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How Watch Dogs 2 spoofs tech and Silicon Valley

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Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 is a game about a young group of hackers looking to take down huge corporations that exploit citizens by way of their personal data. It’s a lot less serious than that sounds. Watch Dogs 2 tackles heavy issues with its tongue firmly in cheek, making light of the excesses of Silicon Valley and the tech industry. The game’s virtual rendition of the Bay Area is the kind of place where you overhear people on the street asking “Hey, how’s your startup?” and a pair of cargo shorts costs hundreds of dollars.

Watch Dogs 2 manages to lampoon and rib many targets over the course of its campaign. Here are just a few examples. Spoilers below.

Martin Shkreli

Watch Dogs 2

One of the early missions involves a character who is very clearly based on infamous pharmaceutical price gouger and Wu-Tang Clan fan Martin Shkreli. Much like Shkreli, the character in Watch Dogs 2 — named Gene Carcani — is rich thanks to the pharmaceutical business, and he also happens to be a big fan of rap. The mission has you faking a call between Carcani and his favorite rapper, who offers to sell the tech millionaire a one-off album that won’t be available to anyone else. But instead of getting his dream album, the hackers at DeadSec ensure that Carcani’s money goes to a charity instead.

Google

Watch Dogs 2

Just like in our world, Google is embedded into many aspects of Watch Dogs 2. Only here it’s called Nudle. You’ll use Nudle Maps to get around, and constant news reports will update you on the company’s business, including scooping up startups to get into the automotive industry. You can even visit the company’s campus, which has just about everything you’d expect from a sprawling tech giant.

There are cute self-driving cars in the parking lot.

Watch Dogs 2

Tech writers zoned out in VR headsets in the lobby.

Watch Dogs 2

And profit projections hidden away in “secure” rooms.

Watch Dogs 2

You can also buy some T-shirts.

Watch Dogs 2

Instagram

Watch Dogs 2

You may be a privacy-obsessed hacker in Watch Dogs 2, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy taking selfies. The game actually encourages the habit with an app called Scout. If you take a selfie in front of specific landmarks around the city, you earn rewards, including all important new poses for taking even more selfies. Your hacker buddies will even post mundane comments, just like in real life.

Uber

It wouldn’t be Silicon Valley without Uber, but Watch Dogs 2’s take on the ride-sharing service is a bit different, and split across two different apps. One lets you summon any vehicle you’ve purchased to your location. You simply select the car or bike, and it will magically appear in a nearby parking lot. It’s handy for when you don’t want to get caught stealing a car, or when only an off-road vehicle will suffice. The other app lets you essentially become an Uber driver yourself, taking on a variety of jobs in the form of side-missions that provide a nice diversion from the main story.

Burning Man

Watch Dogs 2

One mission in the game abruptly opens in a desert at an event called Swelter Skelter. Here the tech elite, along with an assorted group of outcasts, let loose. There are fights in cages, people in Uncle Sam outfits, goth weddings, and lots and lots of dancing and drugs. It’s not just fun and games, though: there’s also a serious hacking competition where you have to try to make a giant mechanical dragon spew fire.

Mostly, it’s a great place for selfies.

Watch Dogs 2

SpaceX / Blue Origin

Watch Dogs 2

One of the later missions in the game has you literally hacking a rocket ship so that you can then hack some satellites. But it’s not some government agency you’re breaking into. It’s a private firm called the Galilei Corporation, a company with grand ambitions and deep connections to the tech world. It’s the kind of place with slickly designed inspirational posters on the wall and lots of red security lasers insuring the public can’t actually see what’s really going on.

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