Bolivia threaten legal action over Ghost Recon Wildlands' depiction of the country

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Ghost Recon Wildlands is out in less than a week’s time, so everything is pretty much locked in. Unfortunately, the Bolivian government is not happy with the game’s depiction of their country as a narco state. 

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The complaint was filed with the French embassy, citing issues with how the game paints the South American country as an area rife with drugs and drug trafficking, according to a report from Reuters

"We have the standing to [take legal action], but at first we prefer to go the route of diplomatic negotiation," Bolivian interior minister Carlos Romero said. The hope is that the French government intervenes first. However, there’s probably not much they can do this close to launch.

In response, Ubisoft pointed out that the game was based on a fictional future version of Bolivia, but they hope they’ve done the county’s natural beauty justice. "While the game's premise imagines a different reality than the one that exists in Bolivia today, we do hope that the in-game world comes close to representing the country's beautiful topography," Ubisoft said. 

Bolivia is the world's third-largest producer of coca leaves, the raw ingredient needed to refine cocaine. However, the leaves are used medicinally by many, and are considered legal before they’re manufactured into the drug. The indigenous Quechua people use coca for ancestral rituals and consider it holy. 

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Shriven avatarLordCrash avatarDarksx avatar
Darksx Avatar
103
3 Months ago

First off , not once while I was playing this game did I ever think that Bolivia was some screwed up cartel ridden place. Its a video game with a fictional story. people need to get over their idiocy.

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LordCrash Avatar
141
3 Months ago

Very well deserved, Ubisoft.

They really get less and less self-aware about their storytelling. There is a visible trend arching from The Division to Watch_Dogs 2 and now to GR Wildlans. That their whole narrative setting and the actual execution is contentwise and morally troubled would be a great understandment.

I doubt Ubisoft really looked into not only the political implications of their work but also into what sort of fantasy they actually sell with this game. Small hint: You're NOT the hero in all of these games. But Ubisoft never makes that clear or puts that into proper perspective that basically all your actions are legally and morally questionable.

Extra Credits once made a great video about the pretty terrible message of The Division and how the player is motivated to kill American citizens on US soil without jurisdiction. Wildlands is similarly troubled. Basically, the player is a CIA terrorist that murders people in a foreign country for no obvious reason other than "somebody said they were the bad guys and we had to kill them all". I don't see why US operators should be forced to act like that even IF a drug cartel took over another country. The real "war on drugs" was never morally or legally justified in the first place, but at least it was targeted on destroying the drug production, not on killing people. GR Wildlands is basically a killing simulator in which you take the role of an assassin but in comparison to e.g. Hitman there is no explanatory context to it and there is no clear indication that you are the bad guy, quite the opposite. Obviously Ubisoft wants us to believe that all these cartel (and government) people deserve to die by the hand of illegal US operators just because they produce cocain in their own country - a democratic (!) country that has a quite different opinion about drug production in real life which makes the whole issue even the more troubled. Especially if you think about the fact that Bolivia is on the "list of evil countries" of many conservative war-hawks in the US. Not because they are an actual threat to Americans but because they have a socialist government and because they stick to their tradition of producing cocain since it's just a part of their life.

If I didn't know it any better I could think that this game was made by US intelligence officials for propaganda matters. Because that's what it does and that's the message it conveys. That this so painfully self-unaware and uncritical product comes from a French team is both weird and sad. It's really time to rethink storytelling and the message of violence in videogames at Ubisoft once again because right now, it sucks balls.

-5
Shriven Avatar
3416
3 Months ago

Yeah....I think you went too far into the rabbit hole here.

5