Ubisoft games can be read regularly as commentary on current affairs. Watch Dogs Legions (test), for example, comments on digitization, Far Cry among other things. The upcoming Far Cry 6 is no exception. For the first time, Ubisoft speaks of a political game.
Everything is political
A medium released in public space is always a comment and statement about the values conveyed with it, regardless of whether the consumer’s ideas are affirmatively confirmed or critically contradicted. Nothing can be free from it, not even blockbusters like Rambo or Transformers: Basically everything is political, just not with the same conspicuousness without affecting the entertainment value.
However, according to the idea of many players, games should be pure entertainment products, be fun and shut up, an idea that Ubisoft was particularly keen to serve. Although many of the publisher’s games not only offered realistic scenarios, but evidently even took up topics of the time, they could by no means be political in the official version. They were sold as purely fictional works with purely coincidental references to the present. This attitude cannot be justified on the basis of arguments; it has been repeatedly and extensively refuted.
Change of course
In its constant repetition in the face of clearly politically speaking games, Ubisoft initially repeated the assertion that it would only produce apolitical entertainment, which seemed increasingly absurd. The usual criticism followed, sharpened by Kotaku in an article that only contains placeholders instead of specific names and thus parodies the constant discussions about new Ubisoft games.
This scheme is now openly deviated from. “ Our story is political, ” are the first words of a post by the game’s narrative director on the Ubisoft blog. The game is about conditions that lead to the spread of fascism, the costs of imperialism, forced labor, LGBTQ + rights and the importance of fair and free elections.
No simple wisdom
Ubisoft makes it clear not only in these statements that Far Cry 6 does not contain a “ simplified, binary political statement specifically about the current political situation in Cuba ”. On the contrary, it promises to attempt to capture modern revolutions in their complexity and to portray them from different perspectives, whereby serious topics are combined with humor.
The finished game has to prove what is left of it or succeeds. This new attitude makes the medium look more mature, at least here, because it promotes a new space for discussion that has long been common in film and literature: in addition to entertainment, that of making a statement.