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Watch Dogs at E3: We want players to find value in other people

By Jimmy Blake
Newsbeat reporter at E3 gaming conference in LA

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image copyrightUbisoft

The maker of a game set in a post-Brexit London says he wants it to help players "value" people from different backgrounds.

In Watch Dogs: Legion, which takes place in the "not-too-distant future", gamers will control a group of hackers trying to take down a regime which has taken control of the UK through an advanced surveillance system.

Players can recruit any of the thousands of playable characters in the game, all with unique different backgrounds and skill sets, to help them along the way.

Clint Hocking, the game's creative director, spoke to Radio 1 Newsbeat at the E3 gaming conference in LA, saying it was important to feature a diverse range of personalities.

media captionWhat's Keanu been up to?

"I think a lot of what's wrong with the world right now is people have an interest to drive wedges between people. People are becoming more and more divided.

"The thing I want people to maybe understand is that the person over there is different from them.

"You know, that character over there has value and that other person is interesting and different.

"You can experience different lives with different thoughts and different perspectives. That's what I think we want the player to think differently about."

image copyrightUbisoft
image captionPlayers can control virtually everyone in the game to build their gang

Although he's aware people will primarily buy and play the game because it's "fun entertainment", Clint says his team were conscious of the political statement behind it - especially after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

"Our initial vision for the game was long before Brexit ever happened.

"London was a choice for us because of its diversity and its culture.

"There are hundreds of languages spoken there and when you can play as anyone you want to be able to have a lot of choices, right?

"And when the Brexit vote happened, it became part of our world... part of the history of our game and it fell into the backdrop of what we were creating."

image copyrightUbisoft
image captionThe team spent lots of time in London to build the map and get a taste of the culture

He suggests political events in the real world made the game appear to be more "charged than we originally intended" but also sees it as a lesson for developers.

"I think as game creators, we need to be more bold and more courageous.

image captionClint Hocking also worked on Far Cry 2 and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

"People are going to find the game engaging… But then they can take something more from it and it can open their eyes or make them think differently.

"That's what we aspire to. It's saying, 'you don't necessarily agree with me about x and y and I don't necessarily agree with you, but we have bigger problems'.

"But the purpose of the game is for you to enjoy it whenever.

"It's the same as a book, the purpose of a book is for you to enjoy it. If it happens to engage you politically or otherwise, makes you think about things differently, great.

"That's not political. That's just what culture does."

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