Watch Dogs: Legion - Operatives

As much as the games industry harps about inclusion and representation, the scale of actual representation continues to be tipped in the more Anglo-Saxon, male direction. Sure, there have been games in the past that offered a diverse cast of characters or a main protagonist that skews a little darker on the shading spectrum, but by and large, the medium still seems to feel at home telling stories about white men.

This is where Watch Dogs: Legion really shines for me. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise for longtime Ubisoft fans. Although Ubisoft has fostered a toxic work environment since the dawn of time, and has allegedly expressed doubt in the profitability of games led by female characters, their track record for offering diversity, at least within the male spectrum, has been pretty even-keeled for some time now. By industry standards, I mean, not as an ideal.

So when Watch Dogs: Legion gave me the chance to recruit a construction worker for a mission, and then directed me toward a local construction site to recruit said worker, it is to Ubisoft’s credit that I had the option to freely choose from a small yet diverse cast of girder jockeys based solely on personal preference.

Watch Dogs: Legion - Norma Hall

I, of course, went with Norma Hall, a compact little firebrand with an adorable Jamaican patois and bleach-blonde locks. Her features work especially well when paired with the enormous wrench clung over her shoulder. Sure, I could’ve gone with one of the two white guys who were also milling about, but I’ve already played versions of those characters ad nauseum. I can’t recall the last game that allowed me to play as a character with Norma Hall’s background and point of view, as limited as it is in the grand scheme of things.

Need a hacker? Do a little digging and you’ll find any number available to recruit. And within that group of candidates, you will almost certainly find someone who better reflects you, or projects the image of someone that you might not typically explore in the realm of video games.

Sure, a Kratos-like character can give you the visual appeal of a brutal powerhouse, with bulging muscles and a demon’s snarl. But no one suspects Leah Rosenbaum, all of 5′ 5″, to come bursting through the door with guns blazing, taking no crap or prisoners.

Watch Dogs: Legion - Leah Rosenbaum

Age, sex, ethnicity, possibly religion (I haven’t found a nun to recruit yet) — it’s all fair game. You can tailor your own A-Team to your heart’s content.

I personally like the idea of a 50-year-old investor named Josh Dalton, dressed like a character out of a 1950s Christmas movie, wrecking shop in a gang hideout, presumably between sips of tea (judging by his tweed overcoat).

Watch Dogs: Legion - Norma Hall

This, of course isn’t to say that playing as a stock white guy character is a bad thing; it’s not. I personally love your Alan Wakes or your Tommy Angelos; the guy from The Long Dark or Joel Miller from The Last of Us. And if that is who you identify as, or prefer to play as, by all means have your fair share. But for those of us that usually get relegated to embarrassing representations like Barret Wallace or any other deep-voiced, bad-mofo. jive-talking S.O.B., it’s nice to just see a regular person that happens to be black or Asian or female or nonbinary or older or heavier or shorter or just an annoying A-hole.

And that’s where Watch Dogs: Legion really excels. It presents a dystopian world in which everyone is up against the wall, regardless of race or gender, and they all must come together for the common good of humanity.

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