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Ordinary civilians will go about their daily lives doing fairly ordinary activities such as using their phones, enjoying a meal, or having an affectionate moment with their partner. Occasionally, beggars can be seen at the sides of streets. Civilians can also be seen doing more recreational activities such as yoga, playing sports such as football/soccer, fishing, and even doing magic tricks. They will start to run away if the player bumps into them, equips or shoots a weapon, drives a car in front of or into them, explodes a power box, or detonates a steam pipe. As seen through the Profiler, each civilian has a name, a fact pertaining to their personality, age, occupation, and income.
If a crime is committed, ordinary civilians will most likely call the police. When connecting to the call center, an alert triangle will appear above the pedestrian's head, before the surround fills and the call is connected, a player can disarm the pedestrian or use a signal jam to avoid a pursuit. Some ordinary civilians can lead the player into trouble that does not involve the law enforcement. Some civilians may place a bounty on the player, which may be picked up by other players that have invaded another's gaming session. Alternatively, a player may be tasked with tracking another player if they are suspected by a civilian.
Civilians do not have a large role in the story, and the player generally does not interact with them except under special circumstances. For example, the player can protect them from criminals and remove them from danger during gunfights, or harm them, with each such action having an effect on Aiden's reputation. Civilians may also call 911 if they see the player with a weapon out or if they hear gunfire. Outside of violent situations, they may sometimes comment on recognizing Aiden from the news.
In Watch Dogs 2, civilians have been improved greatly. While the civilians do similar tasks in their daily lives, they will also react realistically to the player and to the other NPCs, often commenting their actions, throwing insults, or even involving themselves in fights with the player, or even with a fellow NPC. Civilians will also report other civilians for certain crimes. For instance, a NPC may report a brawl between two NPCs in progress, resulting the police arresting one or both of the aggressors.
Some pedestrians can be seen walking on the streets with their dogs. Occassionally, an enraged pedestrian may free his/her dog and order it to attack Marcus or other NPCs, including police officers.
With the implemention of the new Emotion system, certain actions can draw civilians' attention to Marcus. For example, if Marcus is dancing, nearby civilians may pull out their phones and take photos/videos of him, and even compliment his actions. Other times, if Marcus mocks or insults a civilian, the civilian may either flee in fear or retaliate back by insulting or attacking Marcus. If a civilian is angry about something, Marcus can try to pacify them to calm them down.
Crimes may be committed by pedestrians at any time, which may be picked up by the Crime Prediction System when access to the district's control center is hacked. In most cases the victim will be highlighted by the system first.
Criminals may use a variety of weapons when engaging with other characters and the player. Criminals use a wider range of melee weapon than Aiden, including baseball bats and knives. Once confronted, criminals may attack, flee from, or call backup on the player.
In Watch Dogs 2, pedestrians can now commit a wider array of crimes. Pedestrians may attack the player or other pedestrians until they are incapacitated. If this happens, other civilians will proceed to attack Marcus or other pedestrians, causing a conflict. A pedestrian may flee from the police, causing a short foot pursuit, resulting them eventually being tackled by the officers and getting arrested. Sometimes civilians will pull Marcus or other NPCs out of their car/bike if provoked.
On the other hand, pedestrians affiliated with gangs will most likely open fire at the police or at an another gang. Affiliated pedestrians can still be tackled by the police but they often resist afterwards by pulling up their weapons and open fire. On the other hand, affiliated pedestrians may just tease the police officers if their fellow gang member is getting arrested without resisting arrest.
- Marksmanship badge
- Firearms collector
- Veteran Hunter
- Gun collector
- Hunts game
- Rifle collector (still carries a P-9mm)
Civilians will pull out their guns if they spot Marcus carrying a weapon in the streets or upon Marcus assaulting any civilian within their sight. They will then issue a warning before either deciding to flee or opening fire on their aggressor. Police, criminals and Umeni-Zulu will start a firefight with any civilian seen shooting a firearm as long as they are not affiliated with their own faction.
Some civilians are willing to open fire at heavily armed gang members should they witness them commit a crime, though this is quite rare. Pedestrians never take cover, often flee within seconds and will die to one shot from almost any weapon and so tend to not last long in shootouts with experienced combatants.
Generic criminals can also wield the SMG-11 which makes them somewhat more dangerous in combat. They also have the same AI as Gunmen and so will take cover and occasionally throw grenades in firefights, though this may be a design oversight.
Pedestrians equipped with weapons drop them when they are killed or knocked unconscious but will produce an additional P-9mm if they are revived by a paramedic.
Pedestrians may be using their phones for a task that requires data exchange. When a pedestrian is using a data exchange process, a small blue on black icon will be visible, near their profile information. Data exchanges can be intercepted to:
- Steal bank account information - allowing a player to withdraw funds from that account.
- Steal crafting components - allowing the player to grab system keys, giving them the ability to craft Jam Coms and Blackouts.
- Steal vehicle registration information - allowing the Underground Car Contact to retrieve the car and change the details so that the vehicle then belongs to the player.
- Steal songs - The player can steal songs from pedestrians to store in his playlist and to play in his Media App.
- In Online Contracts, other players have the appearance of a random civilian.
- In Watch Dogs, Civilians are never seen getting into cars. They also are never seen boarding or exiting trains. This is fixed in Watch Dogs 2.
- During a police chase, if the player boards a train, and civilians hear gunshots from the police, they will get scared and crouch down.
- Frightened civilians run faster than the player.
- Depending on Aiden's reputation, they can support or retaliate against Pearce, which can be heard via WKZ TV in a car.
- Strangely, civilians never react if Aiden is holding a pistol. However, they will react if he is sprinting with a pistol.
- Oddly, if an NPC car honks the horn, nearby pedestrians will mock them, but if the player is in a car and honks the horn, the pedestrians will run away. This was fixed in Watch Dogs 2.
- Civilians usually can be seen walking around the city, socializing with each other, entering and exiting shops, entering and exiting vehicles, eating, and doing various other activities.
- In Watch Dogs 2, civilians have been revamped. Now, there are more appearances, randomly-generated info, and they will be seen doing more activities than the first game. Examples include playing with their dogs, having picnics, eating and texting.
- Dogs can also play with each other.