GameSkinny

Ubisoft and the Trayvon Martin Watch Dogs NPC

Trayvon Martin NPC found by fans in Watch_Dogs.

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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

Associate Editor

Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.

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Comments
  • 1
    Ralph Wiggum_2200 1 month ago
    If most of you guys would actually play the game, you would know that the names are randomly generated and assigned to various people. This name in the pic was on a random person on mine unlike the one in the article. It just so happened to be an african american person with a hoodie.
  • 1
    John M_3152 2 months ago
    The idiocy of this article, and the corresponding video is nothing short of depressing. I understand if you haven't played the game, as everyone is not a gamer, but you could have at the VERY least done some research before you wrote this drivel. This article was seriously some damned lazy journalism. I know this isn't CNN or anything like that, but c'mon, at least have a little pride in your work.

    The writer seriously just regurgitated some crap she saw in a video, without bothering to question the credibility of the source. The fact that exactly ONE person has reported seeing this particular NPC should have been a dead giveaway that the NPC was randomly generated. Every person who has done a Criminal Convoy mission would have no doubt ran into this NPC by now, and posted/tweeted/whatever evidence that it was an Easter egg, and not a randomly generated enemy. This was a hardcore stretch, whether you want to admit it or not.
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 1
    Mvega87 2 months ago
    I'm sorry but that really is stretching it. So because he's black, and he's wearing a hoodie, and you can choose to pronounce his name in a way that rhymes with Trayvon that means that it's an intentional reference in a game of randomly generated characters? Normally I like the articles on here, but this is pretty Fox News quality. :/

    Also not really sure how the Assassin's Creed disclaimer is related.
  • 60
    Amanda Wallace 2 months ago
    Associate Editor
    I was pointing out that previously Ubisoft has shown an interest in presenting themselves as politically correct. It gives credence to the argument that the NPC was randomly generated and not inserted maliciously.
  • 1
    J Gordon 2 months ago
    This is non sense...
    Watch Dogs was in creation for 5 years before it finally came out. Trayvon Martin died(2/12) a year before the projected release date if i am not mistaken then it got pushed back extending the length of time all the way to 2014. People will do anything to get attention or cause some controversy let me people rest in peace instead of thinking someone is trying to make a political statement... this industry is about fame and money that's it..
  • 25
    Germaximus 2 months ago
    Correspondent
    There's a lot of characters wearing hoodies in the game. That is definitely stretching it. And for the newscaster to go on saying "Ubisoft is making fun of the kids death". Seriously? Dumb.
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 60
    Amanda Wallace 2 months ago
    Associate Editor
    I'm sorry you misunderstood me.

    I said that if they added the reference in intentionally that it was poor form and that it would've been using his death as a punchline. As Ubisoft has not yet commented and the possibility still exists for it being random, I can't call it anything.
  • 25
    Germaximus 2 months ago
    Correspondent
    I didn't misunderstand you. I was quoting the newscaster. Sorry. =p
    Edited other comment.
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 35
    Proto Foe 2 months ago
    Senior Intern
    Wow, some stretching has been done by that news station.

    African American teenager who has a randomly assigned name and is wearing a hoodie? It reminds me of this tripe - http://www.gameskinny.com/ckku6/lindsay-lohan-sues-rockstar-games-over-grand-theft-auto-v - News be news, I guess.
    Last edited 2 months ago
  • 65
    Katy Hollingsworth 2 months ago
    Former Staff Editor
    Not a ton of stretching. The names are very similar, especially when said aloud.
  • 60
    Amanda Wallace 2 months ago
    Associate Editor
    Nah. This is different from the Lindsay Lohan thing. For one, Lindsay Lohan is constantly trying to get into the news and continues to sue people to be relevant.

    This is pretty coincidental. I agree that it could've been completely random, but it's really not that much of a stretch. Trayvon Martin's name is pretty distinctive, and the name rhymes in a very particular way. I think there's a reasonable chance that it was done intentionally.
  • 65
    Katy Hollingsworth 2 months ago
    Former Staff Editor
    Not to mention Lohan is still alive. Treading on a murder that may have racist elements to it is pretty risky. Most companies would steer very wide and very clear of those types of issues.
  • 35
    Proto Foe 2 months ago
    Senior Intern
    If it really is so much of an issue then Ubisoft will patch it out, I would like to think that Ubisoft wouldn't place such an easter egg inside any of their titles.

    Still standing by it's a stretch,

    Nice article though, as always.
  • 60
    Amanda Wallace 2 months ago
    Associate Editor
    The reason I'm still on the fence about this is that Ubisoft is the same studio behind this:
    “This game was developed by a multicultural team of various faiths and beliefs.”

    The disclaimer that preceeds the Assassin's Creed games.

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