Ubisoft Massive creative operating officer, Alf Condelius was speaking at a panel discussion at the Sweden Game Conference in Skovde, where he was discussing the upcoming third-person MMO shooter, The Division 2. It was during the panel where he admitted that injecting politics into video games can be bad for business. In other words, if you get woke you will go broke.
GamesIndustry.biz captured the relevant part of the panel, where Condelius explained precisely why the team at Massive is avoiding drawing any direct parallels between the politics in their game and the politics in real life, saying…
“It’s a balance because we cannot be openly political in our games, 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.”
Condelius is indirectly referencing other games like Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, which was steeped in anti-Right politics and pro-Communism sentiments. The marketing for the game unashamedly tried to conflate Conservatism with Nazism, and even Bethesda admitted to diving into politics for the purpose of promoting the game. Sales for Wolfenstein 2 have not been great, and Bethesda have avoided revealing any hard numbers for the title, which has struggled to match up to the sales figures of Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Other games like Mass Effect: Andromeda and franchises like Dishonored had to be put on ice after attempting to court certain phantom audiences with Left-wing politics, which resulted in the games selling well under par.
The team behind the latest Far Cry 5 attempted to deftly skim across the political spectrum, avoiding taking any hardline stances on the topics featured in the game, which drew more ire from the far Left media outlets as it moved closer toward release. This is because the Liberal propagandists working at every major gaming outlet was disappointed that the game came across as more Conservative than what they expected, and they were angry that it wasn’t a Christian murder simulator, which speaks volumes to how mentally unstable games media have become.
Condelius also admitted that for some games the topic of politics is unavoidable, such as their upcoming game based on the new Avatar sequels from James Cameron. Condelius admitted that the game has a political message because the movies have a political message, but that they’re trying to avoid being “on the nose” about it, saying…
“”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]. 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.”
“[…] “It has to be subtle for a lot of people to be attracted to it, it has to be undefined for many people to put their own definition to it,” he argued. “It has to be vague in some aspects while it’s in a very well defined world, for people to be able to interact with it for a very long time.
“[If] we want people to play the game for hours and hours, then we cannot be very defined in what everything means. That would be boring. That would be like watching one of the educational movies from high school.”
This is true, which is why so many games that decide to “get woke” and preach Left-wing politics to the audience as if it’s a 30-hour indoctrination session have been going broke. There’s a master list of “Get Woke, Go Broke” that outlines the projects that decided to use their platforms specifically for the purpose of pushing political propaganda.
Condelius wants to avoid having Massive’s games end up on that list, which is why they’re trying to avoid injecting inherently partisan politics in games like The Division 2.
We’ll see if Condelius and crew can maintain that philosophy, even in the wake of Ubisoft instituting their studio-wide diversity and inclusion initiative.