10 years ago I was working at Radioshack and was amazed by a new flip phone from LG that had the world’s shittiest FM transmitter and a slot for a microSD card. My mind reeled. Think of the possibilities! If this was where we’re at now, think of where we’ll be by 2016! Why did I think of that exact year? It’s called a pacing device and hack writers love to use it when they can’t think of any other way to move things along.
Skip forward to the present (see?!) and we now live in a world with such an absurd amount of interconnectedness and technological advancement that if you handed me that same phone to use, I’d spit on it and you and throw that shit on the ground. If I were able to tell my 20 year old self about where we were at now, he would’ve pictured a world where humans have a better understanding of one another, our tech could best be labeled as “sci-fi” and, of course, virtual blowjobs. Instead, we face a new age of easily spread hatred and misinformation, our candles have built in wifi and it won’t be until next year that our sex robots will have warm genitals. It seems that the worst part of our pipe dreams about the “World of Tomorrow” isn’t the technology, but the world itself.
We have no fucking idea what we’re doing collectively as a species. With our push into the future we’ve wanted nothing more than to make things easier. We’ve thrown money at tech companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft who have built entire towns filled with geniuses who do nothing more than develop things that make getting what we want seem effortless. Of course, with that ever expanding convenience comes the encroachment of your so-called privacy. Your online history can now be sold to ad companies who create targeted advertising. Big Data (here meaning: your information) is the new business model and it is doing quite well. But there’s a light on the horizon. As with any time in history when the powerful have become too bloated and money hungry for their own damn good, a group will rise up to do what the apathetic masses can or won’t do, they fight back. I, of course, am talking about Militant Conservatives.
Haha! No, you silly fucks. Hackers! I’m talking about hackers!!!!
Dropping on November 15, WATCH_DOGS 2 follows the events of the first game with a new city (San Francisco) and a new protagonist (Marcus Holloway). Marcus is a young hacker who has been falsely framed for a crime by the Bay area’s new advanced surveillance system and Big Brother analogy come to life, cTOS 2.0. After what transpired in Chicago with the first cTOS, a city that’s ever connected with everyone and everything might not be such a good idea, he decides to join the hacker group DedSec. Calling themselves “Hacktivists” Marcus and his crew will work to take down the cTOS and Blume Corp., the company that controls it all.
Much to my dismay/elation (dismaylation?), I’ve learned that Ubisoft Montreal has recreated six different areas of the SF (downtown, Civic, Coast, Oakland, Marin and Silicon Valley) making for a map twice the size of Chicago from the first game. Damn. It looks gorgeous, but damn. Along with the map, Ubisoft Montreal has completely overhauled the gameplay adding in new functions for the magical hacker in all of us. You can now either choose to be a rampaging killer (using guns made from a 3D printer and a new melee weapon, the Thunderball, a billiard ball attached to bungee cord), a pacifist (using stealth and non-lethal weapons like tasers) or just go all in and be a hacker and hack into anything and everything around you.
I know what you’re saying hypothetical naysayer, “Oh boy, another work of hacker fiction. You’re a hacker and can hack into anything. Why can’t they make it seem real?” I would happily slap you for your feeble-minded thoughts, you mopey hypothetical fuck, but I’ll allow WATCH_DOGS 2 producer Dominic Guay to do it with words:
“The big thing we do — a hack that might take a month in real life, something you’d only pull off once, you can do it with the push of a button here and repeat it over and over. That’s clearly a stretch we make. We want players to experiment and have fun and be creative with hacking without having to do all the boring stuff, the months of coding work……We like to say we don’t want to represent the challenge of hacking so much as the creativity of what you can do with it.”
Exactly. It’s a video game, not a coding simulation. I for one am fully prepared for an onslaught of cyber warfare in the sprawling digital empire on November 15th and if I don’t see you there, then I’ll know they’ve gotten to you.