By Tommy Robbins. As expected, Ubisoft has gone public with plans to release a second installment to the Watch Dogs franchise. Unexpectedly, however, the announcement is really exciting.

Ubisoft’s announcement showcases a ton of much needed changes for the franchise, chiefly an all-new, all-relevant location for Watch Dogs 2: sunny San Francisco. The Golden Gate City promises to be a more interesting and appropriate setting than the shockingly hollow Chicago from the previous entry, and it’s a more pertinent one too, what with the prohibitive $4500 rents because of its swelling tech industry, and Watch Dogs being a game about militant hackers undermining societal infrastructure, etc etc. Commentary!

But the really exciting news, especially for those who have played the original, is that Watch Dogs 2 will feature a protagonist who won’t put you to sleep.

Ubisoft has trashed that all but silent lump of flesh and trench coat, Aiden Pearce, in exchange for a new, livelier central character. Marcus Holloway, a racially profiled and falsely convicted kid from Oakland, CA who happens to be a prodigy hacker and parkour expert, is tired of the injustices surrounding him in his day-to-day life. Using his talents and teaming up with the infamous hacking network, DedSec, Marcus aims to bring down the systems that oppress him and those he loves.

Ok… maybe Ubisoft went a little heavy on the symbolism with their creation of this guy, but I promise you nobody is going to miss Aiden Pearce. Welcome Mr. Holloway. I am.

From Ubisoft.

From Ubisoft.

Aside from addressing the dire need for a more dynamic character, Ubisoft has addressed pretty much everything that made Watch Dogs a sub-par franchise introduction. The developers seem to be in touch with the faults of the original (and Ubisoft’s open world games in general) and have a pleasantly self-aware attitude towards fixing them.

From Ubisoft’s press release:

Instead of unlocking towers, you’ll discover stories and rewards as you explore and interact with the world.”

“’Watch Dogs 2′ is a connected experience (though you won’t need an internet connection to play). We’ve taken everything you’ve liked from the original and expanded upon it to create a more seamless and complete online experience.”

With this new installment, we’re giving you a more meaningful story, a dynamic protagonist, a denser new setting, deeper hacking possibilities, rewarding world activities, and more accessible vehicle handling. We’re grateful to our community for showing us the limits of what we’d created and where we needed to expand for ‘Watch Dogs 2’.”

‘Watch Dogs 2’ won’t bore you to tears on November 15.

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