One of the most fascinating and impressive debuts at E3 this year was Watch Dogs Legion, the third game in the open-world hacker series that not only shifts the action to London – it creates an entire city of people to recruit and fight for DeadSec. That you can control. At the show we sat down with creative director Shelley Johnson to talk about the world in which the game takes place.
“The people of London are seeing their city on the brink,” Shelley tells us. “The impact of technology on the city has led to skyrocketing unemployment, the economy and the government are collapsing, private military contractors are taking over. The people are scared, they’re hurt, and they want to fight back.”
Which is where the sheer ambition of Watch Dogs Legion kicks in. Through the use of technology you can hack and recruit any citizen you come across – and then take direct control over them as you see fit. “The player needs to build that popular resistance, give form to the resistance itself,” Shelley continues. “To take the fight to them, by using the the city’s technological infrastructure.”
With the mention of extremists and authoritarians no doubt one could draw parallels to modern day life in western countries and a post-Brexit London. With Watch Dogs Legion development starting four years ago the team began by looking at World War II and life in occupied Paris. “It was a frightening time,” Shelley explains. “You could disappear, but people went about their lives and their jobs. They met their friends, they had drinks, they tried to live as much of a normal life as possible.
“There are a lot of people that are on the side of the authoritarians,” Shelly adds. “For our times, if we take it to the nth degree, we see the rise of automation, we see the ongoing rise of authoritarianism. What might that look like, what might that feel like.”
The answer, at least partly lies in the world and setting of Watch Dogs Legion.
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