How E3's Best Looking Game (So Far!) Rewrote History

Watch Dogs looks to be the best game you'll see at the E3 gaming expo this year. The plot — one of paranoia — seems like a hype version of reality. In the background trailer for the game, the stage is set by ripping a page out of history.

The game's background trailer starts off with by mentioning a blackout that happened on August 14, 2003. That's true, a blackout actually did happen — the second largest ever. But what about the rest of it?

&bull: "55 Million Americans"

The Watch Dogs trailer states that the blackout affected "55 million Americans across the Northeast". This is false.

The Northeast Blackout of 2003 affected 45 million Americans and 10 million Canadians. Canadians are not Americans.

"Panic spread throughout New York State, injuries hundreds."

Likewise, false — but with a caveat. Whenever there are blackouts, people will panic. The 2003 blackout wasn't helped by American electric trains shutting down, elevators stopping, communication problems, airport security checks not working, traffic lights shutting off, and initial fears of terrorism — very real fears after 9/11. But for a blackout impacting millions of Americans, people generally took it in stride — some using it as an excuse to drink heavily at bars.

Slate Magazine even did piece back in 2003, trying to pinpoint why there wasn't really any looting. Well, save for Ottawa.

"11 people died in the dark."

This is true. Eleven people did die during the blackout. Many of them died in fires or traffic accidents.

"What was to blame? A small vulnerability inside the state's transmission control room."

This is false. The blame was a perfect storm of deregulated and decaying infrastructure, oversight, and mismanagement, combined with a very hot summer that had the Northeast cranking up the A/C. Scientific American has a detailed look at how things went wrong.

"Raymond Kenney, a disgruntled employee, unleashed a virus and walked away."

False unless you believe in unproven conspiracy theories that star imaginary people.

• "Four hour later, the system overloaded, and the grid shutdown."

The system did overload, but the official timeline (viewable here) doesn't state it took four hours to overload. Well, the Watch Dogs timeline assumes there was a computer virus — so we'll cut them some slack.

What the trailer does not touch on is how the U.S. and Canada kept blaming each other for the blackout. Finally, the U.S. was discovered to be at fault and not our friends to the North. Sorry, Canada!

Watch Dogs is a work of fiction, and as a work of fiction, it's free to take whatever artistic it wants with real historical events — especially if it's going to make such an impressive looking game in the process. Carry on, Watch Dogs!

WATCH MORE: PC Gaming News


Comments

    Its a GAME who cares, also on the first thing:

    "The Watch Dogs trailer states that the blackout affected “55 million Americans across the Northeast”. This is false.

    The Northeast Blackout of 2003 affected 45 million Americans and 10 million Canadians. Canadians are not Americans."

    Last time I checked a map, Canada was located in North America, hence those who live in North America are Americans, unless the United States has some claim for the title. But then again you are from the USA so I can assume you have crap geography skills.

      There's a nation of people north of america that would like a word with you...

      Does that make all europeans chinese given China takes up a giant chunk of Europe bigger than most other land areas? Those french-chinese!!!!

        Yeah but Ubisoft ARE Canadians - if they're calling THEMSELVES Americans well it can't be that bad!

        You win the stupid comment of the year award.

        Of course Canadians are Americans, as are Mexicans and Brasilians etc. Chinese people are Asians and French people are Europeans.... I don't even understand that part of your comment.

          So you're saying we should identify people by continent, not by country?

          In that case, they'd be North Americans, whereas Mexicans/Brazilians are South Americans. Just calling them Americans implies that they are in fact from America. Which they are not. They are from Canada.

            @acetlyline im pretty sure mexico is in north america maybe everyone on this post should get a geography check every comment is as dumb as the next one and you guys are meant to be nerds

        weresmurf... ummm have you heard of Asia? its a whole continent of its own. China takes up a whole bunch of Asia

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29g57XTYgLE

    If this matters to you so much then why the hell aren't you criticising Assassin's Creed?

    He's not criticising the inaccuracies, rather just comparing real-world history to the history that is presented in the game. It's interesting as the uninformed wouldn't have known whether the game made that whole thing up, or whether it was all real. And it turns out its half and half.

    The concept is so cool and it will be an amazing game, but I have no interest in playing it... it's a weird feeling lol.

    "Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true! Facts, shmacks."

    Gosh, thanks Brian. Guess i won't be buying this game now because of the game breaking inconsistencies and ridiculous insensitivity towards Canadians.

    Honestly it just looks like a shit version of GTA on youtube.

      You need glasses.

    Best game at E3.... umm i think The Last of Us gives it a good run for it money.

    Why is there panic during blackouts?
    What the hell is wrong over there that people riot when the power goes out?

      Agreed. Light a candle and chill out! I can sort of understand people stuck in elevators and trains being a bit aggro, but sheesh.

    "The Northeast Blackout of 2003 affected 45 million Americans and 10 million Canadians. Canadians are not Americans."

    Not sure if that is meant to be sarcasm or not, but Canadians are Americans.

      What? If Canadians were Americans wouldn't they be called Americans?????

    "at the E3 gaming expo this year"

    At the Electronic Entertainment Expo gaming expo? ;)

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