In the near future, private military corporations control the city of London, England. Technology has taken over the capital and citizens are unable to escape the eyes of state surveillance. Dedsec, the hacktivist collective from the previous entries in the Watch Dogs series, returns as a resistance movement to take back London.
In the post-Brexit setting of Watch Dogs Legion, technology has taken over the city of London, and not in a good manner. Some citizens resist the state surveillance and try to return the power from corrupt military corporations to the common people in the streets. Giving London back to its citizens requires you to get a large group of people together.
From hacktivist to resistance fighters
Private corporations are now running the city and at most a handful of hacktivist dare to take a stand. This resistance movement is known as Dedsec, the hacktivist collective from the previous games in the Watch Dogs series. As a resistance fighter, you try to recruit more citizens to contribute to the resistance movement.
Unlike in the previous games, there is no main character in Watch Dogs Legion. You will be able to play as different members of the resistance movement with their own backstories and personal motivations to join the hacktivist collective. You can explore a vibrant London in which everyone is a potential protagonist.
Vulnerabilities in the system
In Watch Dogs, the developers express their fear on the idea that everything and everyone in the entire world is connected to the internet at all times. A few gadgets and a smartphone offer an experienced hacktivist access to the information of the entire state surveillance system by exploiting minor vulnerabilities in the computer system.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the dark reality of state surveillance and clear absence of the right to privacy. Authorities use technologies to obtain personal information about citizens. If this information is used incorrectly, or ends up in the wrong hands, this can cause some serious problems.
Fear of technology
Watch Dogs was in development before Edward Snowden revealed his identity to the world, but this topic seems more relevant than ever in our modern society. Over the last few years, we have read headlines in newspapers about technology and the dilemma of privacy.
The hacking in the entire Watch Dogs series is more of a gameplay mechanic than a reflection of reality. Vulnerabilities in computer systems are never so widespread that you can control every device. Experienced hackers may be able to execute some of the hacks, but not with the same convenience as the main characters in the games.
Security risks and exploits
The more devices are connected to the internet, the larger the risk of vulnerabilities within the system. In a society where everything is connected to a server, even a street light may become a potential security risk.
Watch Dogs offers players a surreal manner of invading the lives of other citizens. Obtaining access to the state surveillance system created to prevent crimes is not as hard as you would expect and makes its audience question the risks of sharing personal information in smart cities. Do we really need to connect everything to the internet?
Hackers hide their identity and break international rules
In the first game, the hacktivist collectice Dedsec takes a stand for more privacy in a realistic representation of Chicago. This hacktivists collective resembles Anonymous, a hactivist collective striving for similar ideals. Anonymous is widely known for its various DDoS cyber attacks against several government institutions.
In public, the members of the Anonymous collective wear Guy Fawkes masks as seen in the film V for Vendetta to hide their identities. They are not bad, nor are they good, they are anonymous. They have the freedom, they do what they want and even break international laws on a regular basis to bring down security systems and websites.
Anonymous is both good and bad. Each member stands for either good or bad things, but their personal actions cannot be reflected on the group as a whole. On the other hand, the executed hacks and personal motivations of individuals do influence the public opinion and the way they are perceived by media outlets.
Members of Anonymous can be considered as the resistance fighters of the internet and fight for what they consider justice. In the past, they leaked documents that the government does not want the public to read, nor to know their existence. Anonymous dig up those files to show the true identity of some of these government agencies and their far-reaching actions to observe citizens.
In Watch Dogs Legion, the hactivist collective Dedsec tries to use the public opinion as their weapon. They take a stand to stop the existence of an authoritarian regime that has taken control of the post-Brexit United Kingdom and try to prevent the further development of an advanced surveillance system.
Not politicians, but all the citizens take a stand
The recent leaks about state surveillance and private corporations using our own personal information to influence our opions, ignited a debate around the world that even led to discussions in parliament. Watch Dogs seems to try to get gamers to enter these discussions about technological developments and privacy too.
Do you enjoy this content?
Blogging and content creation is hard work. Donations are used to support this blog and its content. Do you want to help me create more and better content? You can now buy me a coffee.
Do you want to donate a different amount with PayPal? Please visit this page and select the exact amount you want to donate to help create more and better content.
Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from Watch Dogs Legion, a video game developed by Ubisoft Toronto and published by Ubisoft. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.