Ubisoft Montreal calls on the power of the crowd as Watch Dogs 2 heads out west to San Francisco
Ubisoft is rarely topical. This is a company that prefers to safeguard its future by borrowing from the past, be it the historical tourism of an Assassin’s Creed or the prehistoric stylings of Far Cry Primal. Where it does dip a toe in more modern waters, it either does so by escaping the trappings of 21st-century civilisation, as in Far Cry 3 and 4, or by simply destroying it, as in The Division. Yet in 2014’s Watch Dogs the company was almost achingly current, its tale of surveillance paranoia launching mere months after Edward Snowden had laid bare the shocking extent to which modern governments spy on their citizens. The intervening two years have yielded the Panama Papers, the mass sharing of celebrity photos that were meant to remain private, and the rebirth of the Snooper’s Charter. Drone warfare is ever more prevalent, while the rise of the Internet Of Things means that everything from smartcars to children’s toys are susceptible to attack. As our relationship with technology becomes ever closer and more complex, so too grows the likelihood of it being exploited. The more connected we are, the more vulnerable.