Ubisoft says its games ignore politics. So why are they so political?

The Vice President of Editorial at Ubisoft, Tommy Francois, used E3 2019 to double down on the company’s position that it doesn’t mix politics with games. In an interview on Inside Ubisoft, he explained in detail how the company uses open world games with systems to simulate situations where players can experience all perspectives they…

Ubisoft says its games ignore politics. So why are they so political?

The Vice President of Editorial at Ubisoft, Tommy Francois, used E3 2019 to double down on the company’s position that it doesn’t mix politics with games. In an interview on Inside Ubisoft, he explained in detail how the company uses open world games with systems to simulate situations where players can experience all perspectives they would encounter in real life.
In response to Far Cry 5’s controversy, Francois said, “We believe that ultimately, in the future, players should be able to go in the game world, have as many different experiences as they want, experience as many different political views as they want, as many religions as they want … as many different fantasies as they want.”
That statement might pass inspection if Ubisoft’s games didn’t depend on political narratives. But they do. In fact, Ubisoft has a habit of using real-world events, locations, and history as background for games.
Far Cry, The Division, Assassin’s Creed, and Watch Dogs have all made, and continue to make, political statements through their gameplay. In Assassin’s Creed, we see assassins take down corrupt politicians and assist the needy. In Watch Dogs, we see a hacker fight against the oppressive Central Operating System that controls Chicago. And in The Division 2, agents fight against criminals and terrorists that threaten order in our nation’s capitol.
All these games show Ubisoft’s love for political themes. At this point, it’s become a staple of their brand. For a company that is so concerned with not making political statements, it seems to make a lot of them. The trend persisted in the previews we saw during the Ubisoft Press Conference at E3 this year.
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