Despite stating that The Division 2 would remain apolitical, new marketing for the game is leaning into the current threat of a wall being built along the border between the United States and Mexico. However, it does so in a somewhat unexpected way, reversing the narrative as Mexico builds the wall to keep US refugees from fleeing to their country.
Ubisoft, in a marketing frenzy for The Division 2, has published on Twitter a tongue-in-cheek fake press release about Mexico building a wall to block Americans from fleeing into the country, after the outbreak and instability that the country faces.
It reads, “Now is not the time for politics, policies, or financial considerations to get in the way of us immediately securing and protecting the people of Mexico,” The release expresses a “Zero Tolerance Mandate” on permitting U.S. citizens to enter Mexico “with thousands and thousands of government troops and national police” stationed at the border.
THIS JUST IN. Mexico responds to the deteriorating situation in the US. pic.twitter.com/xassgLoXLF
— The Division 2 (@TheDivisionGame) March 6, 2019
The fictional President of Mexico also references a “caravan” of U.S. citizens trying to enter the country for protection from the Dark Zones; a clear reference to the caravan of migrants from Guatamala in late 2018 that were used as an “impending threat” to push the political agenda of a wall on the border.
Regardless of your own stance on The Wall, this piece of marketing contradicts Massive Entertainment’s COO Alf Condelius, who said the developer wanted to “back away from those interpretations as much as [they] can because [they] don’t want to take a stance in current politics.” According to Condelius, it’s bad for business. Perhaps he’s speaking more on the game itself rather than the press materials? But that would be odd, considering marketing materials are more up front and speak to a political message when compared to an in-game presence.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot thought differently in June 2018. “Our goal in all the games we create, is to make people think,” he said to The Guardian. “We want to put them in front of questions that they don’t always ask themselves automatically.
This shift in marketing strategy may be welcome to criticisms by our Editor-in-Chief Chandler Wood, and others who were concerned about the lack of sociopolitical backbone in its narrative. Chandler wrote, “It’s a bit disappointing that The Division 2 won’t approach realistic sociopolitical divides that would inevitably crop up as a nation falls apart under such a crisis. It seems instead to be boiled down to its simplest nature of might, weaponry, and a generic struggle of the good guys versus the bad guys.”
Ubisoft’s latest The Division 2 Mexico wall marketing stunt follows a gaffe where they made light of the government shutdown that had very real impacts on multiple people, asking people to “come see what a real government shutdown looks like in The Division 2 beta.”
Ubisoft has shied away from being political in the past. Far Cry 5‘s antagonists and setting appeared to be from the evangelical far right with heavy Christian symbolism, but many came away disappointed that the game presented a divisive and controversial setting and then didn’t have the guts to lean into it more.
It’s not long now until we find out if Ubisoft’s political marketing messages translate into politics within the game, but regardless we’re pretty excited for the gameplay which learns from the best of the first game.