By choosing to set Watch Dogs 2 in the smart city of San Francisco, Ubisoft’s game creators were able to sharpen their criticism of the nation’s tech companies and how they are undermining freedom and abetting criminal behavior through their monopolistic practices and weak security.
It took me a while to get through it, but I highly recommend that you play Watch Dogs 2 as part of your civic duty. The creators of the game are far from California at Ubisoft’s Montreal office, but they managed to deliver a scorching criticism of Silicon Valley and its leading tech companies for their alleged attempts to get rich by betraying the public’s trust and invading our privacy. And it gets really close to reality of our U.S. presidential election through a mission in the game where a candidate for Congress teams up with a company to create fake election news and polls, only to be foiled by intervening hackers. If you’ve got some time over the holidays, I recommend you play the game on the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One or the PC.
The parodies and satires of the companies were funny, like inside jokes. But they carried a serious message. As hacker Marcus Holloway looks out at the city of San Francisco, he notes how everybody is numb from being treated like sheep. By taking on the big companies and exposing their fraud, their attempts to violate privacy, their plans to lock us into their data networks, and their plans to sell our data to the highest bidder, Holloway tries to fight back.
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