Watch Dogs 2 is a story of racial profiling and a positive attitude

3 min read
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HACK THE PLANET

I never really got into the first Watch Dogs. The potential was there, but if I wanted to watch a white guy hack everything around him to pieces, I’d have rather saved money and played through Metal Gear Rising yet again. I like to think that the idea of a square-jawed caucasian seeking vengenace is a trope that has thoroughly played itself out, a feeling I got this year when I saw a more diverse line-up of upcoming games announced at E3.

It’s not that I don’t want to play as your regular European or American, but I actually find it fascinating to step out of my own comfort zone and into the shoes of someone whose life I have no actual relatable experience of. Watch Dogs 2 is checking that box, even if it does include you co-operating with the worst people on the planet: Millennials.

And with Watch Dogs 2 swapping the grimy streets of Chicago for the more liberal valleys of San Francisco, a new hero was needed, as creative director Jonathan Morin explained to PCGamesN. “San Francisco’s about wide open, huge vistas, a lot of colour, and eclectic groups of people who really don’t give a shit about how stuff should work,” Morin said of the choice to ditch Aiden Pearce for the younger Marcus Holloway, who has had to live a life of being unfairly racially profiled by the oppressive ctOS system that watches over San Francisco like Big Brother.

Watch Dogs 2 (1)

He’s the kind of guy who had all the qualities to do anything he wanted. But for some reason profiling decided that that was not for him.

Here’s the big difference in characters: Marcus doesn’t hate his life. In fact, he embraces his affiliation with the DedSec hacktivist group, where he’s fighting to make his future better. “I wanted to bring [in] this ‘everything is possible’ type of attitude that happens in California,” Morin explained.

For the first time he’s with other people who understand what he wants, who understand how these things work. They see an opportunity in exposing the truth to people and making a difference. It’s almost like they’re creating a collective hivemind.

This all comes to a boil with the various members of DedSec, who each have their own goals and methods to pursue as they seek to take down ctOS. There’s no reputation system at play here, but Marcus is a neutral canvas for the player to paint their own morals on. “The world responds to what DedSec becomes,” Morin said.

But it’s never going to be, ‘They should be banned’. It’s just going to be a debate, and that’s what I like about it.

I still think having a helmet filled  with emote-blinking LEDs is just downright baffling and makes you look like a complete tosspot, but that’s just me.

Last Updated: July 15, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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