After I performed Watch Canine: Legion a number of months again, I used to be holding a eager eye on its depiction of a collective revolt towards injustice, state-sanctioned violence, and technological exploitation. In any case, these are the working themes that the sport has been emphasizing in its presentation and early story threads, and they need to be analyzed. I just lately obtained one other crack on the recreation to play all-new story missions, and it is became one thing a bit surprising.
In these new missions, I obtained to see story branches that dive into Clan Kelley, the organized crime ring that runs the streets of London within the wake of a hostile paramilitary takeover. It is not likely a shock that organized crime is in mattress with corrupt authorities, however primarily based on what I performed, issues flip extra sinister and darkish, in a manner that is most likely not nice for the squeamish.
As you reveal the truths of Clan Kelley and its chief Mary Kelley, you uncover that she’s been accumulating individuals to power them into servitude, and, properly, eventual victims of organ harvesting. Albion authorities (the PMC that now runs London) have been leveraging anti-immigrant sentiment to implement racist insurance policies and illegally spherical up susceptible, marginalized individuals and detain them in refugee camps. It is all plainly acknowledged in dialogue between your character and your AI assistant, as you are attempting to trace down a sufferer and DedSec affiliate named Angel Lopez. However the knife is twisted even deeper when you reveal this technique offers a canopy and an avenue for Kelley to kidnap and enslave these individuals. Yeah, it is straight up human trafficking.
On this one mission, you sneak into the detainment camp to fulfill together with your undercover DedSec contact and hint the whereabouts of Angel, who fell sufferer to this horrible system. Then you determine that these persons are being managed and subjugated by a microchip that will get implanted into their bodies–it’s basically a killswitch. This then offers a lead that brings you to the situation of a closely guarded incinerator that homes an underground operation the place those self same victims are being harvested for organs, and their corpses left to burn to ash.
Whereas the contents of those missions aren’t explicitly gory, the subject material and visible presentation of all of it is sufficient to clearly get the purpose across–and in some capability, it is quite horrifying. Particularly with the implication of poor, marginalized, and/or immigrant individuals being the targets of a really evil organized legal ring. Within the spirit of a content material warning, I feel of us ought to know that this may be traumatizing from the conceptual stage.
This specific mission department then leads you to Mary Kelley’s secret mansion the place she has dozens of those individuals working as her slaves, managed by the truth that Kelley can seize their our bodies or resolve to kill them with a push of a button. You fly a drone by the mansion, and previous rooms of individuals being held captive towards their will, to resolve circuit puzzles and ultimately hack a pc to pay money for her surveillance system. Within the mission’s concluding cutscene you watch as one among her victims is punished for attempting to flee, dealing with acts of violence and a speech from Kelley about how she’s ‘saving’ them from their earlier lives, and that her victims have nowhere else to go.
That is how the Clan Kelley story department concluded within the preview demo. And whereas there’s after all extra to uncover on this story thread, and our DedSec protagonists acknowledge the horrifying nature of all of it, Watch Canine: Legion has numerous work lower out to be able to make this fashion of violence and trauma work in its real-world narrative context. I am caught off guard a bit by these turns within the story, although I can not actually say I am into it primarily based on a preview. We have seen all these darkish high-tech tales before–it’s provocative, however Legion can be taking part in with fireplace right here.
Watch Canine at all times had a chilling undertone because it associated to the risks of tech and the implications of a world ruled by it, however Legion is taking part in this up in a way more specific, typically grotesque, trend. Apart from implanted microchips permitting Kelley to manage individuals within the aforementioned mission department, I performed by a associated however totally different set of missions–this time it is in regards to the horrors of synthetic intelligence gone improper.
My mission was to research an AI tech big referred to as Broca Tech, and this led to a different instance of Watch Canine: Legion’s surprising flip in the direction of the horrific. Once more, I tracked down the residence of its evil chief, this time her identify is Skye Larsen. And, after all, she publicly flaunts the advantages of how AI will thrust individuals into a brand new age devoid of our worldly issues, and makes use of a narrative about her mother to get that uncomfortable sympathetic angle in speeches. Effectively, that is all a straight up lie.
Once you infiltrate Larsen’s home, you discover out that she manipulated her ailing mom and used her as a software to experiment and develop the AI tech she’s peddling referred to as Dawn. It is principally a system of having the ability to add your consciousness to a pc, and also you uncover all this by investigating an underground lab beneath Larsen’s home. Nevertheless, it is not only a lab, it is offered as a man-made dream-like home on a prairie, which served as a spot to make use of her mother like a lab rat.
You watch the chilling hologram reconstructions of the occasions that happened, all disgusting scenes of how Larsen slowly killed her mom to create Dawn, regardless of the pleas to not do it. With this know-how, the particular person subjected to having their consciousness uploaded has to bodily die. However you then see how Larsen is ready to modify and management her mom-turned-AI, and along with her firm attempting to succeed in the plenty with this tech, you’ll be able to solely think about the insidious implications.
Because the participant, you finally talk with mom-turned-AI who presents data in alternate for a real, merciful dying by shutting down the AI system altogether. That concluded the story missions out there within the preview demo, a bone-chilling be aware to finish on.
What I discovered stunning about all of what I noticed from Watch Canine: Legion on this play session wasn’t merely the truth that it is going for horrifying imagery and narrative beats, however that this tone is not actually implied in different points of the sport or the way it’s been offered. I imply, it is most likely simpler to promote individuals on the concept of finishing up a revolution as a British grandma who punches police within the crotch, so I get it. Whereas there may be room for the sport to discover these darker themes to drive a compelling story, my hope is that it will possibly justify doing so with out devolving into trauma porn.
I anticipate the story threads to be tied up in some neat trend, as a result of the concept of genuinely terrifying exploitation of know-how and the corrupted authoritarian police state makes a Venn diagram that is nearly a circle. I simply do not know if Watch Canine: Legion is the sport to do it in a significant manner. I got here away from my first preview interested in how upfront it’s about political themes of revolution, however feeling it could possibly be higher about committing to the message it thinks it is attempting to ship. This new demo confirmed me that it is opening itself to a complete different narrative thread that might get messy, no less than within the storyline of Clan Kelley.
In a manner, it is fascinating to unravel the darkish mysteries, and actual justified revenge and retaliation towards these perpetrators. Watch Canine: Legion is not shy about portraying the horrible issues that these in energy can and can do to underprivileged and marginalized individuals. However we needs to be essential of the way it’s being conveyed all through the sport, and be conscious that–while, sure, that is some wild video game–we’re exposing ourselves to traumatizing imagery that won’t sit properly with some us who’re particularly aware of dangerous shit that is not far off from our actual world.
We’ll learn the way the story pays off when Watch Canine: Legion launches on October 29 for current-gen platforms and PC and later in November for next-gen methods.