E3 2019: Ubisoft drops Watch Dogs Legion trailer, set in post-Brexit UK

Ubisoft has formally announced Watch Dogs Legion during their E3 2019 press briefing, the third entry in their open-world action franchise about hackers and the surveillance state.

Legion takes the series out of United States for the first time, heading across the pond to London. The choice of London is a pertinent one — the UK capital is one of the most heavily surveilled cities in the world. Cameras are everywhere and its populace is well-used to being under the watchful eye of Big Brother. Add to this a country in rapid economic decline following its departure from the European Union and you have all the elements of a great Watch Dogs setting.

Ubisoft insists that the choice to set the game in a post-Brexit version of the UK does not mean it has anything political to say. This is, of course, absurd, but not the first time Ubisoft have tried to tow this line. Earlier this year they were busily insisting that The Division 2, a game that featured a destroyed Washington D.C., in which freedom fighters base themselves in the ruins of the White House as they attempt to rebuild their shattered lives, had no greater political message to communicate. Certainly nothing political there, not a skerrick of subtext in that one.

The trailer features a lot of NPC hopping and gunplay, including Helen the Hacker Grandma that E3 has fallen in love with. Permadeath plays a significant role in the game — like XCOM, if you lose a soldier, you lose them for good. You can recruit and play as anyone, they’re all fully simulated. Anyone in the city, anyone you bump into can potentially be recruited and have their own origin story.

Watch Dogs Legion leaked early last week thanks to an errant listing on Amazon UK, a move that raised eyebrows given the content of the game. PR plant? You decide. We had a feeling it would be a Watch Dogs year — Ubisoft had made it clear that Assassin’s Creed would be returning to the backburner in 2019, leaving their Q4 holiday release schedule wide open.

Watch Dogs Legion arrives March 6, 2020 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.

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David Smith

David Smith is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously worked as a freelance games journalist and critic, appearing on PC World Australia. He tweets at @RhunWords and plays the odd game at twitch.tv/RhunWords when the internet works.