Ever since the internet became a thing, the talk of politics in any form of media has been the most discussed topic over the past few years. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, one thing is clear, people want to express their stance. Movies, music, games, books, painting and photos have been used to express or showcase events that transpires during their time. It’s a way to bring light to issues most don’t want to face head on. Ubisoft’s recent game reminded everyone of their statement that it’s going to stay apolitical and I have a lot to say on it.
Now we’ve seen politics in media take many forms, from nonchalant and discretion when sending a message, to the more recent manner in which it’s shoved in our face directly and unapologetically. Ubisoft has taken it upon itself to become apolitical, which has yielded to some great story-telling and to some bland and horrible ones, it’s been up to them to handle it in a manner that doesn’t rob some of it’s already established franchises identity. It all depends on the story that needs to be told. Not one who’s purpose is to virtue – signal or proclaim that one side of the political spectrum is right or wrong. This is how the’ve been operating for the most part.
Of course, I understand that Ubisoft has games under their belt like Assassin’s Creed, Beyond Good & Evil and the Tom Clancy’s franchise that have some form of politics imbedded in them. How they’ll handle those games in the future remains to be seen however, it’s not imperative that they must take a stance. Take Nintendo for example. Nintendo has made it clear to stay as far away from politics as possible and to just focus on what they do best, make games. Aside from making games, being an apolitical company also serves as a neutral point for everyone, considering that these businesses are hiring people from all walks of life who may not all share the same viewpoints in politics.
Of course, it’s not to say that Ubisoft won’t or hasn’t touched on politics at all, it just won’t directly mirror our own which still creates an interesting and immersive experience. It’s something they’ve being doing for years now but only recently came to the limelight again after their new Ghost Recon Breakpoints game. A lot of the media outlets and critics are once again criticizing the company for not planting its foot on the ground and making a stance on what they stand and believe. Yeah, some of the elements in their games clearly draw inspiration from our real world, but that’s about it. When has any form of media not taken inspiration to what’s going on around them. What they do with that inspiration is to make us think, rather than to shove an ideal down our throats as definitive fact. Despite how you see it, it’s been working well for them so far.
According to an interview in June 2018 with CEO Guillemot, he said this:
“Our goal in all the games we create, is to make people think,” Guillemot said. “We want to put them in front of questions that they don’t always ask themselves automatically. We want players to listen to different opinions and to have their own opinions. Our goal is to give all the tools to the player in order for them to think about the subjects, to be able to see things from far enough away.”
In the end, I believe Ubisoft is making the right decision here. Whether you like it or not, they have no intentions of admitting to any particular political stance and it’s up to you when you play these games to think about the supposed message you’ll get out of it. Not everything has to be spelled out for you. And how you interpreted the message will create a healthy dialogue among the community of different opinions and viewpoints.