How Watch Dogs 2 is More Than Just a Game

How Watch Dogs 2 is More Than Just a Game

Watch Dogs 2 is coming out in November, and I think it’s one of the most relevant, obviously political games this year. It’s the kind of game I’ve been waiting for, and I can’t wait to see what people will make of it. This game is a perfect example of art reflecting life in a constructive and even shocking way. Three aspects of the game, DedSec (Anonymous), CTOS (Internet tracking), and Thruss (a corrupt politician), reflect life in a very relevant way.

The most significant aspect of that list would be the organization called DedSec. This is exactly the kind of thing a group like Anonymous could easily turn into. DedSec is supposed to be a group that “is opposed to the implementation and use of the CTOS and has the objective of proving that the system is flawed and unnecessary. The group’s members hack into various CTOS systems for destructive purposes in order to highlight its weaknesses and vulnerabilities”.

As such, DeSec’s real-life parallel in my opinion would be Anonymous. This is a group that stands for justice, and against any type of control over a peoples’ search for knowledge; CTOS presents such control with its extreme surveillance methods as it claims to lower crime rate and create a safer city. Control here comes in the form of invading a person’s privacy in order to convict or ‘help’ as the case may be.

It’s easy to see what these two groups have in common: both Anonymous and DeSec wish to unveil the unjustified control of various government bodies. Anonymous usually does so exclusively through hacking, though DedSec clearly has more militant methods. I don’t think Anonymous is capable of physically harming anyone at the moment, but I think they can be pushed. There is enough anger and resentment in some of its members that, given the right circumstances, they could all be pushed to commit similar acts to DedSec’s militant side.

Furthermore, the game shows corrupt politician Thruss using the Internet media (the fictional network INViTE) to control what the masses see and therefore think. Clever use of media and the Internet (or CTOS) in this way is not new. That’s what makes this game so scarily on point, stemming from the fear of big brother Google (and many social media sites with conditions of third party information sharing) and the NSA watching our every move. That fear is, frankly, completely justified. Google, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook all have written in their terms and conditions that they can sell whatever data they please on you to any third party that asks.

In addition to this easy sharing of what we think is private information, the Canadian and American governments have been able to arrest any citizen for years now based on information pulled from social media. People have been arrested for searching or posting unusual (and perfectly usual) things multiple times.

How Watch Dogs 2 is More Than Just a Game

As a writer, I search and visit sites that are extremely unusual all the time. Without context, it can seem like I’m pre-meditating murder when I look up how many pints of blood one needs to lose before they die. In reality, I’m writing a story about the intricacies of turning a human into a vampire. For all I know, it could be a matter of time before CSIS (basically the Canadian NSA) knocks on my door too.

Obviously, the government can and will use the internet to convict us. It’s easy to leap to the next conclusion: the government could use the internet to control us too. Well, they certainly already do with the news media, the Internet is simply the next step. For example, the failed attempt to revoke Net Neutrality in the US was quite recent. Though Americans managed to stop the threat to Net Neutrality this time, that isn’t to say that there will not be a next time. Watch Dogs 2 shows us this with Mark Thruss’ political campaign, where he plans to use CTOS and INViTE to rig the voting ballots in his favor. I cannot stress the relevance of this game’s narrative enough; it’s just too similar to current American problems and fears.

The fact that DedSec uses a militant strategy is, again, the illumination of a very real fear that a real organization might do the same thing. Fighting against corruption and invasive surveillance of our social media has been a long and difficult battle, and I fear that it’s only a matter of time before the events of Watch Dogs 2 become a reality. As such, Watch Dogs 2 is one of the most relevant and political games of this year.

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