“Watson used to have it all. Nightclubs, skyscrapers, corporate offices, a top-end medcenter — but economic disaster put an end to all that. Now, it’s known as ‘the bad neighborhood of Night City’. The kinda place that suits gangs like Maelstrom and Tyger Claws down to the ground.”
What is the Watson District?
During the time of Rebuilding of the Night City, a few well-off Japanese corps had their sights on Watson, pouring millions of dollars into the district. Back then, Watson was destined to be a self-sufficient and prosperous district, with its towering skyscrapers and thriving nightclubs, but it eventually became one the poorest.
It was Arasaka’s return to the city after the Unification War and its special agenda for Watson that brought the area down to its knees. When Saburo Arasaka decided to finish off his competitors in the area and obtain exclusive access to the port at the Watson Waterfront, nobody could stop him.
The economy of the district and local corporations took a serious hit from the manipulations of Saburo’s lawyers and bankers, and the financial sector was permanently destabilized. The Northside Industrial District and its cutting-edge technology park was left with no jobs to offer to people, leaving many out on the street.
The resulting power vacuum allowed Arasaka to take over and the district was converted into their personal sea port, guarded against any unaffiliated visitors.
Today Watson is not much more than Night City’s “bad neighborhood”: a living area for struggling factory employees who still work for the shrinking Industrial District and a battleground to the area’s two major gangs, Maelstrom and Tyger Claws. The many roadblocks on the bridges leading into Watson serve to contain the people within instead of addressing piling issues of the district’s recent history.
This section will be updated with locations that will be particularly helpful to V once that information becomes available.
Maelstrom have settled in what remained of the Northside Industrial District (also known as the NID): mostly abandoned factories and working-class apartment blocks. The extensive and often illegal body modifications undertaken by the gang are the expression of their deep fascination with cybertechnologies and the distaste of human “weak flesh”.
Of course, the heavy augmentation also means that many of the gang’s members run a very high risk or have already developed the condition known as the cyberpsychosis, destroying their capacity to moral judgement. It does not seem like Maelstromers are really bothered by these mental disorders going out of control. In fact, they seem to enjoy the emerging bits of insanity: a lot of their victims are found dismembered, skinned alive, or drowned in wet concrete.
Aside from the hit jobs, Maelstromers typically smuggle illegal medicine and drugs, record illegal violent or even emotionally-numbing Braindance footage (NCPD was not able to prove their involvement yet), with an occasional well-organized heist on a guarded corporate cargo.
A highly territorial gang, Tyger Claws always look for the ways to annex businesses that belong to their rivals. Their approach to business resembles that of Japanese yakuza, with the approach of honor over violence. While they are protective even of their lowest-ranking members, many of them are sadistic and brutal.
Many of these common members undermine the gang’s ideologies by picking fights on the streets, hassling outsiders, and resorting to abductions, torture, sexual assault, and even cruel and violent murder. And yet, confronting even this dishonorable behavior will still incur punishment from higher-ranking Tyger Claw members.
Tyger Claws control both the Little China and Kabuki in Watson. Today Little China is practically overrun by the Kabuki Market, and the current community was built upon the ruins of Watson’s former high-density urban region, overpopulated with Asian immigrants and proud of its famous old Med Center. Kabuki Market became a maze of narrow alleyways with a bustling bazaar unfurled during nighttime: local stalls that offer implants, organs, steroids, and about anything else you might be looking for.
In addition to Kabuki’s trade, Tyger Claws control a significant portion of Night City’s Japantown, with its bars, restaurants, braindance clubs, brothels, and casinos, and thus a big portion of its lucrative income.
Aside from drug manufacture and distribution, the gang makes a lot of money from money laundering, prostitution, and human trafficking.
Watson’s poor population became a prime target for Scavs, a ruthless group of organ and implant harvesters sustained by their high demand on the black market.