Was WATCH_DOGS 2’s Ensemble Originally Supposed To Be Fully Playable?

WATCH_DOGS 2 stars an ensemble cast of five characters: The social media artist Sitara, the destructive semi-psycho wrench, the autistic hacker whiz Josh, the tactical and logistics guy Ratio, and the protagonist Marcus (alias Retr0, but that codename gets used pretty sparsely) who, as Player One, is good at everything. They also eventually pick up an aging hacker Raymond Kenney at a Burning Man knock-off. During the finale, you play as Sitara and Wrench briefly before resuming control of Marcus for the finale’s finale.

And I wonder: Was this originally supposed to be more of a thing? The game’s upgrades are split into three different tags, “Aggressor,” “Trickster,” and “Ghost.” And these map pretty well to the three most prominent non-Marcus characters: Wrench to Aggressor is a super obvious connection to make, and Sitara as Trickster and Josh as Ghost also line up pretty well (admittedly, I’ have no idea’m not confident what the Trickster playstyle is supposed to actually be, like, mechanically – its upgrades revolve around hacking vehicles and drones, but that doesn’t add up to a fully functional playstyle unless you have most of the upgrades unlocked). Ratio (spoiler warning) dies halfway through the game, which means he doesn’t appear in any of the side missions which can occur before or after the story mission that kills him, which means he’s by far the least developed of the group.

And other Ubisoft games in development before and after used a similar concept. In Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, released the year before, the two protagonists have some max-level abilities only available ot one or the other of them, not both, with Evie having some max-level sneaking powers while Jacob has some max-level combat powers. In Watch Dogs: Legion, different procedurally generated characters have different procedurally selected traits, abilities, and gear. Maybe there was a version of WATCH_DOGS 2 where Marcus was the Mario, with broad access to all skills but no top-tier abilities, and Wrench, Sitara, and Josh were locked out of most or all of each other’s skillsets but had access to high-end abilities in exchange. Ratio would’ve been the voice with an internet connection giving briefings and such, a position the game as it exists rotates around all the ensemble cast instead, and Raymond Kenney would’ve taken over the briefing role after Ratio was killed (or this might’ve been a version of the plot where Ratio isn’t killed – his death is an unskippable main story mission, but narratively it’s episodic and could be removed entirely without affecting anything else). I could even see Raymond Kenney, as a late addition to the group who’s considerably more experienced, potentially having been at some stage of development an unlockable super-character with access to all skills.

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