Ubisoft Insists Latest Game, [INSERT NAME], Isn’t Political

Ubisoft Insists Latest Game, [INSERT NAME], Isn’t Political
Image: Ubisoft

Today, Ubisoft showed off some new gameplay from the upcoming [INSERT GENRE] game [INSERT NAME.] The footage shows that the game’s setting and story seem to be politically charged and potentially filled with commentary about [INSERT CURRENT EVENT]. However, as usual, Ubisoft has been quick to explain that, no, this game is not, in fact, political. You are all just mistaken, once again.

In a video today showcasing [INSERT GAME NAME], we saw a conflict-torn region and characters talking about politically charged events. The parallels to real-world issues seemed clear, and to most observers watching the trailers and gameplay, it would seem obvious that [INSERT GAME] is political. But in an interview with [INSERT OUTLET], Ubisoft made it clear that wasn’t the case.

[INSERT UBISOFT QUOTE HERE. Maybe it’s the one where they say “our game doesn’t want to make a political statement.”]

This isn’t the first time Ubisoft has had to clear up these kinds of misconceptions. Previously, [INSERT EARLIER UBISOFT GAME] also seemed political, but the developers were quick to stress that [INSERT QUOTE, like the one that says “the goal isn’t to make a political statement.”]

Additionally, [INSERT MORE RECENT UBISOFT GAME] also seemed political, but a developer explained that [INSERT QUOTE, maybe the one about “we’re not trying to make political statements in our games.”]

Ubisoft is aware that it struggles with politics, but it continues to make clearly political games and then deny any connections to real-world politics or desire to comment on same. As usual, fans and critics are [INSERT ONLINE REACTIONS IN WHICH EVERYONE POINTS OUT THE OBVIOUS].

Whether refusing to own a game’s politics is a way to avoid alienating fans and losing out on potential sales, or whether these unfortunate mixups just keep happening for no readily apparent reason, surely this is the last time Ubisoft will have to explain all this stuff. Or, well, try to explain it.

[INSERT UPDATE FOR WHEN IT HAPPENS AGAIN]

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Comments

  • Often I think it’s just us hoping these big game publishers agree with our political views or want to rage at game developers for having a conflicting position to us. We all want a reaction these days

    There is no doubt that the games often makes reference to sociopolitical issues. However, to call it “political” implies the game is making a particular political statement on one side or another and I think Ubisoft has generally avoided that fairly well…

  • This is actually Zack’s copy and paste article for every Ubisoft game. Boy, its going to be embarassing when they release Pong and he attacks them for denying the politics of it.

  • Could it be Ubisoft doesn’t want to alienate their audience? We who read and comment or write articles are not the vast majority of the target audience. most in fact don’t give a damn about the politics and just want to enjoy a good time with the game. if they start marketing it as making some political statements it’s going to turn away more potential customers, than those impotently raging over how it doesn’t acknowledge the things they want it to acknowledge.

  • Oh how I bet if an Ubisoft game implied the ‘correct’ political statements that certain authors would be praising them, instead of constantly and repeatedly taking shots at them for not wanting to take some fucking grand stand with a video game they’re developing.

  • A game not making a political statement =/= the game not containing any political themes or events. It is entirely possible for a game to explore political themes and events without taking a stance on them.

    The question asked by TheGamer was loaded and aimed at getting a gotcha moment from a Dev. It is puerile gutter drag journalism. Which is not suprising coming from TheGamer given their history and employees.

    This article is childish.

    • For example.

      I make a documentary that documents the 2016 American election events in their entirety. But it does not make a statement on the results or the things that occurred. It simply shows everything that occurred. That’s an item that explores/ Shows a political event without taking a stance on the events that occurred

      Then I make a documentary titled “How Donald Trump stole the 2016 election” and document my allegations of his transgressions and crimes. This would be an item that is making a political statement.

      Politics in media is not some zero-sum game where it can only be portrayed in one way or another. There is such a thing as nuance.

      • In short, there’s a difference between discussing politics and being a proponent of political propaganda. The former is fine, but the latter is where there’s problems because no one is buying a video game to have politics preached at them, regardless of the side.

        Immortals: Fenyx Rising definitely had political content/jokes, but they were executed in such a way that you were meant to laugh at them given who was talking about them. Execution is everything.

      • I get your point and it makes sense when addressing real life events, but it doesn’t apply so well to a work of fiction. In a game where the location, events, people etc are all fictional, then every decision regarding how to frame and navigate the themes and events is intentional. They’re not just making an objective account of something that has happened and letting players form their own opinion. They are creating the conflict, writing the motives and consequences for the characters, and defining the impact these events have on the fictional world, and in doing so are inevitably creating this narrative to show the player what they want the player to see. You can’t claim objectivity or impartiality when everything you create is intentionally written.

        • Yeah, but Death of the Author is a thing. It doesn’t matter what your authorial intent is (as nice as it would be for everyone to be able to divine authorial intent instantly) when the the people playing the game are going to be playing it through their own personal lens of interpretation and will experience the game through their own context and, if applicable, their own political experience. It’s also entirely possible that, knowing this, Ubisoft leaves it vague enough to encourage the player to make broader interpretations that allude historical events without strictly taking a side on those historical events (i.e. not allowing your character to commit war crimes, for example).

          The writing itself might be entirely intentional, but that doesn’t mean that the impact on the audience and the message they take away from it is going to be the same for everyone.

      • How much time does your ‘non-political’ documentary give to critics of each candidate? How do you choose which critics are credible and worth giving time in your documentary? You can’t show events ‘in their entirety’ – your documentary will have a time limit, so you’re going to have to choose which events to show and which end up on the cutting room floor. Does it show the longer voting queues in minority electorates, or maps of gerrymandered electorates? Does it present evidence that Clinton used an insecure email server, and if so, does it also interrogate the Trump campaign’s IT security? Does your documentary cover the Johnson and Stein campaigns (and, in doing so, how much credibility does it give to the notion of third parties in American politics)? Does it make any effort to correct inaccurate statements made by either candidate or their supporters? How much coverage is given to candidates’ climate or foreign policies?

        No matter what your answers are to any of these questions, they’re all political choices.

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