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Ripped From The Headlines / Watch_Dogs 2

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Many of the missions are based off of the exploits of Anonymous and other then-recent events, albeit with more flair. This game is after all, a parody of modern life.

Examples

  • A politician deleting sensitive information that could compromise their political career was a significant topic of discussion in the 2016 presidential elections, around the time the game was released. Let's leave it at that.
  • Social media is accused of tailoring newsfeeds to promote the candidates that they prefer, much like Facebook and Google were accused of doing.
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  • During the Cyberdriver mission, Marcus is offended when the car's facial recognition software pops out an error message saying his face is "too dark" for the sensors to process. This is a real problem with facial recognition software which has been attributed to the lack of ethnic diversity in Silicon Valley engineers causing a gap in facial recognition training data.
  • One side mission involves Marcus trying to prevent a rap album being bought by Gene Carcani, the owner of a pharmaceuticals company that just jacked up the price of Leukaemia medication, which sounds similar to the antics of Martin Shkreli, the owner of a pharmaceuticals company that jacked up the price of AIDS medication, and who brought the only copy of a rap album by Wu-Tang Clan. There's also the fact that Shkreli unsucessfully tried to buy a copy of The Life of Pablo by Kanye West, for whom the rap artist who made the rap album Gene Carcani tries to buy in the game seems to be an Expy of. He's even called "the most hated man in America", just like Shkreli.
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  • Haum's quest line starts in a manner reminiscent of the HB Gary Federal incident where HB Gary's CEO had an interview where he claimed to have infiltrated Anonymous's inner circle and was going to expose "them" - or rather, people who supported Anonymous which drew the group's wrath, then being hacked as a massive retaliation.
  • The FBI going behind the law and getting hackers to give them exploits when they can't get warrants is very much an attack on the same group due to their very public feud with Apple to make them open up a terrorist's phone, then paying hackers to breach the phone instead (as well as not telling Apple how it was done despite a court order).
  • The mission series where Horatio is kidnapped and murdered by the Tezcas, and Marcus goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against them is possibly in reference to when the Zeta drug cartel threatened to kill people if Anonymous came after them.
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  • The 2007 Financial Crisis is an important part of the Auntie Shu Boys quest. It was an early test of Bellwether used to manipulate the financial markets, and it proves that Blume is involved in insider trading.
  • The questlines dealing with The New Dawn are a reference to Project Chanology, Anonymous' own attempts at dealing with the Church of Happyology.
  • One side op is based around a defense contractor mass-collecting data from around the city using stingray scanners, similar to the controversy that police around the US were buying and using these kinds of devices.
  • A radio host will compare the issues about black crimes vs white crimes by bringing up an incident where a rapist only got six months after violating a girl that passed out at a party, which is an obvious nod to the Brock Turner scandal.
  • A DLC mission which focused on hospitals in the area getting infected by ransomware is a reference to several real-life cyber-attacks happening on public sectors including local hospitals. However the DLC itself predates the real-life global-scale "Wannacry" ransomware attack that affects public sectors in the world, including hospitals.
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