Ubisoft's open-world game Watch Dogs Legion became a talking point on a BBC show about politics. Politics Live, a show which airs daily and talks about the biggest news in UK politics, spoke about whether the Watch Dogs Legion version of a post-Brexit London is really what England's capital city could look like.
The panelists of the BBC show seemed split on whether Watch Dogs Legion will provide an accurate look at post-Brexit London. The Spectator's Toby Young, who is a Brexit supporter, said that "As a Brexit supporter the temptation is to become outraged they're portraying Brexit as being such a disaster when actually so far no disaster has materialised." Young also suggested that Watch Dogs Legion, with the mass surveillance and the fallen government seen in the game's announcement trailer, shows how "paranoid apocalyptic fever dreams" have shown up since Brexit and Trump came to office.
Novara Media's Aaron Bastani disagreed, saying that Brexit "will lead to quite dystopian outcomes." Bastani doesn't think that the people of London will start running around with glowing skull masks on like those in Watch Dogs Legion's collector's edition, but London could become "more like the Chinese state, where you have all-seeing consumer surveillance synergised with state surveillance." Bastani describes Watch Dogs Legion as "speculative fiction," but says that political crises and big data could lead to something like the authoritarian state seen in the game.
The New Economics Foundation's Miatta Fahnbulleh said that an "economic system that still benefits a tiny proportion of people where people aren't feeling the benefit in the majority" is one of the "underlying drivers" of Brexit and Watch Dogs Legion can help to talk about this issue. Watch Dogs Legion will also invite debate about autonomous vehicles and robots and how these have left some people unemployed, so there will be some look at how the economy affects political decisions and people's opinions on society.
The Daily Telegraph's Claire Cohen provided another take, suggesting that Watch Dogs Legion could bring those on the political left and right together. "How amazing would it be if gaming was the thing that united the left and right eventually? It could happen," said Cohen. Few are expecting Watch Dogs Legion to bring people together the way Pokemon GO did in summer 2016, but the game could potentially get people talking about their political ideas in a constructive way and that's what Cohen seems to be saying.
Watch Dogs Legion launches March 6, 2020, for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Stadia.