Ubisoft, can we just pause for a moment and take stock? 2020 has not been kind, has it? Coronavirus, bushfires, it’s really been a mess for the greater populace, hasn’t it? You haven’t gotten off fully scot-free either. I mean there was that little PR blunder when it was revealed that you turned a blind eye to high-ranking workers being predators. Shame that we had to expose the systemic issues that led to that horrifying little showcase of some of the worst things the industry has on offer. I know you tried to say sorry about all this, but we really need to discuss some of the ridiculous things you’ve been up to recently. Today though, let’s focus on your other little racket, and take a look at the political elements in your video games.
Here’s the story: Ubisoft is once again claiming something inherently political holds no such politics. It isn’t a new story, that much will be certain by the end of the article. What is new is that they’re truly reaching new depths of depravity. In their mobile game “Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad”, the enemy is a terrorist organisation. In order to enact their acts of terrorism, they hide behind a façade of liberal protesters. Unfortunately, Ubisoft had made the decision to use a clenched fist as a symbol of the terrorist organisation. Whilst this could technically follow any liberal movement, the obvious comparison drawn is to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Thankfully they have since revoked the iconography, but the damage was already done. BLM has recently seen a resurgence following the deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and sadly so many more people of colour. To use this symbol to represent a terrorist organisation (as seen in the video above) seems incredibly offensive.
Let’s discard the obvious counterargument that this is some weird coincidence. Sure, the BLM movement only flared up comparatively recently on a game development timeline scale. But this is merely a resurgence of liberal protests, that have been bubbling away for years. Furthermore, there’s been a right-wing narrative that has followed the BLM protests for just as long. Such a narrative is present all the time. News broadcasts follow and focus on the looters and the property damage and such. This is partially just a facet of trying to make the coverage exciting. However, it does give ammo to critics who can trot out “the ends don’t justify the means” and “I’m not supporting criminals” rebuttals. For the truly zealous right-wingers and the conspirators, there’s the narrative of the liberal terrorists. The belief that protests are meant to mask attempts to allow some non-specific anarchy to rule and destroy modern society. To make a game that tries to further this narrative is abhorrent. With that said, I continue to be insulted by Ubisoft’s lame attempt to distance itself from politics.