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Hacker-themed video game “Watch Dogs” made recently made its debut in a world grappling with fears about privacy in the internet era.
The game revolves around a protagonist who controls the world around him by hacking into systems and has generated intense buzz for parallels with the storm about US surveillance.
The players use weapons such as guns and swords to lasers and special powers to defeat enemies, overcome obstacles or simply score points.
The players can also access everything from the cellphone conversations and medical records of passers-by to computers which control traffic lights, to advance through the game. new title features The game has been developed by France-based Ubisoft.
Set in Chicago, the game centers on Aiden Pearce, who uses his smartphone to access the city’s Central Operating System, which controls everything from power grids and traffic management technology to bank accounts and phone networks.
The hacking evokes the stunning revelations about electronic surveillance by US authorities as done by ex-government contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
The documents suggest the US National Security Agency (NSA) has gathered call log records for millions of American phone subscribers and targeted the internet data of foreign Web users. Ubisoft said the game, originally set for release last year, has seen strong pre-orders, suggesting it will be a big seller.
Canadian Ubisoft developer Dominic Guay said technology is now making it possible to foresee a world not unlike that in British writer George Orwell’s novel “1984,” in which Big Brother watches and controls everything.
He also pointed out the rise of “smart cities” in which traffic, utilities and other systems are optimized by centralized computing networks.
Versions of “Watch Dogs” have been tailored for play on Sony’s new-generation PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One as well as the previous generation of those consoles.
The game, priced at $60 in the US, can also be played on computers powered by Windows software.