Brixton – dynamic, oppressed and a game

Getting out the PlayStation to survive a locked down Christmas? You could join Richard Haas on a virtual stroll through our town in the grip of gangs and oppressive private companies …

game publicity image
Watch Dogs Legion publicity image

Several video games have been set in London. Few let you go as far out as Brixton.

The recently released Watch Dogs Legion not only includes Brixton, but may also be the first game to capture the diversity and dynamism of the area.

Despite being set in a dystopian future, the streets of Brixton in Watch Dogs Legion feel alive.

I can hear a variety of Caribbean and South Asian accents and see street vendors selling fruit and vegetables.

Watch Dogs Legion is an open world action game set in a fictionalised near-future dystopian London.

An oppressive private military company called Albion controls the city.

As a member of the hacker group DeadSec, it is your mission to reclaim London and liberate its citizens.

Watch Dogs Legion takes in all of central London. Players can go as far as Camden in the North and Brixton in the South.

Although it isn’t entirely true to life, the game’s version of the city is surprisingly accurate.

Its recreation of Brixton is very extensive. Using Google Street View, I have captured some well-known landmarks through Brixton and compared them to the Watch Dogs Legion version.

Join me as we explore a dystopian Brixton.

Tube station

I start my journey at the Brixton Underground station. In Watch Dogs Tube (Subway) stations work as fast-travel stations, allowing the player to travel instantly from one part of the map to another.

street scene
Electric Avenue
computer game screen grab

After I get out of the Tube station, I make my way to the left. Here I pass the world-famous Electric Avenue. Notice the sign above the building’s façade and the market stalls.

computer game screen grab
computer game screen grab

Continuing along Brixton Road, I pass the Ritzy cinema. The real life equivalent has been shut since October. In game, the surrounding area has been turned into one of the protest sites that are present across the city.

street scene with Edwardian building
computer game screen grab

As I glance over to the right, I can see Lambeth Town Hall. The Grade II listed building is strikingly accurate, albeit more grimy.

street scene
Screen grab from computer game

I head down Coldharbour Lane and reach the southern entrance to Brixton Village, which is called Brixton Arcade in Watch Dogs – perhaps a nod to its original name of Granville Arcade?

large housing block
Screen grab from computer game

On my right I pass Southwyck House, the Barrier Block. In Watch Dogs the estate is controlled by a criminal gang, Clan Kelly.

Finally, I finish my journey at music and community space Pop Brixton and grab myself a virtual drink.

shipping container park
Screen grab from computer game