Friday, June 5, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 2: Disproportionate Retribution

In this episode, we continue to explore the lengths of Aiden Pearce's depravity.

For those who are curious, this is the link to the Austin Walker article I brought up at the start of this episode.

It ties in well to the overall point that we make in this episode about the game's sense of morality. I once wrote my own piece about how the game's systems make Aiden Pearce out to be an amoral individual. He can only fight crime through violent means, and his only way of interacting with civilians is to steal their money.

Another example comes from this very episode. When Nikki gets that threatening call, Aiden Pearce goes after the caller despite his sister's warning that he really shouldn't. In order to follow this guy, we steal a car and commit several thousands of dollars in property damage to the city, and a couple of vehicles. Even if we assume nobody got hurt aside from our target, there is no denying that Aiden Pearce is at least putting random, yet innocent people in danger.

Yet the best part of it all is that in the end, when we leap on the guy and snap his neck, the game declares it to be "Justifiable Force", and awards us with positive reputation. According to Watch_Dogs, it is "justifiable" to steal a car, cause wanton destruction, and murder a person if said person is guilty of nothing more than making a threatening phone call.

The person we killed is, of course, not in the right. However, this is a case of disproportionate retribution. As scared as Nikki was, and as awful as it is to willingly terrify a random stranger for a small payout, it is not enough to be killed over, or even beaten up over. Despite this, the game has dubbed such retribution as morally acceptable.

Ladies and gents, THIS is our protagonist.

And I hate him so much!

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