For a very extra interview, BBC reporter Mark Cieslak got all mo-cap suited up to have a conversation inside Watch Dogs Legion‘s virtual city of London with the game’s creative director, Clint Hocking (you know, instead of using Discord or some sort of in-game chat function). This isn’t the sort of “oh look at our cool tech” interview that I expected however, as the pair discuss the culture of a game set in dystopian Britain, and the responsibility of depicting real-life events like Brexit in games.
Watch Dogs Legion, for those who don’t know, is Ubisoft’s upcoming open world game set in post-Brexit England some time in the future. The game boasts that you can play as quite literally any NPC you pass, as your goal is to recruit people into your sneaky yet resourceful group.
Not shying away from the very political theme Watch Dogs Legion is based around, Cieslak mentions the divisive nature of Brexit and how “quite a lot of people are going to be angry that it’s been included in a video game”.
“I look at it as a creator of culture, as if we were creating films or movies or books, it’s the same with video games,” Hocking responded. “It’s our responsibility to look at the things that are happening in the world around us and have something to say about that, to create something that’s meaningful, that people can look at and engage with, and it speaks to the world that they live in.”
But of course, Brexit has been going on for a long, long, long, long, long… uh, time, and Hocking said they’re always keeping an eye on what’s going on so they can decide what to put in the game.
“We look at regulations for drones flying in the skies, or autonomous vehicles in traffic, and we have to think, are these things we want to include in our simulation and make playable for players in our game universe?”
We still have a little while until we’ll find out what Brexit-related events actually made it into the game, as Ubisoft delayed Watch Dogs Legion (along with Rainbow Six Quarantine and Gods & Monsters) until “later” in 2020 – originally it was meant to come out on March 6th.
Until that “later date” then, you can live vicariously through Alice Bee’s exploration of Watch Dogs Legion’s virtual London, which she was pretty impressed at (and also absolutely takes as a chance to show off how many places in London she knows).
If you’d like to see more interviews with cool people done inside games (with players, rather than for PR stunts), Brendan did an excellent series called Ridealong. An especially good one is where he introduces a real comedian to Comedy Night, and he does it without all that silly motion-capture suit business too.