The Tom Clancy brand has been accused of promoting right-wing talking points, as Ubisoft admits it was ‘insensitive and harmful’.
Ubisoft has managed to sleepwalk its way into controversy, not only over the use of a Black Lives Matter style logo but its whole approach to the Tom Clancy brand.
Most younger gamers probably have no idea who Tom Clancy is, but as a right-wing thriller writer it’s always seemed bizarre that Ubisoft has claimed their games with his name on it are ‘not political’ – even as they seem to promote gun ownership and survivalist fantasies.
The latest controversy revolves around new mobile game Elite Squad, which was found to be using a logo that looks almost identical to the raised fist of the Black Lives Matter movement – except in Elite Squad the group using it is a terrorist organisation being controlled by shadowy foreign powers.
That’s basically identical to real-world conspiracies driven by far-right groups, including QAnon, and yet nobody at Ubisoft seemed to make the connection until players started pointing it out at the weekend.
‘This logo was chosen because it is a universal symbol of resistance – any resemblance to images associated with the Black Lives Matter movement is coincidental’, wrote Ubisoft on YouTube.
‘Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad is a work of fiction and does not portray any real-world events. However, we have listened to players who have pointed out similarities, and to avoid any confusion we have decided to modify the trailer in the next update’.
According to one of the game’s freelance writers the terrorist organisation UMBRA was meant to be similar to James Bond organisation SPECTRE and not anything from the real world, and he was also surprised and upset to see how it came across in the finished product.
Ubisoft has promised to remove the image and claimed it was all a big mistake on their part, which nobody seems to dispute. Although, as many have pointed out, the fact that nobody at the company noticed the problem suggests some serious underlying problems with their decision making.
‘Systemic racism and a whole load of ignorance is the only explanation. You need to hire more diverse staff, this would never have happened’, wrote Satire VI on Twitter.
‘Hey, I have an idea. Maybe don’t make jingoistic, imperialist, racist, revisionist propaganda. Just a thought’, writes Not Elon Musk.
Before it even came out Elite Squad was already the subject of ire for many gamers, for teasing a return of Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher but then dumping him into a cartoon-ish looking mobile game.
Managing to make the game even less appealing than it already was is some achievement though and hopefully one that will make Ubisoft think twice about the plots in other Tom Clancy titles.
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