Anonymity can bring out the worst in certain people. As long as we've had the Internet, we've all known this fact to be true. Every single day, we see examples of misogyny, racism, homophobia, and other indefensible actions taking place on the Internet, whether in form of harmful comments posted on a message board or other disguised behaviors.
Unfortunately, the gaming world isn't immune to these sorts of trolls either. We're all familiar with the types of people who can frequent online gaming communities; the worst of these are the kind of individuals who aren't afraid to say whatever they want so long as they have a gamer tag to hide behind.
And as Kotaku reports, these people have found a new method for expressing their misguided vitriol: targeted attacks in Ubisoft's latest title, Watch Dogs. Using the game's "Profiler" device, certain players have been abusing the game's features so that they may hone in on people of color, homosexuals, and other minority groups, and then methodically eliminate them.
The video above, posted by YouTube user Moopoke, is titled, "Making the World a Better Place," and it features Watch Dogs protagonist Aiden Pearce hunting down minorities at his controller's whim. The video description reads, "One bullet at a time."
In an unsettling twist, one figure associated with the creation and development of Watch Dogs has been less than apologetic for the actions taking place within the virtual world. After being questioned by game developer David Gallant about this emerging story, Watch Dogs screenwriter Ethan James Petty replied, "[That's the] sick reality we live in—people's privacy reduced to facts. Profiler at its core *should* be offensive to everyone." On May 28, Petty also tweeted, "I can't wait to see how you guys abuse our poor npcs in #WatchDogs. Be sure to take screenshots!"
Petty's take on the issue is undeniably cynical, and hopefully doesn't represent the body of opinion for the entire Watch Dogs development team. Alongside his cynicism, the screenwriter's take is also lazy. It's hard to express regret for certain aspects of your creation when it's freshly released. It's easy to disregard other people's concerns and say, "So it goes." At the very least, let's hope his hindsight is 20/20.
And whether you side with Petty, you can't deny that these attacks are anything other than the video game community at its worst. It's also difficult to argue that this is the type of conversation Watch Dogs wants to be thrusting itself into. The game has already endured plenty of criticism for its failure to live up to the considerable expectations its delays and flashy trailers nurtured. The video above is just more fodder for bad press.