July 7, 2013
Ubisoft Presents WeareData
Turns out that Ubisoft’s faith in their upcoming multi-platform game Watch_Dogs goes much deeper than we’d originally anticipated. We all know that Watch_Dogs claims to be more than controversial by crafting a free roam out of a tech junkie’s midnight fantasy, although not by way of vanilla oil and a jar of vaseline. Instead, Watch_Dogs looks to give us the absolute control to hack, shoot and, finally, drive our way through a futuristic rendition of what Chicago looks like when everything’s plugged into the same server.
The game’s atmosphere stems from the fictional central operating system (cTos) of Chicago’s infrastructure, a theoretical what-if scenario that showcases what a city looks like when one man can see, hear, and know absolutely everything inside of a metropolis that there is to know. For decades, conspiracy theorists have tried to discuss the ethics of humanity’s dependence on social media and handheld technology. Essentially, that vulnerability is ripe and ready for the taking as Aiden is blessed with a phone that can give him anything he wants. But to really understand what makes this so impressive, Ubisoft needed to properly demonstrate how it feels to actually know something.
I’m not just talking about the intelligence level of over enthusiastic IGN commenters. I’m talking about awareness.
Introducing WeareData, a social media and technology info site with various data engines fused into a single interface with pretty black backgrounds and special shapes flying everywhere. A closer examination of the website will tell you that Berlin, Paris and, finally, London have all been ‘tapped’ to reveal information made only public on open source.
It is quite disturbing.
The longer I sat in front of my screen, the more I realized that I was addicted to what the website was giving to me. WeareData has an open source gathering machine that reveals only the info that is legal for the public to view (ie: Wi-Fi hotspots, Rented Bicycles, Train departures and paths, buildings, and finally every cellphone connected to Instagram, Facebook, and even Foursquare). The names of certain Twitter followers can be learned with a simple click on the social media symbol.
You must see it to understand why I believe Watch_Dogs will be the major contender for Game of the Year.
Of course, this info is 100 percent legal to publicly show; but the legality isn’t the issue here, and nor is it how close Ubisoft walks the line of controversy. The point of WeareData is to give you a feeling of what it feels like to be ‘in the know,’ as they say. From reading pedestrian tracking and statistical numbers about the unemployment rate in Paris to seeing the exact time and location of multiple underground trains and their destinations, you get a sense of awareness.
Awareness, unlike intuition, is the satisfying feeling of knowing that your predictions are completely accurate. Intuition is just the physical, emotional and, in some cases, euphoric feeling that people get when they feel like being a hero. In Watch_Dogs, all the player has is awareness.
What you do with that awareness is completely up to you, be it to engage in conflict, or simply walk away. You decide.
Image Credit: Ubisoft