finds himself listening to music or DedSec's radio while on missions, often leading to this. The Variable Mix of the soundtrack counts as this, but some more specific examples include "Turbo Lover" playing as DedSec takes the modified CyberDriver car for a joyride, or "The Day Is My Enemy" being used as you pilot the Spider Tank.
  • Take That!:
    • A lot of the missions target specific controversies and the people who sparked them, with DedSec's intervention generally coming off as karmic.
    • During the Ubisoft mission, when Marcus asks the others what is the one thing gaming sites want more than anything else, Josh answers "to be considered journalists".
    • Each variant of the sandals and socks clothing option is named after a city in the North Bay (The collective name for the counties from San Francisco north to about Napa). Take of that what you will.
    • Some of the phone status's for NPC's that you can snoop on come off as jabs, things like "Attends Furry Conventions".
  • Take Our Word for It:
    • Marcus is listening to the woman running against Thruss making a speech. We don't hear any of it but it's clear she's got his vote.
    • We never get any information as to why DedSec is against Thruss aside from the fact that !NVite is supporting him. They state he is just a face in a cheap suit, but never describe what policies or platforms he is for that they are against. He doesn't even start going after them until they start attacking him first.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Marcus indirectly does this with a man whose reputation is seemingly irreparably ruined by his whistleblowing attempts. After buying time by triggering his phone to call his secretary, he discovers a number of a journalist who the man was working with, and sends a ton of evidence to her. She calls the man in excitement telling him that there's enough to clear his name, which convinces him to walk away. If you do this in the wrong order however...
  • Tattooed Crook:
    • Wrench has tattoos all over his arms.
    • Lenni is first met by Marcus while she's getting an ultra-violet skull tattoo.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: The Auntie Shu Boys, who are the local Chinese mafia.
  • Thought Crime: A pharmaceutical company has been firing employees for having alleged ties with DedSec, which turned out to be that they had looked up the term on a search engine. DedSec is rightfully furious and go after them as a result.
  • Unperson: The tutorial mission is Marcus hacking into ctOS and deleting his own profile. It's undone by Dušan, who also puts out a warrant when he does so. And then not long after, redone by T-Bone after Marcus and friends meeting T-Bone at the Swelter Skelter.
  • Undying Loyalty: Don't ever think that members of DedSec won't face a beating, jail time or even death to protect each other because they absolutely will! Ask Horatio in regards to that last one.
  • Upper-Class Twit: The Nudle employees.
  • Urban Legend:
    • Marcus hunts down someone who claims to be the Zodiac Killer throughout San Francisco in the Zodiac Killer DLC.
    • A fictional one was silently introduced in a patch: An interdimensional creature known as The Shuffler, supposedly connected with the disappearance of four college students. Nothing in the game points it out. Unless you read about it online or stumble across some Shuffler graffiti and photograph it, you can easily overlook it. If you look at the graffiti in hacker vision, it will turn into a symbol. If you find all four and write them down, then translate them from a piece of paper posted above Josh's desk, the correct arrangement will be a randomized piece of military time. Snap a photo of a certain nondescript wall at the correct time and you'll earn a new outfit that gives you a gruesome takedown move after a disturbing cutscene.
  • V8 Engine Noises: A variation; cars in this game all have the kind of engine noise you’d expect from them. The moment you apply a vehicle hack to them however, they become significantly more powerful sounding.
  • Very Special Episode: While most of the mission dialogues are humorous, the quest to take down an Internet Troll responsible for a number of Swatting incidents has barely contained contempt for the guy shown from DedSec member involved. Considering how easy, illegal and dangerous this is, of course it should be treated seriously.
  • Villain Has a Point: Several missions have it to where we find out Blume is working with insurance companies to raise the bills in certain areas to force the people to move out. Terribly and slimy yes. However the areas in question are filled with gangs that turned parts of the neighborhood into no go zones, which justifies their actions to want to get these people to leave.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • Dusan Nemec, the CTO of Blume, first meets Marcus on his morning run. He also does Yoga during an early scene.
    • Marcus confronts Lenni at her favorite hangout... which just so happens to be a gay bar in the Castro.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Marcus and Sitara. She also has a frosty relationship with T-Bone.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • You can choose not to use lethal force on a mission, or in the entire game at all.
    • You can help people in predicaments without requiring them to be (potential) crime victims.
    • One mission has you hacking ATMs, and you can choose to reward the people using the ATMs with money (or take their money away).
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Given that the reputation-based Karma Meter from the first game has been done away with, Marcus is free to use his hacking abilities to become an absolute menace to San Fransisco, without any consequences whatsoever. Unlucky NPCs can be electrocuted, spied on, ran over, blown up, robbed, framed for murder or terrorism or even get gunned down by gang hit squads, just because you can.
  • Weather Dissonance: The game's San Francisco is unnaturally scarce with the city's trademark fog. From a Watsonian perspective the game is set in spring/summer 2016 when California was just coming off the end of a drought while the Doylist explanation is that the devs put a lot of work into fog including patching in a specific "San Francisco Fog" graphical option for the PC but just couldn't quite nail it.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • Wrench is arrested by the FBI and given an offer to walk free if he sells out DedSec. He didn't do it, despite the threat that he could be sent to Guantanamo Bay.
    • Horatio was under the same predicament, only he was murdered by the Tezcas for refusing.
  • Yes-Man: One phone conversation has a corporate manager complaining about all the yes men in his offices. The man on the other end of the phone simply agrees with everything he says.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: One of Horatio's coworkers in Nudle complimented him for being "so wellspoken", seriously offending him.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Comes up in the final mission in Sitara's playable segment. Mary Catskills has been having an affair with Dusan's secretary in order to commit corporate espionage and give her backdoor access to Blume's servers, even pointing out that his career in the tech industry is completely over if he's ever found out and how, even if she wanted to, her lawyers would never allow a corporate spy to work for her. She's still willing to hire him, though.
  • You Have Researched Breathing:
    • You unlock new selfie gestures by snapping pictures at ScoutX locations.
    • For Marcus to be able to take off his glasses, he have to discover and solve an urban legend themed sidequest, because the clothing set that has him not wearing glasses is unlocked upon the completion of said sidequest.


Video Example(s):


Aliens vs. Predator vs. Etc.

Marcus and Wrench discuss who would win in a fight between Aliens and Predator. And Judge Dredd. And Batman. And Archie.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / CavemenVsAstronautsDebate

Media sources: