Ubisoft executive says politics in games is ‘bad for business’

Despite being a top executive at the studio responsible for Tom Clancy’s The Division, Ubisoft Massive COO Alf Condelius said during a panel at the Sweden Game Conference that “we cannot be openly political in our games,” because doing so is “bad for business.”   

“For example in The Division, it’s a dystopian future and there’s a lot of interpretations that it’s something that we see the current society moving towards, but it’s not—it’s a fantasy,” Condelius said, as reported by GamesIndustry. “It’s a universe and a world that we created for people to explore how to be a good person in a slowly decaying world. But people like to put politics into that, and we back away from those interpretations as much as we can because we don’t want to take a stance in current politics.” 

“It’s also bad for business, unfortunately, if you want the honest truth … But it is interesting and it is a discussion that we have, and it’s an ongoing discussion we have with our users, of course, because people want to put an interpretation into the universe that we create and they want to see their own reality in the fantasies that we give them, and the stories that the games are.” 

It’s an interesting stance to take, particularly for Ubisoft. Along with The Division, a game about anonymous agents of a previously secret Homeland Security unit who respond to a devastating pandemic in New York City by killing truckloads of Americans whose core crime is not wanting to starve and die, Ubi also publishes Ghost Recon Wildlands (American hit team infiltrates Third World nation to topple the government) and Far Cry 5 (Christian fundamentalist cult takes over a slice of backwater Montana and only heavily-armed locals can stop them).   

They’re all good games, and at no point do any of them flash pop-ups saying “War is Bad” or “Save the Whales.” Far Cry 5 is especially muted and mushy when compared to the impression it made when it was first revealed. But calling any of them them apolitical is a real stretch: Even if Ubisoft isn’t endorsing a particular message, it’s certainly building on one. 

Also interestingly, Condelius cited another upcoming Ubisoft project to illustrate the company’s efforts to separate politics from games: The Avatar Project, based on James Cameron’s not-exactly-subtle film about the evils of corporate imperialism.

“James Cameron’s vision with the movie is that we need to do something as humans because we’re going to destroy the world if we continue the way we are [going],” he said. “That is political, but we’re not going out and saying you should vote for that person, or you should not do this; but it’s a political statement of course, and we think that it’s important, but we’re not writing it on somebody’s nose.” 

Despite seemingly taking the opposite position, Condelius’ comments actually jibe with those of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, who said earlier this year that Ubisoft games actually are political—but politically neutral. “We want players to listen to different opinions and to have their own opinions,” he said in June. “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.” 

Ubisoft Massive is currently working on The Division 2, set in the aftermath of the pandemic in the US capital of Washington DC, which has fallen into civil war. An early promo image features characters engaged in a firefight around the downed hulk of Air Force One.

This content was originally published here.

Owner Of Sex Shop Next To Four Seasons Total Landscaping Says Trump’s Error Has Helped Business

PA Images

The owner of Fantasy Island, the now famous adult book store next door to Four Seasons Total Landscaping, has spoken out about the attention his business has had following that disastrous press conference.

For those who’ve been living under a rock over the last week, President Donald Trump has opted against bowing out of his office with dignity. Instead, he has chosen to descend into a surreal The Thick Of It sketch that has proven more entertaining than anything on the telly.

It reached new depths of cringe with the jaw-dropping Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, where his team addressed the nation from the humble site of a garden centre car park.

Four SeasonsPA

When Trump first announced that the press conference would be held at the Four Seasons, Philadelphia, it was widely assumed that he meant the luxurious hotel in the heart of the city.

However, it soon emerged that the event – held just as the world learned of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory – was to be held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, situated between a crematorium and an adult book store called Fantasy Island.

This was no doubt a bruising humiliation for Trump supporters, and a gift from sitcom heaven for comedy writers. But for Fantasy Island proprietor Bernie D’Angelo, the blunder turned out to be a pretty nice little end-of-year boost for his business.

In an interview with Slate, D’Angelo said:

It’s helped me out. Matter of fact, if I knew this was coming, I would have definitely got in touch with a web designer, and also [gotten] some silkscreen-type things, to just put on a shirt because my Fantasy Island Facebook page has been blown up.

I’m past 7,000 people commenting on everything that’s been going on. I had to order some more stuff and ask the companies if they could physically pick up some stuff at my distributors or actually ask UPS if we could fast-track some of it.

People in the neighborhood forget about us because we haven’t done any major, major advertising. We could never afford advertising like this. This is worldwide. I don’t know if I’ll ever trend like this ever again.

Four SeasonsPA

D’Angelo – who revealed that both Trump and Biden supporters have frequented his store – added that he had been surprised by the President’s low-key choice of venue, reasoning:

There was no reason why they would be in this area. It’s funny. I’ve stayed at the Four Seasons. I know the difference between the two Four Seasons. One’s a landscaping business, and one’s a nice hotel.

NPR journalist David Greene has also reported on the increased popularity of Fantasy Island following this unexpected political turn, tweeting:

Clerk at sex shop near Four Seasons Total Landscaping:

“I get at least 10, 15 calls a day – ‘Is Rudy here?’”

Clerk at sex shop near Four Seasons Total Landscaping:

“I get at least 10, 15 calls a day – ‘Is Rudy here?’”@WHYYNews @miles__bryan

— David Greene (@nprgreene) November 11, 2020

D’Angelo and his store now undoubtedly deserve their own page in the history books, a constant reminder of one of the daftest c*ck-ups in US electoral history.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via story@unilad.com

This content was originally published here.

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