Ubisoft and the Trayvon Martin Watch Dogs NPC
If the screenshots are to be believed, Ubisoft has inserted an NPC with a shocking resemblance to violence victim Trayvon Martin. As indie game artist Kent Sheely put it, "...if you can't read it, there's a dead black kid wearing a hoodie in Watch_Dogs with the name "Kavon Fortin."
For anyone needing a rehash of the unfortunate case from last year, Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old teenager fatally shot by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman.
There has been a lot of political upheaval around this case, and a lot of people rightfully angry about the situation. The hoodie, which Martin was shot in as well as photographed in before his death, became a symbol for the people angered by his murder and attributed the crime to racism and profiling. In fact, there was even a Million Hoodie March held in Manhattan after his death.
This unfortunate "Easter Egg" was originally discovered by Twitter user @crushingbort, who described finding Kavon, who was in the game as a 21 year old drug dealer, as a random criminal in a criminal convoy mission. Ubisoft has previously stated that these identities are randomly assigned, with enemy NPC's being randomly generated.
However, with the striking resemblance to the name of the dead teenager as well as the signature hoodie, this seems to be an intentional placement.
There are a couple of questions that Ubisoft needs to come forward and answer. A lot of the content in Watch Dogs is randomly generated, and it is possible to have been the result of an errant Random Number Generator.
At the same time, this reference is a little too on-point to have been entirely accidental, and someone may have inserted it. Considering that this references the death of an unarmed seventeen year old, it's insertion is malicious at best.
One could argue that this was done for the sake of humor, someone tittering "too soon" behind demure hands, but this was someone's son. Someone's friend. He's not a punchline, no matter your politics.Originally Published Jun. 5th 2014