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

PSqueak

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You guys remember when the Simpsons had Homer get kidnapped in Brazil, there was a great amount of national outrage. I've had arguments with my friend in Brazil who still hates the Simpsons for this (there was a real life conterpart to this parody though, it is a problem, mainly for rich Brazilians, in Brazil).
But portrayal in media REALLY does affect a world view on cultures, and not just for the "uneducated". I have two friends from the Middle East who often complain about this, for good reason I think. Just look at the Homeland example posted in this thread.

I suppose your friend wasn't trilled when the simpsons came back to Brazil and depicted the people as being totally cool with corruption and bribery on the FIFA.
 

Shaka

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Dec 21, 2009
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I'm from Zimbabwe, the butt of all jokes in Africa. I can empathise.
Watching the dev videos the story is about a nightmare scenario where the cartels come in and ravage the local population.
The people can't fight back because they're outgunned and facing a remorseless enemy that kills at will no matter your age.
They're culture supplanted by the cartels own.
The environment reflects this.
I'll wait for the full game before I judge too harshly.
 

trigrtigr

Neo Member
Nov 14, 2013
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Basis for legal action against France generally? Zero.
Basis for legal action against Ubisoft? Zero. Need to prove some damages have occurred. The "it's fiction" defence pretty much prevents any legal standing. If Ubisoft was saying "looks this is what Bolivia is like" then I could see some clever lawyer trying to spin a defamation argument but saying a whole country was defamed is a big hill to climb.


*based on an understanding only of Canadian law

There may be legal action Bolivia can take - it depends if the game uses any of the country's official imagery, and if that imagery is trademarked. Things like flags, government uniforms, buildings, etc, often require permission for use.
 

Metzhara

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What's interesting to me is how little anyone seems to have paid attention to the story of the game.
It's a theoretical future where the MEXICAN CARTELS go into Bolivia to disrupt the government and then the government is pushed into accepting the reality.

Be mad at the representation, sure, but let's get some of the details right here. In reality, it should be Mexican Cartels who are mad that that they get pushed out and have to move further south.

Normally this would concern me except that Tom Clancy is dead and his prophecies have gone with him.
 

clemenx

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Dec 5, 2008
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I hope that if I post "lol is just a videogame, who cares" in the next diversity or Anita Sarkeesian thread I won't get banned.

3rd world countries lol amirite who cares about them.
 

Reki

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The problem here is that cultural products, like videogames, perform visions of the world in a way in which they influence people's representation of certain things. Although I'm from Latin America I'm not bolivian, but it's horrible when you travel to the US, for example, and everyone looks at you with distrust. Hell, even in the embassy here, when you do the paperwork for the visa, the employees have this attitude that you can't be trusted and ask like you are planning to export drugs. The misrepresentations in games or other works of fiction only exacerbates this.

And it sucks for the development of the country. Who would like to go to a place ruled by cartels? Tourism is obviously affected by perception.

Just to be clear, I often disagree with Evo's government, but this is a valid thing to be concerned about.

Creative freedom is okay. But we all know the way NY or Paris look, we see them represented all the time. It isn't fair that one of the scarce opportunities in which places like Bolivia are represented is used to perpetuate an innacurate idea of the country.
 

akira28

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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

Evo seems like an ok guy.
 
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People shutting down any sort of critical discussion on how media portrays developing countries is hugely disappointing. You're allowed to critique media you love. (See: Feminist Frequency)
 

Kinyou

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Isn't the premise of this game "what if Bolivia got invaded and controlled by a drug cartel"? So isn't anything incongruent with reality because of that absurd premise?
The game could probably use one of those "The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious." disclaimers when you start it up.
 

Shang

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May 23, 2015
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Imagine if the U.S. threatened to take legal action over the representation of New York as full of bandits, terrorism and dying, homeless stragglers in the Division.

It's a work of fiction. Fiction is allowed to have caricaturized, unreal versions of real world settings, as has been the way for a while. I don't think Ubisoft intended to make any generalizations about Bolivia with Ghost Recon.
 

Pacotez

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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.

That guy is somewhat full of shit but so are you in a way.
What wildlands does is wrong because Bolivia isn't like that, if it was then sure, depict it that way. I'm brazilian and I'd be glad if the only thing my country was mentioned for was either for downplaying it or being portrayed as the hellhole it is. I'm actually offended when we are portayed the other way around
 

Kinyou

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Imagine if the U.S. threatened to take legal action over the representation of New York as full of bandits, terrorism and dying, homeless stragglers in the Division.

It's a work of fiction. Fiction is allowed to have caricaturized, unreal versions of real world settings, as has been the way for a while. I don't think Ubisoft intended to make any generalizations about Bolivia with Ghost Recon.
I think the problem there is that Wildlands gives off a more realistic vibe. In the Division the whole setup makes it clear that everything is fiction while in Wildlands it does look like the normal country, with people living their lives, farming, traffic etc.

I don't think they intended to generalize Bolivia, but they could accidentally paint a false picture. A clear disclaimer that this is fiction could imo fix that
 

Kinyou

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Sep 12, 2009
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How many true story games are there?
Very few, but using real life incidents isn't that uncommon

Edit:

Wait what, didn't read this bit until now

Romero said that although the game does not mention Bolivia directly, the country is easily identifiable by geographic regions and symbols in the game.
That makes it into a non issue for me. People who don't really know Bolivia hardly will identify it as such, and those who can, will likely know that the real country isn't run by the cartel.
 

OldMuffin

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Feb 22, 2015
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As someone who was born and raised in a third world country, I just want to point out how shitty some of the people in the government are, especially when it comes to stuff like "protecting our culture blah blah blah". This is a work of fiction and should not it anyway be seen as anything that accurately represents the people, values, etc of the place unless otherwise stated. If anything this infringes on people's freedom of speech (something a lot of us third world countries already lack) and should not be allowed.
 

RedSwirl

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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.

From this post it seems like where Ubisoft really fucked up is in the geography and infrastructure.

The marketing material and all that says the game is supposed to be about fighting Mexicans in Bolivia. So it's understandable of the characters you're fighting and maybe even some of their culture looks Mexican, but if the land itself and the towns themselves look more Mexican than Bolivian then that's a problem.
 

Fuu

Formerly Alaluef (not Aladuf)
Nov 22, 2007
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That guy is somewhat full of shit but so are you in a way.
What wildlands does is wrong because Bolivia isn't like that, if it was then sure, depict it that way. I'm brazilian and I'd be glad if the only thing my country was mentioned for was either for downplaying it or being portrayed as the hellhole it is. I'm actually offended when we are portayed the other way around
Wait, so Bolivia isn't a hellhole but Brazil is? What kind of metrics are you using here?

If you think all Brazilian regions deserve to be demeaned in media, what do you think about countries that are comparable to or worse off than Brazil economically and socially? Should content creators also ignore any good that exists in those places and only portray the negatives?
 

Iva Demilcol

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I think it was Mexico before which probably lead to them using fake Bolivia instead.

I remember that game. I never played it but I remember some media trying to create controversy around it to the point that during a press conference about a more important matter a reporter asked the president of Mexico his opinion about the new Ghost Recon. He answered it was just a work of fiction and that there was no need to take further actions. Some people didn't agree but at the time all I really cared was that the depiction of Mexico City was accurate tbh. So I kind of understand if Bolivians get upset if Ubi didn't do research and just said: "this is a rural town in Bolivia; btw we are a multiracial team so we are absolved of all the mistakes we made during the development of this game".


Funny thing is, that I have actually been asked if we have polar bears and proper electricity here in Finland. This was in the early 2000 but it was pretty funny. Oh and it was over internet too.

When I was living in Japan, the owner of the house were I was living asked me after more than a year I had been living next to his house "Hey Iva, why don't you wear a big hat? Isn't that what all Mexicans wear?... also, I thought Mexicans usually had mustaches" I couldn't help but laugh, and everyone at the party did that too. I just replied "well, that was the fashion like... 100 years ago?"
 
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Except it's a piece of fiction, clearly stated so, where a Mexican drug cartel has invaded and taken over the country.

Some responsibility lies on the consumer of the fiction to understand that it is indeed fiction.

We can't seriously mean that every piece of art, culture and other fictional forms of expression should be 100% in sync with real life?

I am tired of kind of justifications. Nobody said it must be 100% in sync with real life, but if you wanted to make a fictional story set in a real country and for whatever reason couldn't make some real portrayal of its government, culture, architecture or flora, then why not give it a fictional name to begin with?

Name-dropping real things is the easiest way to give your fictional work an air of legitimacy. It's not satire, it's not a social commentary, it's not tourism promotion, it's not even an intentional mockery. There really is no other reason but to give the audience that sense of "hey, this country actually exists in real life!"

So they dared to adopt accurate name and topography, but just stopped there. That's just really disappointing, at the very least.

That makes it into a non issue for me. People who don't really know Bolivia hardly will identify it as such, and those who can, will likely know that the real country isn't run by the cartel.
That might be a good point if they didn't actually plastered the name on their promotional efforts.

 

Orochinagis

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But isn't the narrative something like a Mexican cartel takes takes over in Bolivia? I think it's known that the Santa Muerte theme throughout the game world and the cartel itself are Mexican and not Bolivian.

its not even a Mexican cartel, the Santa Muerte cartel is a exaggerated depictiong of Mara Salvatrucha (some sort of criminal gang groups) with some scarce info about Santa Muerte religion which is tied on drug dealers faith
 

cripterion

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It hurts tourism in the nation.

Lol please. " hey kids, let's cancel our trip to Bolivia cause oh boy that GR Wildlands made me reconsider".
You really think a video game is going to hurt tourism there? I guess Americans don't want to travel in Europe after seeing Hostel too right?

This shit is ridiculous. It is a work of fiction. If people are gullible enough to believe it I dare say the country that's targeted is for the better for not having them come to their soil.
 

veloxStrix

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Oct 22, 2013
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Lol please. " hey kids, let's cancel our trip to Bolivia cause oh boy that GR Wildlands made me reconsider".
You really think a video game is going to hurt tourism there? I guess Americans don't want to travel in Europe after seeing Hostel too right?

This shit is ridiculous. It is a work of fiction. If people are gullible enough to believe it I dare say the country that's targeted is for the better for not having them come to their soil.

Media affecting people's perception of other people and/or places? I can't imagine that being a thing.
 

Lanrutcon

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Lol please. " hey kids, let's cancel our trip to Bolivia cause oh boy that GR Wildlands made me reconsider".
You really think a video game is going to hurt tourism there? I guess Americans don't want to travel in Europe after seeing Hostel too right?

This shit is ridiculous. It is a work of fiction. If people are gullible enough to believe it I dare say the country that's targeted is for the better for not having them come to their soil.

Real talk: are you just trolling right now, or do are you genuinely this naive?
 

cripterion

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Media affecting people's perception of other people and/or places? I can't imagine that being a thing.

Well if anyone's dumb enough to believe it who's at fault here? It's not like we have Francois Hollande claiming Bolivia is a cartel heaven is it?
 

cripterion

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Real talk: are you just trolling right now, or do are you genuinely this naive?

Trolling how? If people can't be bothered to open a wiki page let alone believe a fictional video game over any other means of getting information i guess yes you could call me naive.

Sorry about the DP.
 

KyanMehwulfe

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probably one of the reasons they chose Bolivia :p it's a lot smaller country than, say, Columbia or Mexico. there are obvious aesthetic reasons too (e.g. environmental variety) but if you're going to make a game that inaccurately and exaggerates an already skewed stereotype -- fiction or not -- then you might as well try mitigate the marketing damage.

e.g. if it was Mexico maybe even Columbia, probably creates a lot more offense to potential Ghost Recon consumers both in Latin America but even in the U.S.

and media like movies and games do shape stereotypes... people already misunderstand bolivia, i'd wager. in addition, i can think of examples of movies shaping how i viewed the US even, growing up in canada... watching 80s and early 90s crime/action movies set in New York or New York esque cities, my perception of the city was probably much worse than the city actually was (i would of thought people were getting stabbed on subways on the daily haha though i was also ten lol). so it's a fair criticism to be sure.

that said, could be said there's no such thing as bad publicity. i mean, hey, at least a new generation of gamers is googling your country after, maybe a few will realize it's actually safe and cool to visit.

found a quote from a government funded tourism Columbian DMO about Netflix's Narcos:
”I believe that everything can contribute to the promotion and everything can contribute to see Colombia in a different way." ”[Narcos] is something that will attract, and is actually attracting, people to come to Colombia and see what we have to offer. When they come to Colombia, they will realize not only what we used to have, but the beautiful things that we have."

so you can see the stereotyping as a threat or the attention as an opportunity. also, it's fiction so whatever, criticism or boycotts are cool but good luck with an embassy filing legal action lol
 
Å

Åesop

Unconfirmed Member
You won't be saying that if you lived in a small country and you find out that a foreign company is portraying it as a shit hole full of drugs and crime.

I wouldn't give a shit if they did (as I already mentioned with the movie Borat and my country Kazakhstan). If someone uses games/ movies as some sort of geography lesson, then that persons stupidity is the actual problem and should be adressed.

Getting butthurt over artistic and fictional media and then trying to censor them is definetly not the right way.
 

xealo

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It's a work of fiction. Bolivia can ban the game if they're touchy about it being set in a fictional Bolivia, but that's about the most that can reasonably be expected to come out of it.
 

MajinSweet4

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You won't be saying that if you lived in a small country and you find out that a foreign company is portraying it as a shit hole full of drugs and crime.

Except they are not doing that. The game is literally set in the future, with a "what if" scenario. They are not saying Bolivia is a shit hole.
 

MajinSweet4

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I am tired of kind of justifications. Nobody said it must be 100% in sync with real life, but if you wanted to make a fictional story set in a real country and for whatever reason couldn't make some real portrayal of its government, culture, architecture or flora, then why not give it a fictional name to begin with?

Name-dropping real things is the easiest way to give your fictional work an air of legitimacy. It's not satire, it's not a social commentary, it's not tourism promotion, it's not even an intentional mockery. There really is no other reason but to give the audience that sense of "hey, this country actually exists in real life!"

So they dared to adopt accurate name and topography, but just stopped there. That's just really disappointing, at the very least.


That might be a good point if they didn't actually plastered the name on their promotional efforts.


Dude, it says "recreation", right in the picture you linked. As in "not the real thing". Like cmon.

edit: Sorry for double post, I'm dumb.
 

Trace

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It's a work of fiction. Bolivia can ban the game if they're touchy about it being set in a fictional Bolivia, but that's about the most that can reasonably be expected to come out of it.

.

That's pretty much my thoughts on it. It's not up to Ubisoft to be Bolivia's tourism department. And really, it's a work of fiction and it makes that very obvious.
 

Brockxz

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You won't be saying that if you lived in a small country and you find out that a foreign company is portraying it as a shit hole full of drugs and crime.

Why not? I live in Latvia, small country in Europe (i bet half of people here won't be able to even pinpoint exact location of Latvia in map) and we are always portrayed a bit in negative or funny way in US TV/Movies etc. Everyone here are laughing about that kind of things. It's like "Hey, our country is famous" :D Lately it's almost like a trend, if you need a criminal from Europe but don't want it to be russian, let's take someone from next to Russia.
 

Tecnniqe

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Why not? I live in Latvia, small country in Europe (i bet half of people here won't be able to even pinpoint exact location of Latvia in map) and we are always portrayed a bit in negative or funny way in US TV/Movies etc. Everyone here are laughing about that kind of things. It's like "Hey, our country is famous" :D
Lewdatar
 

Despera

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Welcome to the "we'll portray the country based on stereotypes" club, Bolivia.

Sincerely,
The Middle-East
 

Striek

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Dude, it says "recreation", right in the picture you linked. As in "not the real thing". Like cmon.

edit: Sorry for double post, I'm dumb.
Not caring much for this story either way, but recreation doesn't mean they did or did not try to be accurate. In fact most if the time you would expect a recreation to be accurate to the source as a matter of quality. "Faithfully recreated" is a common term in media.
 

Shifty

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Sep 25, 2015
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Ho boy this thread.

The Bolivian president has every right to complain, but threatening legal action when the game makes zero mention of Bolivia is flying off the handle.

Now excuse me while I go and write a strongly-worded letter to my local MP and demand reparations for the shameful representation of London in Cockneys vs Zombies.
 

jnWake

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Mar 30, 2013
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Ho boy this thread.

The Bolivian president has every right to complain, but threatening legal action when the game makes zero mention of Bolivia is flying off the handle.
Bolivian president loves deflecting attention by threatening other countries.
 

Vintage

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May 29, 2013
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Ho boy this thread.

The Bolivian president has every right to complain, but threatening legal action when the game makes zero mention of Bolivia is flying off the handle.

Now excuse me while I go and write a strongly-worded letter to my local MP and demand reparations for the shameful representation of London in Cockneys vs Zombies.

Yep, he has a right to complain, but we have a right to laugh at it.
 

John Caboose

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If they have a complaint they should send it to Ubisoft. Asking another country to smack down on entertainment media is a shitty move.
 
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Dude, it says "recreation", right in the picture you linked. As in "not the real thing". Like cmon.

edit: Sorry for double post, I'm dumb.

The entire thrust of my post is basically to question the purpose of calling something a "recreation" of a specific thing if little about it actually resembles the actual thing.

"We recreated Bolivia! It doesn't really look like Bolivia but whatever immerse yourself in Bolivian culture (not actually Bolivian culture)"
 

cripterion

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So tired of having latin america represented like this. Good for you Bolivia.

So Bolivia is all latin america now?

Also there's more to the game that what we've seen as indicated by people playing golf in the GDC footage. Maybe the Bolivian government didn't like the way helicopters handle? :p
 

KillLaCam

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Jan 6, 2017
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I'm confused. Isn't it obvious that nothing that crazy is going on in Bolivia? Like you could say this game was set in anywhere in South America and it'll be obvious that none of this is happening.


.. Maybe I'm just overestimating how much the average person knows about the world or even how much common sense they'd have