Ubisoft’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, answers recent criticism that the company has been dodging the political implications of its games, saying they give players the tools to explore issues themselves
When veteran publisher Ubisoft showed off its tactical online shooter, Tom Clancy’s: The Division 2, at the E3 games expo this month, the political undertones of the game and its narrative seemed obvious. This is the story of a near-future America decimated by a terrorist attack in which a deadly toxin is released into the air over several major cities. In the aftermath, players must join a secret army of highly trained soldiers tasked with restoring the power of the government against gangs of rioters. It’s typical Tom Clancy fare: paranoid, technologically driven and unquestioning in its understanding of the US military as a force for good. It is, in other words, political.
It’s set in Washington DC, and the screenshots and trailers are awash with provocative imagery, including a smoking White House and a downed Air Force One plane. During the E3 presentation of the game, a voiceover declares that a corrupt force within the government is looking to take control of the country, bringing about a new civil war. Given the current strife in the US over Donald Trump’s presidency, and the current issues of gun control, immigration and terrorism, it feels like an even more politically charged setup.