Could the next Mario be a Hacker?
Meet Aiden Pearce. He’s the star of Watch Dogs, the most buzzed-about title of E3 (the world’s biggest video game event, on now in LA).
Pearce, Watch Dogs’ main protagonist, is a hacker who can tap into both individuals’ and New York’s networks with nothing more than his smartphone. As such, walking around in the street, the player is constantly prompted to hack traffic lights, cash machines or security guards; and once inside a building, he can see instantly anyone’s employer, salary, disposition and risk level (a warning bar goes up if you bump into someone who knows martial arts, for example).
The potential for mischief is stupendous, even if the above video only gives a glimpse of the possibilities. Hacking traffic lights to cause a car crash and trap your target looks great, but we want more!
Just as promising is the game’s teaser trailer (here), which sets the scene of a world where everything is connected to a central network: and is therefore hackable. As such, Watch Dogs fits perfectly with global authorities’ number one fear: hackers, not terrorists.
As The Guardian’s Games Blog points out, hackers appear frequently in video games: but usually as backup to a better-looking hero, or as the arch-villian. This is the first time a hacker is the main man, though we’ll wager you can make him as much as a hero or a villain as you like.
Time will tell if publisher Ubisoft can pull off a start-to-finish thrilling game experience, but one thing’s certain: hackers have definitively entered modern mythology as the Robin Hoods of our time.
Oh and hats off to Ubi too for not putting its new hero in a Guy Fawkes mask…