Ubisoft needs to stop making statements about how its games don’t make political statements.
Ubisoft needs to stop holding its storytellers back.
The video game developer and publisher has a habit of setting games in politically charged settings but shied away from saying that any of them made bold political statements. This leads to titles with muddled stories where the veneer of political commentary feels like little more than window dressing.
Far Cry 6 is the latest game to prompt such an outcry, and it exposes why Ubisoft’s approach needs to change. Ubisoft seems to think that political messaging limits player agency, storytelling, sales potential, or all of the above. As a result, it actively limits the potential of the stories and worlds of its games.
What are your favorite games and platforms of 2021, and what future releases are you most excited about? Take our poll!
Ubisoft needs to break free of this mindset so its stories are less superficial like Watch Dogs Legion’s or avoid stories in politically charged settings altogether.
I’m Tomas Franzese, and this is The Hotfix, a column about ideas that could improve video games and the culture around them. Each week or so I’ll explore a problem in gaming and how it could be solved. I’ll talk to experts, offer my own analysis, and solicit you, the people I’m writing for, to sound off with your ideas. Send any and all feedback to email@example.com. 🎮
What happened? On May 28, Ubisoft showed off Far Cry 6 gameplay for the first time. You play as a guerilla fighter on the fictional tropical island of Yara trying to take down Giancarlo Esposito’s dictator, Anton Castillo. Cuba’s well-documented history of political unrest inspires the game. (Ubisoft even spoke with guerilla fighters as part of its research.)
Still, in an interview with The Gamer, Narrative Director Navid Khavari insisted Far Cry 6 wasn’t making a political statement about Cuba.
"We realized it’s a complicated island and our game doesn’t want to make a political statement about what’s happening in Cuba specifically," Khavari said. "Beyond that, we’re drawing inspiration from guerilla movements around the world and throughout history. For us, it felt like doing the island of Yara would help us tell that story while being very open with our politics and inspiration."
The interview was met with backlash by those baffled by the notion that a game inspired by real-life guerilla fighters wasn’t making a political statement. Soon after, Ubisoft backtracked in a blog post written by Khavari, saying that the story was technically political by tackling issues like fascism and imperialism while maintaining that players “won’t find” a direct “political statement” about Cuba in it.
Why it matters — This isn’t the first time Ubisoft has ruffled feathers by claiming its games inspired by contemporary events were “not political.”
It happened with Watch Dogs Legion, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Far Cry New Dawn, Far Cry 5, and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Each game is inherently political in its premise, yet Ubisoft avoids grappling directly with those implications time and time again.
A June 2019 interview with Ubisoft’s former VP of Editorial Tommy Francois (for what it’s worth, Ubisoft fired him in 2020 following sexual harassment allegations) hints at the reasons behind Ubisoft’s muddled political messaging:
"We believe that ultimately, in the future, players should be able to go in the game world,” Francois said, “have as many different experiences as they want, experience as many different political views as they want, as many religions as they want … as many different fantasies as they want."
This lukewarm approach means most Ubisoft stories lack a strong message despite superficially dealing with heavy real-world topics. Under the guise of focusing on variety and player freedom, the company ignores the moral implications of signal-boosting potentially problematic viewpoints.
When you make games inspired by Brexit, cults, or political revolutions, it’s a disservice to the storytellers and the audience to avoid potential discomfort or disagreement at all cost. Ubisoft’s current approach doesn’t really hold up with Far Cry 6 or any of its other open-world games — they all still feature linear, cinematic stories in their large systemic worlds.
Far Cry 6 making a political statement doesn’t have to be one-sided. It can show the good Castillo has brought to the country while still spotlighting his corruption and taking the side of Dani Rojas and other guerilla fighters.
If the narrative team can’t — or won’t — accommodate any political statements or messages in a story like this, the game will likely suffer for it. Far Cry 6 should embrace its politics more than other Ubisoft games
Unfortunately, Ubisoft’s history with similar delicate topics doesn’t inspire much hope.
Watch Dogs Legion takes place in a post-Brexit police state. It could’ve highlighted the failures of the United Kingdom’s monarchy, parliamentary bureaucracy, conservatism, and police force, but its story doesn’t go beyond a surface-level observation about the power and corruption of private military companies.
This precedent suggests that Far Cry 6 will feature a lackluster story that doesn’t live up to the potential of its politically charged setting. Ubisoft fears taking a political stance might hurt the game’s mass appeal, but that approach thus far has only made its games less interesting.
What’s next? If Ubisoft keeps tackling politically relevant topics, it needs to stop deflecting when players want to know more about the real-world issues explored in its games.
Ubisoft development teams need to embrace the political nature of these stories early on in the process. If not, future games like Far Cry 6 will only uphold the trend of lukewarm, bloated, and unsatisfying Ubisoft games. Otherwise, they might as well just consider less politically charged settings.
It’s easy to place all of the blame on Ubisoft, but the audience shares some of the responsibility here too. As players, we can be more open to video games that present different perspectives. Even if you disagree with the political message or viewpoint of a video game, try it out and try to understand the developers’ perspective instead of sending an internet mob after them.
Ubisoft’s leadership needs to encourage more varied, nuanced, and poignant studios in video games rather than a multitude of titles that are too afraid to say anything substantial.
Ubisoft can attract an audience interested in varied and nuanced political viewpoints rather than one that thrives on a lack of commitment to a political statement, and this will happen over time if its games tell compelling stories with a distinct point of view. It will make for better games, and in the end, that’s what really matters.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are for sale now for Walmart Plus subscribers – The Verge
Both the disc-based PS5 and the Digital Edition are up for grabs
If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s becoming ever-so-slightly less of a maddening exercise to get your hands on a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Granted, it’s still harder than it should be, but recent retailer restocks have taken longer to sell out than they used to. So, here’s hoping that you’re able to purchase whichever console you want during today’s restock at Walmart, which is specifically for paid Walmart Plus subscribers and going on right now.
Walmart is offering the $499.99 PS5 with a disc drive, the $399.99 PS5 console that can only play digital titles, as well as the $499.99 Xbox Series X. These consoles are available to non-trial Walmart Plus members, meaning you actually have to opt-in to pay Walmart for the service to get access (here’s where you can sign up for Walmart Plus). Though, Walmart is calling these “early access” deals, perhaps suggesting that they’ll open up to non-Plus customers after a window of time. In the past, the window of exclusivity has been three hours.
To ease the checkout process, make sure you have your shipping and payment info ready to go ahead of time.
Sony’s flagship next-gen console, which includes a disc drive, allows you to play both digital and physical games for the PS4 and PS5.
The PS5 Digital Edition costs $400. Compared to the standard PS5, this console is $100 less and does not include a Blu-ray disc drive.
The Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s flagship console, serving as its most powerful (and biggest) option. While the Series S is aimed at smooth 1440p performance and takes a disc-less approach, the $500 Series X is focused on fast, 4K gameplay.
In case you plan to get lucky with buying a console today, there are several excellent games and accessories that we recommend. Starting with games, head over to this list to see the PS5’s best games of 2021.
An open-world, third-person sword fighting game that has your character trying to prevent the Mongolian invasion of Japan.
Insomniac Games’ latest adventure in the Ratchet & Clank series is the most fun entry yet. It’s also the first to launch on PS5, and it’s both a showcase for amazing graphics and fast loading speeds.
The midnight black DualSense controller sports the same hardware as the original — haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, etc. — only with a two-tone black design reminiscent of PS2, PS3, and PS4 consoles.
If you’re on team Xbox, you may already know about Game Pass Ultimate, which gives you discounts and access to an ever-expanding catalog of Game Pass games, along with online multiplayer. You may never need to pay full price for a game for your new console. Though, whether you do want to pay full price or you just need some ideas on what to play, check out the Xbox’s best games of 2021.
You don’t have to miss a call while you game thanks to Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Headset, which is currently selling for $96.99 instead of $99.99 at Target. In our review, we found it to be a comfortable, intuitively designed headset that’s well worth the price. In addition to working well with Xbox consoles, it can connect to another device simultaneously via Bluetooth.
Of course, you can buy faster storage to add onto your Series X / S console, but it’ll cost you significantly more money than the option above. Microsoft partnered with Seagate to make proprietary SSDs that can be inserted into the rear of either console. The SSDs are currently available in multiple configurations, including a 512GB model for $139.99, a 1TB variant for $216.95, and a 2TB version for $399.99. All three are supposedly just as fast as the storage inside your new console, so this is the best place to keep all of the new games you want to quickly load and switch between at will.
Update January 13th, 4:11PM ET : Walmart has sold out of consoles for now.
Update January 13th, 3:00PM ET: We’ve updated the copy and headline to reflect that the PS5 and Xbox Series X are now available to Walmart Plus subscribers.
Update January 13th, 12:09PM ET: We’ve updated several prices in the product cards, as well as the language in the post to reflect the timing of the event.
Subscribe to get the best Verge-approved tech deals of the week.
Please confirm your subscription to Verge Deals via the verification email we just sent you.
Subscribe to get the best Verge-approved tech deals of the week.
Please confirm your subscription to Verge Deals via the verification email we just sent you.
PC Building Diary: Assembling my first gaming rig and why I should have gone pre-built instead – 9to5Toys
Like many other console gamers through the past few years, the allure of switching over to a PC finally got the best of me. There’s just the problem of actually making the jump, considering just how hard things are with the ongoing stock shortages. Detailing the entire experience of building a PC for the first time, down below you can follow along as I go through all the components in my first rig and my thoughts on why I should have just gone for a pre-built in the first place.
After having a chance to check out a pre-built machine from CLX as a loaner, it got the ball rolling in my head that it might be time to invest in a system all my own. In what was a test for “will I even use a gaming PC in the first place,” I inevitably decided that my mixed experience with that brand shouldn’t deter me, and I sent out to build my own gaming PC and see what the other side of the table had in store. After all, there has to be a reason why everyone is so gung ho about crafting their own gaming rig.
In what was perfect timing with NZXT launching a new case and some coolers to go with it, I took those debuts as the perfect chance to dive in. So what did I ultimately decide on for my first machine?
To start things out, I built the entire PC around NZXT’s new H510 Flow case. While I am hardly one to push my system to the point of really needing the improved airflow capabilities that give this case its namesake, the peace of mind is certainly nice. I was originally debating getting one of the brand’s more compact machines, though after assembling everything inside of the mid-sized case, I am glad I had the extra room to work with. That pairs with the NZXT C850 power supply to get things started.
As for the CPU, I was recommended the Intel i7-11700 chip by 9to5Toys’ own PC builder extraordinaire Patrick. The suggestion has turned out to serve my gaming needs quite well and should be more than capable for any workstation-related tasks in the unlikely event that I make the switch from macOS. I am not going to bore you with benchmark results or anything trying to contend that this is the best value out there for the price point, but the CPU seems like it will be able to hold me over well into the future.
Once settling on the CPU, it was time to get the hardest component of my PC build. That’s right, the graphics card. In what ultimately seemed to come down to fate, I was able to score an NVIDIA RTX 3060 for a little more than its retail price. Its performance has been worth every penny over its MSRP and has meant that my rig can handle pretty much every I throw at it in the gaming department. Even if all I seem to be playing right now is Halo Infinite and Overwatch.
On the RAM side of things, I am rocking four sticks of CORSAIR’s Vengeance RGB PRO DDR4 memory. This gives me a total of 32GB for multitasking and is the perfect kind of overkill for my gaming rig. Adding to CORSAIR’s claim on my gaming PC, I also have one of its CORE 1TB M.2 PCIe Gen4 SSDs as the main boot drive. It has been nothing short of a beast even with how little I push the limits of its 4,700MB/s max transfer speeds.
On the all-important front of cooling, I mentioned earlier that this entire build was inspired by some of NZXT’s latest releases. So it’s only fitting that the brand’s Kraken Z73 all-in-one cooler is what helped me pull the trigger on the entire system.
The refreshed white design was a big selling point for having a uniform PC in the looks department, and its actual performance has kept me happy with it over the past month or so of gaming. I particularly love the built-in screen which can do everything from monitor system stats like temperature or CPU utilization to displaying gifs, which might be my favorite part.
And to tie it all together, I am rocking one of NZXT’s N7 B550 motherboards. Keeping up with the slick white theming, it has a matching coat of paint to the rest of my system and more I/O than I thought I could ever need. Lastly, I threw in an extra pair of NZXT’s AER RGB 2 120mm fans for some extra cooling. Though if I am being entirely honest, the extra RGB lighting is really the reason I splurged here.
While assembly could have gone better than expected, the experience of actually building a PC wasn’t all that bad. It may have taken an afternoon to get all of the components slotted into place, and more time than I’d like to admit for installing Windows, but eventually everything was ready to go. Even though I don’t necessarily regret the process of sourcing my own machine, I am getting some envy from just going the pre-built route.
Shortly after finishing my own build, the holidays arrived and I picked up one of NZXT’s H1 Mini PCs for my significant other so we can game together. And the whole experience there was honestly night and day to what I had gone through with CLX. That’s to say I was impressed with the process from the second I clicked buy all the way until it was finally plugged in and ready to go. That’s in contrast to doing all of the work myself to end up with a similar, yet much messier setup. Seriously, don’t judge my cable management, I know it could be better!
Even if now isn’t the best time to be getting into the PC gaming space for the first time in terms of actually sourcing parts, I am shocked by how much value is offered by the mid-tier gear found in this build. I feel confident that my machine should last well into the future without having to sacrifice too much on performance for any new games that the next few years may hold. And honestly, if it wasn’t for the shortages, now would be such an amazing time to dive into the world of PC gaming with just how much competition there is in the space churning out better and better products.
That’s to say after experiencing both sides of the equation, I would go the pre-built route for myself if I had to do it all over again. Even if I ended up saving a little bit of cash, having a package ready to go out of the box that I could have tailored to my liking over time seems like a far better compromise for this casual gamer than having to do all of the hard work to get a perfect rig right from the start.
FTC: 9to5Toys is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links
Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!
Anbernic may be developing a Windows handheld gaming PC – Liliputing
Anbernic is a Chinese company that makes handheld gaming devices, most of which are powered by Android or Linux software and designed for retro gaming. But it looks like the company may be developing its first handheld gaming PC that runs Windows.
That could make the new device an option for gamers looking to play modern PC games, although the new model will also probably be Anbernic’s most expensive system to date – most of the company’s current devices tend to sell for between $50 and $250.
Anbernic hasn’t officially announced the new Windows handheld, but a set of pictures included in a recent patent application make it pretty clear that the device is designed to run Windows.
Like many handheld game consoles, it has a display surrounded by dual analog sticks, a D-Pad, action buttons, start and select keys, and four shoulder buttons/triggers. There’s also a home key on one side, and a Windows key on the other, which will likely function as a Start Key.
On the left side of the device there’s also a switch that lets you toggle between game controller and mouse modes, a feature we’ve seen on some other Windows-powered handhelds, which makes Windows a little easier to navigate on devices without a mouse or physical keyboard. This will most likely let you move a cursor with an analog stick while using action buttons for left and right-click actions.
Other features appear to include a USB Type-A port, what may be a USB Type-C port, stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as what looks like a microphone.
There’s no word on the specs or pricing, but it seems like a safe bet that a Windows-powered handheld will have a more expensive processor than most of Anbernic’s systems to date, which will drive up the price tag accordingly.
If and when Anbernic’s Windows-powered handheld comes to market, it will join an increasingly crowded space that’s currently dominated by small Chinese companies like GPD, One Netbook, and AYA as well as the upcoming Valve Steam Deck (which will ship with the Linux-based Steam OS, but which has all the hardware necessary for Windows gaming if anyone feels the urge to replace the operating system).
via DroiX, Taki Udon, and /r/Anbernic
Liliputing’s primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the “Shop” button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we’ll get a small commission).
But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you’re using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.
Contribute to our Patreon campaign
Contribute via PayPal
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
document.getElementById( “ak_js” ).setAttribute( “value”, ( new Date() ).getTime() );
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
What are they trying to patent? Buttons and switches where your hand will be gripping and more prone to accidentally activating (ie. bad idea)?
Also, if their handheld looks like this, how are they expecting to compete with the other Chinese handhelds (let alone the Steam Deck)? Price? The bar handhelds are all pretty much the same with different tweaks here and there.
At this rate, I feel like whatever part of the market the Deck isn’t able to capture will just be shared equally among the rest of these small companies.
Now more manufacturers in the game, waiting for Alienware and Razer to join this party, they had UFO and Switchblade concepts in the past
I feel a tiny bit sorry for GPD – after years of being the “only game in town”, now they have competitors coming out of the woodwork!
Still, it seems like good news for everyone else!
If it’s pocketable, then I’d get it. Otherwise, if I’m getting a non-pocketable slab/bar PC handheld, then it’s only the Steam Deck for me.
Judging from the USB Type-A port, this thing’s pretty large. It’s not any more pocketable than the other slabs so pass. The Steam Deck it is.
Waiting for a hologram of Roseanne Barr to explain the meaning of the device’s name to me.
🙂 Close enough to Ambergris
🙂 Close enough to Ambergris
Compare handheld gaming PC specs (Steam Deck, AYA Neo, GPD Win Max and Win 3, ONEXPLAYER and OneGx1 Pro)
Intel’s Alder Lake Mobile chips bring hybrid architecture to laptops, promise up to 40-percent performance boost
Overview of AMD’s Ryzen 6000 mobile “Rembrandt” chips with RDNA2 graphics and Zen 3+ CPU cores
Daily Deals (1-17-2022)
Samsung introduces Exynos 2200 processor with AMD RDNA 2 “Xclipse” graphics
Anbernic may be developing a Windows handheld gaming PC
PineNote E Ink tablet now available for $399 for developers and enthusiasts
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Join 14,671 other subscribers
How To?1 month ago
Register now for winter-spring 2022 ORICL courses – Oak Ridge Today
How To?2 months ago
News blog, November 18: Nearly all restrictions to stop from 11.59pm; an Everest challenge for a good cause – Shepparton News
Mobile2 weeks ago
Pixel 6 looks to debut the Gboard ‘Assistant voice typing’ experience first demoed at I/O 2019 – 9to5Google
How To?2 months ago
How to use technology in your life? – The Times of India Blog
Games1 month ago
Coin-Op Management Sim Arcade Paradise Teases Minigames in PS5, PS4 Trailer – Push Square
Games2 months ago
Amazon Games switches off New World's entire economy after players discover duping glitch – PC Gamer
Tech3 months ago
Facebook is now Meta! Metaverse good or bad?
Mobile3 months ago
Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro hands-on