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Bolivia complains to France about country's portrayal in Ghost Recon: Wildlands

chadskin

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May 27, 2013
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The Bolivian government has filed a formal complaint with the French embassy about a video game produced by a French company that portrays the South American country as an area controlled by drug traffickers, authorities said.

The game, "Ghost Recon," was produced by France-based Ubisoft Entertainment SA and is set to be officially launched next week. The game's beta version has been downloaded by 6.8 million users.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, government Minister Carlos Romero said Bolivia had delivered a letter to the French ambassador and asked the French government to intervene, adding that Bolivia reserved the right to take legal action.

"We have the standing to do it (take legal action), but at first we prefer to go the route of diplomatic negotiation," Romero said.
Romero said that although the game does not mention Bolivia directly, the country is easily identifiable by geographic regions and symbols in the game.

The French embassy in La Paz did not immediately respond to a written request for comment on Thursday. Ubisoft did not immediately respond to voice messages seeking comment at its San Francisco and Montreal offices.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-bolivia-france-videogames-idUSKBN1692PK
 
Jan 20, 2010
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I have some Bolivian friends. From what I've heard, drugs are not really that much of a problem (the subject has never come up, which I imagine it would if it was such a big problem). The president is going power-hungry though, trying to push through constitutional changes to change term limits
 
Å

Åesop

Unconfirmed Member
Pathetic.. it's a video game, get over it
 

Ahasverus

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As a guy from a country which representation in movies is a failed banana republic with wooden houses, I understand where their complaints come from. That said, the game doesn't mention Bolivia by name so I'd say they are saved by "artistic liberty" here.

If they did specify it was Bolivia, they fucked up.
Åesop;231361455 said:
Pathetic.. it's a video game, get over it
Says the first world man. It really, really sucks when the only thing your country is mentioned for is to either downplay it or to portray it as a hellhole, when it's probably a beautiful land with problems like any other one.
 

kenta

Has no PEINS
Jan 27, 2005
8,490
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Rename to Volibia, done

Edit: oh, no need apparently. Eh, do it anyway
 

Complicated

Banned
May 12, 2015
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That's bizarre. I'm pretty sure it's an entirely fictional what-if scenario where a Mexican Cartel moved in and overthrew the Bolivian government.
 

whalleywhat

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Sep 2, 2010
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Åesop;231361455 said:
Pathetic.. it's a video game, get over it

Could you say this if it was a movie? Of course not. Should anyone be saying this about a video game in 2017? ...
 
Jan 11, 2016
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As a guy from a country which representation in movies is a failed banana republic with wooden houses, I understand where their complaints come from. That said, the game doesn't mention Bolivia by name so I'd say they are saved by "artistic liberty" here.

If they did specify it was Bolivia, they fucked up.

Says the first world man. It really, really sucks when the only thing your country is mentioned for is to either downplay it or to portray it as a hellhole, when it's probably a beautiful land with problems like any other one.

The whole game is based in Bolivia and that is stated all over the place. But I don't see how they fucked up by specifying Bolivia. It's a work of fiction; they could have said any country they want.
 

Spring-Loaded

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Apr 16, 2012
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The whole game is based in Bolivia and that is stated all over the place. But I don't see how they fucked up by specifying Bolivia. It's a work of fiction; they could have said any country they want.
It being a work of fiction doesn't absolve it of responsibility.
 

Metroxed

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Sep 1, 2012
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I am not suprised. I am not Bolivian but I lived there sometime back, and the depiction of the country in the game is as far from reality as possible. They might have just as well named the country something invented.

There are no drug cartels in Bolivia (that's Colombia, Mexico), to begin with. Second, all the "santa muerte" theme and motives (skeleton worshipping, etc.) that could be seen in the trailer comes from Mexican culture, not Bolivian. The "drug lords" look like the Maras (tattoos in the face, hands, everywhere in the body and bald), who are Central American gangs and groups, not South American. The towns look 100% Mexican with Mexican-style architecture. The desertic landscape from the trailer also looks Mexican, Bolivia has cold deserts, and they don't have cactus.

I don't even know why they decided to go with Bolivia at this point.
 

Ahasverus

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The whole game is based in Bolivia and that is stated all over the place. But I don't see how they fucked up by specifying Bolivia. It's a work of fiction; they could have said any country they want.
They do have the right to set it in Bolivia, but then Bolivans have all the right in the world to complain about it. It won't change anything, but it's their right. as I said, it's really annoying when that happens.
I am not suprised. I am not Bolivian but I lived there sometime back, and the depiction of the country in the game is as far from reality as possible. They might have just as well named the country something invented.

There are no drug cartels in Bolivia (that's Colombia, Mexico), to begin with. Second, all the "santa muerte" theme and motives (skeleton worshipping, etc.) that could be seen in the trailer comes from Mexican culture, not Bolivian. The "drug lords" look like the Maras (tattoos in the face, hands, everywhere in the body and bald), who are Central American gangs and groups, not South American. The towns look 100% Mexican with Mexican-style architecture.

I don't even know why they decided to go with Bolivia at this point.
This. Typical "Rural Mexico = the whole of latin America" stuff from first world countries.
 

Qassim

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Jul 6, 2012
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Good.

I was really disappointed when the UK government didn't file a complaint with France about Ubisoft portraying London as a city overcome by a zombie apocalypse in ZombieU.

Ubisoft can't keep getting away with it.
 

ReubyJuice

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Would they be able to circumvent this by posting a disclaimer when booting up the game along the lines of "this is not intended to provide an accurate representation of the locales presented"? I assume there's already one stating that it's a work of fiction, relation to real-life people etc. is coincidental, blah blah.
 
Jan 11, 2016
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I am not suprised. I am not Bolivian but I lived there sometime back, and the depiction of the country in the game is as far from reality as possible. They might have just as well named the country something invented.

There are no drug cartels in Bolivia (that's Colombia, Mexico), to begin with. Second, all the "santa muerte" theme and motives (skeleton worshipping, etc.) that could be seen in the trailer comes from Mexican culture, not Bolivian. The "drug lords" look like the Maras (tattoos in the face, hands, everywhere in the body and bald), who are Central American gangs and groups, not South American. The towns look 100% Mexican with Mexican-style architecture. The desertic landscape from the trailer also looks Mexican, Bolivia has cold deserts, and they don't have cactus.

I don't even know why they decided to go with Bolivia at this point.

The point of the story is that Mexican cartels have invaded Bolivia.
 

Aztechnology

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Jun 1, 2013
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Honestly it annoys me quite a bit, that it's portrayed as the whole country being controlled by a cartel, Unidad in their pockets. The Dynamic there is boring. It's Cartel with an Iron Fist, poor Civilians etc. Missed opportunities to have the cartel be a more shadowy hidden organization that would require more than foot soldiers.

Also is anyone surprised? Not even the U.S is safe from being represented as something ridiculous often. Ultra corrupt, uber capitalist Illuminati stuff... Wait... Oh god. ;)

Regardless I agree it's a missed opportunity.
 

PeskyToaster

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Dec 5, 2012
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Just slap this puppy on it "The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred."
 

NormalFish

Banned
Aug 14, 2014
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What responsibility? That they made up a fake story about a real country?

something being fiction does that mean that it can't be interpreted and applied to reality. For example, polygraph tests are a rather poor piece of evidence, and criminal profilers are actually not significantly more reliable than any random joe when identifying criminals. And yet because they're constantly used in fiction, people assume they are good evidence and reliable respectively.

And those are mundane examples. You can apply your rationale to portrayal of black folks as all being criminal thugs, as well. A bit more meaty if that's your palette.
Dear Bologna,
"This euro-centric portrayal of a developing nation was created by a diverse cast of people, most of whom didn't have any say in it being set in bolivia, thus we are absolved of guilt". Yeah okay.

Also I hope that was an autocorrect error.
 

Wanchan

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Sep 24, 2010
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Dear Bologna,


They'll just use the same warning thingy as in all their games.
 
Dec 11, 2010
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The point of the story is that Mexican cartels have invaded Bolivia.

This. This is like saying Homefront should be changed because it portrays USA as being invaded and run by the North Koreans. The whole point of the game is that Mexican drug cartels have taken over Bolivia. So what does it matter that in reality they haven't?
 

Wulfram

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Oct 9, 2014
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I don't see what basis they'd have for legal action, but I can see why they'd be kinda pissed
 
Jan 11, 2016
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something being fiction does that mean that it can't be interpreted and applied to reality. For example, polygraph tests are a rather poor piece of evidence, and criminal profilers are actually not significantly more reliable than any random joe when identifying criminals. And yet because they're constantly used in fiction, people assume they are good evidence and reliable respectively.

And those are mundane examples. You can apply your rationale to portrayal of black folks as all being criminal thugs, as well. A bit more meaty if that's your palette.

So in what circumstances can someone use a real location as the basis for a fictional story? Is it ok if instead the story talked about Bolivia being the economic capital of the world and the greatest minds of our time resided there?
 

OldRoutes

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Jul 31, 2013
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This. Typical "Rural Mexico = the whole of latin America" stuff from first world countries.

Dude :

The game takes place in Bolivia in July 2019. The country has become increasingly unstable as the Santa Blanca, a previously minor Mexican drug cartel, gains more power and influence within the county to the point where Bolivia has become a narco-state and the world's largest producer of cocaine.
 

Springy

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It's okay, though, as a consequence of carrying out this character assassination of a nation, the game has you playing as unsanctioned foreign soldiers covertly deployed to engage in extra judicial killings of government forces and Bolivian citizens. So, really, there's nothing to be upset about.

This. This is like saying Homefront should be changed because it portrays USA as being invaded and run by the North Koreans. The whole point of the game is that Mexican drug cartels have taken over Bolivia. So what does it matter that in reality they haven't?
I missed the part of Homefront where you played as Mexican special forces sent to kill the Korean leadership and major elements of the still intact US government, along with the ability to slaughter US citizens and maaaaybe get a mild telling off after doing it about three out four times within a minute.
 
Å

Åesop

Unconfirmed Member
What a measured, empathetic, forward thinking response to the portrayal of developing nations in fictional media.

Could you say this if it was a movie? Of course not. Should anyone be saying this about a video game in 2017? ...


The game is not a documentary for National Geopgraphic.. It's a piece of art, trying to tell a fictional story. And yes I would say the same if it was a movie, what's the issue
 

JCG

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Feb 8, 2012
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I don't like this, but I don't think they should necessarily change it either.
 

Metroxed

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The point of the story is that Mexican cartels have invaded Bolivia.

And they have physically turned the country into Mexico how? Bolivia having drug cartels in a work of fiction is completely fine (even believable due to the whole coca thing), but then suddenly people worshipping the santa muerte (NOT a Bolivian thing), the towns looking like Mexican towns and even the landscape... did the Mexican cartels did that too?

What annoys me is that they applied the typical "we-don't-give-a-shit-about-how-the-country-really-is" attitude, a very common position from western studios towards underdeveloped countries.

The James Bond Quantum of Solace film is supposed to take place partially in La Paz (the capital of Bolivia), which a very large city with skyscrapers and the rest of things big cities have. They filmed all exterior scenes in a small Chilean town. So for the world the capital of Bolivia looked like a small town with 1-storey buildings. This is the kind of things I'm talking about, and they did it again with this game.
 

kennyamr

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Jun 18, 2011
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I guess Bolivia is going to war with France for a video game.

Unless France of course responds fast and raid the offices of the developers to set the record straight.

Pieces of art must never mix fiction and non-fiction. NEVER.

Artists are not allowed to use real places in order to tell their stories. NEVER.

Now, give me a sec, I need to go sue Disney and Marvel. They and their friend Spidey have been making my city look terribly unsafe for years now.
 

Fisty

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Jun 26, 2014
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Åesop;231362845 said:
The game is not a documentary for National Geopgraphic.. It's a piece of art, trying to tell a fictional story. And yes I would say the same if it was a movie, what's the issue

Sounds like these people missed the entirety of Tom Clancy's entire body of work across like every form of media
 

shandy706

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May 3, 2011
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Well...as above, the only response that France needs to send is...

It's a video game. It's set in an imaginary future.

The game takes place in Bolivia in July 2019. The country has become increasingly unstable as the Santa Blanca, a previously minor Mexican drug cartel, gains more power and influence within the county to the point where Bolivia has become a narco-state and the world's largest producer of cocaine.

It's a game....much like a movie...and doesn't have to stick to any form of reality in any way, shape, or form.
 

Linkark07

Banned
Mar 1, 2012
6,097
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As a guy from a country which representation in movies is a failed banana republic with wooden houses, I understand where their complaints come from. That said, the game doesn't mention Bolivia by name so I'd say they are saved by "artistic liberty" here.

If they did specify it was Bolivia, they fucked up.

Says the first world man. It really, really sucks when the only thing your country is mentioned for is to either downplay it or to portray it as a hellhole, when it's probably a beautiful land with problems like any other one.
I live in Panama. If any videogame, movie or whatever you want portray my country as the corrupt tax haven it is, I would be glad they do that.
 

OldRoutes

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Jul 31, 2013
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And they have physically turned the country into Mexico how? Bolivia having drug cartels in a work of fiction is completely fine (even believable due to the whole coca thing), but then suddenly people worshipping the santa muerte (NOT a Bolivian thing), the towns looking like Mexican towns and even the landscape... did the Mexican cartels did that too?

What annoys me is that they applied the typical "we-don't-give-a-shit-about-how-the-country-really-is" attitude, a very common position from western studios towards underdeveloped countries.

The James Bond Quantum of Solace film is supposed to take place partially in La Paz (the capital of Bolivia), which a very large city with skyscrapers and the rest of things big cities have. They filmed all exterior scenes in a small Chilean town. So for the world the capital of Bolivia looked like a small town with 1-storey buildings. This is the kind of things I'm talking about, and they did it again with this game.

It feels like you haven't played or read about the game at all to say something like this... Like a knee-jerk reaction or something :

http://www.polygon.com/features/2016/12/9/13881762/ghost-recon-wildlands-setting-bolivia-map
 

Fisty

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Jun 26, 2014
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I live in Panama. If any videogame, movie or whatever you want portray my country as the corrupt tax haven it is, I would be glad they do that.

As long as no one bismirches the good name of Noriega though lol
as a former resident, I hope things are getting better
 

Risk Breaker

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Sep 23, 2010
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Yeah, first time I saw the reveal I thought it was pretty tasteless in general.

This. This is like saying Homefront should be changed because it portrays USA as being invaded and run by the North Koreans. The whole point of the game is that Mexican drug cartels have taken over Bolivia. So what does it matter that in reality they haven't?

You really can't tell the difference?

The US is EVERYWHERE and everybody knows that it has OBVIOUSLY not being invaded by NK.

But most people don't know shit about Bolivia and I'm willing to bet quite a few will believe that is actually what the country is like.
 

Fisty

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Jun 26, 2014
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You really can't tell the difference?

The US is EVERYWHERE and everybody knows that it has OBVIOUSLY not being invaded by NK.

But most people don't know shit about Bolivia and I'm willing to bet quite a few will believe that is actually what the country is like.

Wow I wonder if people getting their worldview from Tom Clancy IP is why our country is full of nutjobs
 
Dec 11, 2010
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It's okay, though, as a consequence of carrying out this character assassination of a nation, the game has you playing as unsanctioned foreign soldiers covertly deployed to engage in extra judicial killings of government forces and Bolivian citizens. So, really, there's nothing to be upset about.


I missed the part of Homefront where you played as Mexican special forces sent to kill the Korean leadership and major elements of the still intact US government, along with the ability to slaughter US citizens and maaaaybe get a mild telling off after doing it about three out four times within a minute.

You kill tons and tons of Americans who have decided to follow the NK invaders. You kill spies and betrayers, soldiers, all American. The Korean leaders are mostly Americans who have switched sides. Not that I think it matters, but in either case, it is fiction. So I don't think there's a problem killing Bolivians who have started to work for the cartels, or Mexicans who have decided to enslave the populace.
 

ISOM

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Feb 22, 2012
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Yeah, first time I saw the reveal I thought it was pretty tasteless in general.



You really can't tell the difference?

The US is EVERYWHERE and everybody knows that it has OBVIOUSLY not being invaded by NK.

But most people don't know shit about Bolivia and I'm willing to bet quite a few will believe that is actually what the country is like.

That's still not a valid reason to censors things that aren't touted as factual. It's a video game not an educational textbook.
 
Dec 11, 2010
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Yeah, first time I saw the reveal I thought it was pretty tasteless in general.



You really can't tell the difference?

The US is EVERYWHERE and everybody knows that it has OBVIOUSLY not being invaded by NK.

But most people don't know shit about Bolivia and I'm willing to bet quite a few will believe that is actually what the country is like.

I'm not sure how it's portrayed in the game, but assuming they are clear in game as they are in marketing that these are invading Mexican Drug Cartels. You could be an incredibly dense person and assume whatever is happening in your vidja game is accurate, or you could know the facts(or research them). I don't see why we need to argue for the incredibly dense. Likely they don't give two shits about your country anyway, and wouldn't give it a second thought if it weren't in this game.
 
Å

Åesop

Unconfirmed Member
This reminds me of when Kazakhstan sued Borat. LOL

I am from Kazakhstan and I think the movie Borat is f***** hilarious. Why would I care how my country is represented, it's a comedy movie and you're watching it to laugh, not for regional studies.