Ubisoft is under fire after releasing a video showing the opening scene for its new mobile game, Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad. The video depicts a familiar scenario between the government and an anarchist group, UMBRA, similar to that of recent events. In addition to using chaotic cutscenes, Ubisoft has also used the image of a black colored fist to symbolize UMBRA. The symbol, widely used by Black Lives Matter, is often seen at protests calling for racial justice. Some viewers even suggested that the French gaming company is classifying BLM as a terrorist organization.
Was it so bad? I still dont see the INSENSITIVITY… the internet is so OVER SENSITIVE nowadays… damn.. missed the times, when video games were just enjoyed and played by fans.. now everything is agitated upon.. every single thing !!!
— Stephano📸 (@RODELENZ) August 29, 2020
Insensitivity to current real-world issues
In the opening sequence of the video, the narrator begins to rally its audience by sharing intimidating statements. “The world is in an alarming state. Wars, corruption and poverty have made it more unstable as ever.” He continues by stating that UMBRA is a faceless organization that claims “to promote an egalitarian utopia to gain popular support.”
After plenty of backlash, Ubisoft published an apology on their official Twitter account. In the statement, they admit that the use of the raised fist image was “insensitive and harmful.” They also state that the image will be removed in the next update on September 1.
It’s not only the imagery that’s harmful, it’s the entire concept of the game. It’d be insensitive and harmful anyway, but it’s also especially poor timing – Inciting hatred towards protesters who’re a thinly veiled allegory for BLM when they’re the people suffering irl right now
— 🔥⚡️ Isa ⚡️🔥 (@EvilCleverDog) August 29, 2020
Evidently, many people were not receptive to this apology. Some stated that Ubisoft intentionally meant for the game to negatively politicize the BLM movement. One Twitter user shared a photo with comments from some players who enjoyed the video.
— Chet Faliszek (@chetfaliszek) August 29, 2020
Some fans approved the message behind the opening sequence and they didn’t understand why people were upset with the storyline.
Although Ubisoft claims the similarities between BLM and the game are unintentional, it doesn’t erase the fact that they still pushed the idea out. During a sensitive time where many people are protesting alongside BLM, the thought of creating a video with the same tensions is distasteful. It will be tough for Ubisoft to jump back from this mistake, especially after claiming their solidarity with BLM back in June.
We stand in solidarity with Black team members, players, and the Black community. We are making a $100,000 contribution to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter and encourage those who are able to, to donate. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/KpHZCF6VWx
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) June 2, 2020
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