Ubisoft Exec Talks About Why The Company's Games Don't Want To Take Political Stances

Pyro

Member
Jul 30, 2018
2,935
United States
It’s really because of money, but the fact that they’re basically saying “both sides” is adding fucking insult to injury.
 

Eolz

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
7,601
FR
That statement is ridiculous, like anything they've said on that topic since a few years.
Good thread from Mike Bithell:
 

Anno

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,599
Columbus, Ohio
Christ, what a shame that game companies with this amount of influence and audience waste it all being such cowards. Guess I’ll go on never spending a dollar on their products, and I wish more people would do the same.
 

SolidSnakex

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,115
Christ, what a shame that game companies with this amount of influence and audience waste it all being such cowards. Guess I’ll go on never spending a dollar on their products, and I wish more people would do the same.
To be fair, UBI seems to be the only company that has this stance. Which is why it's so strange.
 

Anno

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,599
Columbus, Ohio
To be fair, UBI seems to be the only company that has this stance. Which is why it's so strange.
Are they? We had EA out there a couple days ago saying that their depiction of WW2 in the newest Battlefield game wasn't political, and that a German officer was in fact not a Nazi, just a "German soldier" like it was some kind of moral gray area.

Ubi are the worst offenders for sure but I think there's plenty of cowardice to go around.
 

SolidSnakex

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,115
Are they? We had EA out there a couple days ago saying that their depiction of WW2 in the newest Battlefield game wasn't political, and that a German officer was in fact not a Nazi, just a "German soldier" like it was some kind of moral gray area.

Ubi are the worst offenders for sure but I think there's plenty of cowardice to go around.
I hadn't seen the Battlefield quote. But that's a big WTF. I know they're trying to save their ass from the embarrassment of the whole situation, but there are so many better ways to go about that. Like not labeling a Nazi as just a German soldier.
 

Anno

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,599
Columbus, Ohio
This doesn't make sense. Art is inherently political. Ubisoft's games are overtly political despite the massive efforts they undertake to water it down. They just take nothing by prominently political imagery and try to water it down because they don't want to more overtly dunk on whatever right wing terrorists they're trying to leverage. They're just cowards.
 

BradGrenz

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,049
I totally understand why they want to be evasive when asked these questions, but their entire communication strategy is irrevocably doomed to failure currently.

I think the strategy they should adopt is to simply say the games speak for themselves.
 
Of course it would be the publisher with some of the most overtly political games on the market who would most constantly insist otherwise.

I agree with this. At the end of the day people play games to have fun, not to be engaged in politics.
There's one in every thread...

What if I told you that attempting to disengage from politics is itself a political stance?
 

WedgeX

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,715
You can make a point while doing justice to all viewpoints (which entails acknowledging that some/most/all viewpoints are flawed in certain ways but usually right in some others), but that sort of nuance and backbone seems to be lost on Ubisoft's writing and direction staff.

God I hope they don't try to write a game about Nazis.
They’re certainly not responsible enough to do so. Lord.
 

Hawkster

Member
Mar 23, 2019
911
Christ, what a shame that game companies with this amount of influence and audience waste it all being such cowards. Guess I’ll go on never spending a dollar on their products, and I wish more people would do the same.
Am I supposed to stop playing their games I'm passionate about just to send a message?
 

Anno

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,599
Columbus, Ohio
Am I supposed to stop playing their games I'm passionate about just to send a message?
At the end of the day this is entertainment, so do what makes you happy. I don't begrudge anyone their leisure time with video games. I just personally wish that more people would push back on this ridiculous stance - both because it is ridiculous but also because their games could be so much more interesting.
 

Orwell

Banned
Jun 6, 2019
345
How do you release multiple series under the Tom Clancy brand, which originates from an author who was a vocal critic of Democrats and staunch supporter of impartial darlings of the middle like Reagan, and say you're not taking a political stance? The more they gaslight the public about how non-political they are, the less likely I am to buy anything they release in the future.
 

Imran

Member
Oct 24, 2017
2,807
I totally understand why they want to be evasive when asked these questions, but their entire communication strategy is irrevocably doomed to failure currently.

I think the strategy they should adopt is to simply say the games speak for themselves.
They're putting something up to point to when they get questions about Watch Dogs 3's politics so they don't repeat "Our games are apolitical" in every interview.
 

Dohma

Member
Oct 27, 2017
48
I'm bit lost why Ubisoft raises this agression from people here. I don't think their games generally are problematic at all, though maybe I'm missing something. Sure the AC Odyssey DLC stuff was definitely a blunder, but atleast they adressed it and tried to fix that a bit. Their games have rather great minority and female representation (in context of AAA games atleast), not sure why we have people saying they're pandering to nazis or alt-right. Seems really stupid and come out of nowhere. Why the fuck people think Ubi games or the people at the helm would be saying "maybe nazis are right" or some shit, it's such a stretch that it hurts. The GG-types keep raging how Ubi panders to SJW:s and Era-types keep shouting how Ubi panders to nazis. It's wild.
I spent like 20 minutes trying find my account for this site just to post how much I agree with this.

Everyone is throwing a tantrum acting like Ubisoft is “PANDERING TO THE RIGHT WUNGERS :((((“ are people being serious or is this some sort of inside joke lol? I don’t really know what people were able to take away from the Ubisoft exec, was really just a word fart of nothing imo.
 

Jintor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,559
I'm bit lost why Ubisoft raises this agression from people here. I don't think their games generally are problematic at all, though maybe I'm missing something. Sure the AC Odyssey DLC stuff was definitely a blunder, but atleast they adressed it and tried to fix that a bit. Their games have rather great minority and female representation (in context of AAA games atleast), not sure why we have people saying they're pandering to nazis or alt-right. Seems really stupid and come out of nowhere. Why the fuck people think Ubi games or the people at the helm would be saying "maybe nazis are right" or some shit, it's such a stretch that it hurts. The GG-types keep raging how Ubi panders to SJW:s and Era-types keep shouting how Ubi panders to nazis. It's wild.
honestly that's the thing

their games are obviously, de facto, making political statements. You can't possibly use such heavily politically charged imagery like Washington in ruins or advertise a game as being about the post-Brexit surveillance state without saying at least something about politics.

It's just weird that they insist that they're not political. It's like someone selling you a football essay they wrote but insisting they have no views on sports. It's utterly bizarre
 

Dohma

Member
Oct 27, 2017
48
honestly that's the thing

their games are obviously, de facto, making political statements. You can't possibly use such heavily politically charged imagery like Washington in ruins or advertise a game as being about the post-Brexit surveillance state without saying at least something about politics.

It's just weird that they insist that they're not political. It's like someone selling you a football essay they wrote but insisting they have no views on sports. It's utterly bizarre
your right but I think the guy was talking about people who are like “omg Ubisoft support *REPUBLICANS* >:(“ when A LOT of their games have an obvious political message and quite frankly, those messages are pretty “liberal”
 

Dymaxion

Member
Sep 19, 2018
666
Fools will believe that kind of talk. Everyone, including the people who just want video games to be toys, has to admit eventually that politics makes stories interesting. Ubisoft is making political messages whether they like it or not.
 

Disgraced

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,358
Crystal Cove
honestly that's the thing

their games are obviously, de facto, making political statements. You can't possibly use such heavily politically charged imagery like Washington in ruins or advertise a game as being about the post-Brexit surveillance state without saying at least something about politics.

It's just weird that they insist that they're not political. It's like someone selling you a football essay they wrote but insisting they have no views on sports. It's utterly bizarre
Yep, the dancing around is what's agitating. It'd be so much better if he shat up. Just shut up Ubisoft. We know the huge, huge piles of money are really important to you and that you're spineless. You don't have to worry about losing any money or revealing your invertebrate nature any more if you just shut the fuck up.
 

Tzarscream

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,653
Rather than pointing to this limited section from Game Informer's site, you should like to the actual full interview, which is Ubisoft posted on their own website.

I'm still reading it so I'm not going to excerpt too much. But they're definitely aware of what they're doing.
This doesn’t make any sense, their games don’t even make statements strong or clear enough that it’d make you think or see a different viewpoint.
 

ibrahima

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,370
How on earth are you supposed to be apolitical when you've released about 40 Tom Clancy games.
 

Aine

Member
May 27, 2019
1,597
Ah, enlightened centrism: spewing apathetic bullshit and pretenting you're above it all for doing so.
 

Soj

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,888
But their games do take political stances...

I'm getting really sick of this line of bullshit from them.
 

P-Tux7

Member
Mar 11, 2019
681
I remember Division 1 where your completely unrestrained militarized police force murders a bunch of escaped prisoners after one black woman gives a speech about law enforcement violence and the lack of social value placed on their lives. The one who gives the speech has a high chance of dropping legendaries.

Thank you, Ubi, for bringing us this attempted objectivity. It truly broadened my horizons.
They incentivize you to shoot someone who's speaking out against killing. Please tell me that you're kidding
 

Strider0457

Member
Dec 27, 2017
1,524
They incentivize you to shoot someone who's speaking out against killing. Please tell me that you're kidding
This is literally a thing that happens. The boss yells that she knows when the Division leaves, she'll just be "another black body on the pile." Killing her completes the mission and awards you legendaries. This is done completely and utterly uncritically.

The idea that Ubisoft's games aren't political is a complete farce and blatant commentary on how Ubi execs perceive the intelligence of their audience.
 

P-Tux7

Member
Mar 11, 2019
681
This is literally a thing that happens. The boss yells that she knows when the Division leaves, she'll just be "another black body on the pile." Killing her completes the mission and awards you legendaries. This is done completely and utterly uncritically.

The idea that Ubisoft's games aren't political is a complete farce and blatant commentary on how Ubi execs perceive the intelligence of their audience.
Wait, she talks about RACE too? I thought it was bad enough when you were rewarded for shooting someone who's angry about prisoner mistreatment. Fuck Ubisoft for not shutting that shit down.
 

crazillo

Member
Apr 5, 2018
1,766
Stuttgart, Germany
While I can understand their position from a company perspective, it also explains why many of their game stories still feel rather flat despite their real-world historical or contemporary settings. In the end, games that are too big seem to avoid any risks, and taking political statements seems to be considered as one such risk. Just trying to make sense of what Ubisoft says, not defending it.
 

Garlic

Member
Oct 28, 2017
868
I honestly don't even care about the politics of Ubisoft games, but for the love of god stop trying to blow smoke up people's asses
 

60fps

Member
Dec 18, 2017
2,202
You can make a point while doing justice to all viewpoints (which entails acknowledging that some/most/all viewpoints are flawed in certain ways but usually right in some others), but that sort of nuance and backbone seems to be lost on Ubisoft's writing and direction staff.
My thoughts exactly.

I remember Division 1 where your completely unrestrained militarized police force murders a bunch of escaped prisoners after one black woman gives a speech about law enforcement violence and the lack of social value placed on their lives. The one who gives the speech has a high chance of dropping legendaries.

Thank you, Ubi, for bringing us this attempted objectivity. It truly broadened my horizons.
Lol.
 

Klyka

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,755
Germany
This is literally a thing that happens. The boss yells that she knows when the Division leaves, she'll just be "another black body on the pile." Killing her completes the mission and awards you legendaries. This is done completely and utterly uncritically.

The idea that Ubisoft's games aren't political is a complete farce and blatant commentary on how Ubi execs perceive the intelligence of their audience.
Wait, she talks about RACE too? I thought it was bad enough when you were rewarded for shooting someone who's angry about prisoner mistreatment. Fuck Ubisoft for not shutting that shit down.
This is the character in question: https://thedivision.fandom.com/wiki/Larae_Barrett
The info on the wiki there is taken from the lore book which I have too.
The quote is "Just another number, huh? Just more black blood that you accept."— Larae coming out to fight the JTF and Division agents"
 
Oct 29, 2017
3,563
User Banned (5 Days): Inflammatory generalisation.
Ubisoft know that most people who buy their games are alt-right nazis; they aren't going to want to piss them off.

You want to disprove that? Well that's on you to take a stance then.
 

Budi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,460
Finland
honestly that's the thing

their games are obviously, de facto, making political statements. You can't possibly use such heavily politically charged imagery like Washington in ruins or advertise a game as being about the post-Brexit surveillance state without saying at least something about politics.

It's just weird that they insist that they're not political. It's like someone selling you a football essay they wrote but insisting they have no views on sports. It's utterly bizarre
I very rarely if ever see people talking about the political messaging of Ubisoft games and what they mean. And yeah they definitely use political backgrounds and themes in their games a lot (which they're not denying), but I really don't think they are saying much. I feel their games definitely are "games first", so to speak. The games are easy to play without thinking any real life parallels and interacting with politics, they're not quite on the nose like "Aug lives matter" in Deus Ex in example. Maybe some people here are getting clear statements from their games, but I definitely fail to see how that message could be "nazis could be right". Of course their games can spark a political discussion and Ubi isn't at all against that. Like is said in the blog this article is about.
To clarify, what we want players to get out of these games is an education, or at least an experience of different ideologies, different worlds, different environments, different experiences, so that they can then formulate their own ideas, and then bring those with them, and interact with real world people with those ideas and those experiences. Would you say that's correct?

TF:
That's correct. We don't want them to be apolitical. We want them to be include multiple political themes so players can experience multiple points of view, learn from them, educate, and share.
I spent like 20 minutes trying find my account for this site just to post how much I agree with this.

Everyone is throwing a tantrum acting like Ubisoft is “PANDERING TO THE RIGHT WUNGERS :((((“ are people being serious or is this some sort of inside joke lol? I don’t really know what people were able to take away from the Ubisoft exec, was really just a word fart of nothing imo.
Yeah it reminds me a bit of Youtube comments I read two days ago that left me baffled, I wasn't sure if it was some inside joke or troll campaign. While listening to the Doom Sigil soundtrack by Buckethead, I started reading the comments and I saw someone be shocked that Buckethead is satan worshipper now. They thought he is because of the Doom Sigil cover art with baphomet and numbers 666 on it. To the first comment I just chuckled, but then scrolling down there was like 10 similar comments. I couldn't comprehend how the cover art was enough to convince people that he's a satan worshipper or a satanist and they would stop listening Buckethead because of it. Why do they take the cover art as some message or endorsement of satan. Can't one just use such imagery without telling people to worship satan or meaning that they do? Similarly I think it's entirely possible to make a game with political background without really saying much with it. To present the scenario and let people draw their own conclusions if they so wish. If people think that's a waste of the political setting and themes and Ubi could be doing more with that, then sure I'd probably agree. But jumping to satan worship nazi pandering seems bit much.

I have hard time believing person like this would work at Ubisoft Massive if the studio/publisher was empathetic to nazis in any way. And this person probably knows more about Ubi and their values than any of we do. Neither do you have a black transgender character in your game if you want to pander to nazis/alt-right/gg. Everyone knows that the simple inclusion of characters like that will cause some outrage from assholes, Ubi does know too yet they still included the character.
 
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Scherzo

Member
Nov 27, 2017
426
I'm someone who's generally sympathetic to 'shootybang as catharsis', but Ubisoft really, really has to stop digging themselves deeper on this topic. When Game Informer of all places is questioning the practicality of your stance you have to wonder if you've bet on the wrong horse here. This is really getting to the point of 'the lady doth protest too much' territory.