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

semiconscious

Member
Jun 30, 2006
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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.

this, & have said it previously:

nothing to do with 'liberal guilt', imo - having the game set in bolivia is just in poor taste, period. as was much of what went on in the division, for that matter. but i'm pretty sure a tom clancy game is, at this point, pretty much required to feature at least some element that's in poor taste? :) ...
 

cripterion

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May 15, 2010
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France
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

 

Hentailover

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Oct 20, 2015
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This thread worries me. Not for obvious reasons. So many people are readily siding with Bolivia, considering this:

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.


This is literally censorship. They demand either for Government to censor Ubisoft, or censor them via legal action for fiction story involving fiction conflict in fictional future.


It is 100% ok to critize the work for the story, setting, it's qualities, and it's social and political statements, intentional or unintentional. There's a place for complex and more deep critique with much broader contexts, directed at any piece of artistic expression.

Demanding to silence them however is not alright. This isn't like they are slandering Bolivia, but claiming that their depiction is 100% accurate. It's a fitional story about fitional conflict in fictional future. Siding with Bolivia just because you think what Ubisoft did is in poor taste, is quite literally supporting censorship

This isn't a case of giving an underage anime girl more modest shorts instead of a g-string, this is Bolivia, literally demanding for government mandated censorship of Ubisoft's work.

I repeat the quote:
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.
 

Shengar

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Jun 27, 2013
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Whenever a non developed country filed up complaints on their depiction in fiction, people always ridicule for being too sensitive or just can't accept "work of art". Yeah, it's nice to come from country that have big internet presence to not warrant a stereotyped impression coming from a misrepresenting work of fiction.
 
Å

Åesop

Unconfirmed Member
This is literally censorship. They demand either for Government to censor Ubisoft, or censor them via legal action for fiction story involving fiction conflict in fictional future.


It is 100% ok to critize the work for the story, setting, it's qualities, and it's social and political statements, intentional or unintentional. There's a place for complex and more deep critique with much broader contexts, directed at any piece of artistic expression.

Demanding to silence them however is not alright. This isn't like they are slandering Bolivia, but claiming that their depiction is 100% accurate. It's a fitional story about fitional conflict in fictional future. Siding with Bolivia just because you think what Ubisoft did is in poor taste, is quite literally supporting censorship

This isn't a case of giving an underage anime girl more modest shorts instead of a g-string, this is Bolivia, literally demanding for government mandated censorship of Ubisoft's work.

Exactly. It really is pathetic. I don't get the over-the-top political corectness bs in here, like "oh but the game is misrepresenting the country, we have to stop Ubisoft". Are you really supporting that kind of censorship?
 

kiguel182

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Sep 9, 2013
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It must suck to have your country treated like a drug infused land ruled by criminals but well, its in Ubisofts right to make it even if it isn't a super tasteful game.
 

Hentailover

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Oct 20, 2015
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Whenever a non developed country filed up complaints on their depiction in fiction, people always ridicule for being too sensitive or just can't accept "work of art". Yeah, it's nice to come from country that have big internet presence to not warrant a stereotyped impression coming from a misrepresenting work of fiction.

Complaining and crticizing is alright, It becomes a problem, when they demand to literally censor it.

I dunno, maybe I am a weirdo for believing in freedom of artistic expression, but I do not feel comfortable about a work being censored BY GOVERNMENT because it says something somebody somewhere didn't like.


Sure, Ubisoft is ultimately a corporation and there's probably very little actual artistic integrity to wildlands, behind all the focus testing and marketing research, but unless we create some sort of horrifyingly oppresive commission that judges "artistic integrity" of each work using some nebulous criteria, and dispenses rights and protections based on that, all works of art should have same free speech protections, even the ones that are made by big soulless corporations.
 

olaznoG

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Jun 21, 2012
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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.

So, if instead of latin american countries stereotypes and generalization, the game was based around african-american stereotypes and generalization, you'll be saying the same, right?
 
Å

Åesop

Unconfirmed Member
So, if instead of latin american countries stereotypes and generalization, the game was based around african-american stereotypes and generalization, you'll be saying the same, right?

YES
 

MajinSweet4

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Dec 28, 2012
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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)"

"Bolivian culture corrupted by the villains" If you want to say they didn't do a good job of that, go ahead. But you seem to not even understand what the premise of the game is. It's not even like some crazy concept, it's practically a trope to take a known setting then distort it via some plot device.
 

moai

Member
Jun 7, 2004
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watch out ubisoft, they make take you to court on the hague.
played the beta and everything sounds and looks like mexico, i think ubisoft didnt do a very good research.
 

Carcetti

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Jan 14, 2011
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It might be distasteful and annoying (and very probably is) but there's no legal leg to stand on here.

Unless there should be a new rule for fiction, of course.

'In a fictional tale about a real life country, nothing fictional or non-historical can happen'.
 

ISOM

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Feb 22, 2012
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So, if instead of latin american countries stereotypes and generalization, the game was based around african-american stereotypes and generalization, you'll be saying the same, right?

You fight them by creating a media controversy and having online debates about stereotypes and racism but I would never purposely try to censor their depictions via legal means. It's ridiculous to even question if you should do that.
 

Vintage

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May 29, 2013
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I'm pretty sure more people will be interested in Bolivia after playing the game. Negative popularity is still popularity and it may change to positive when people google Bolivia and will see what the situation actually is. If not for this game Bolivia would be even more forgotten. I think they are missing an opportunity to collaborate with Ubisoft to spread tourist advertisement.

On a different note, what is the situation on censorship in Bolivia? Can government shut down anything without question? It's kinda telling if they think it's normal to ban fictional piece of art by just because they don't like it.
 
Mar 27, 2015
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I think no matter what the game portrays it's going to have people that complain about it, rather all people were replaced with aliens etc

People will complain cause it doesn't fit what they want.

There is millions of people out there who would say shooting in general shouldn't be in the game after all.
 

Camp Freddie

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Aug 15, 2012
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I read this as Bolivian diplomats kicking up a fuss to make sure that foreigners understand it's not a narco-republic of where everyone drives on dirt roads and lives in a rickety farm shack.

I don;t think they're actually serious about suing France, they just want to make sure they get their point of view in the headlines.

Most people know fuck all about Bolivia, so a game showing it as a weak nation unable to defend itself from takeover by a few Mexican narco-terrorists is a lot more damaging than something like Homefront - because everyone knows what America is really like.
A nation so weak and corrupt it was conquered without any serious opposition by a corrupt businessman in thrall to the Russians.
 

IvorB

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Apr 26, 2013
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I'm not surprised. The exposition of the plot at the start of the demo did raise my eye-brows.
 

Lime

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Apr 27, 2008
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People who try to shut down and silence criticisms from under- & misrepresented countries are the absolute worst.
 
Aug 8, 2012
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"Bolivian culture corrupted by the villains". If you want to say they didn't do a good job of that, go ahead. But you seem to not even understand what the premise of the game is. It's not even like some crazy concept, it's practically a trope to take a known setting then distort it via some plot device.

I suppose these villains also carry their buildings and structures with them wholesale and plant them all over the country for some reason. Please follow the thread from the beginning; not everything could be excused away by "but the cartel took over the country!"

Regardless, "known setting corrupted" as a trope only works when the setting is actually "known" by the audience. When the original culture is not widely familiar to begin with, and then you skewed it until nothing is left, and that fact never actually addressed, what's the point of the name-drop?
 

NewDust

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Nov 18, 2013
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Whenever a non developed country filed up complaints on their depiction in fiction, people always ridicule for being too sensitive or just can't accept "work of art". Yeah, it's nice to come from country that have big internet presence to not warrant a stereotyped impression coming from a misrepresenting work of fiction.


Newsflash: Every country is stereotyped in works of fiction. Americans are fat, gun-toting rednecks, Irish are poor, drunk terrorists, my country apparently has nothing more to offer than tulips, windmills, weed and prostitutes.

I woild be more up in arms that the cultural and architectural tone supposedly doesn't actually represent Bolivia. Though in the Beta threads there was someone that said they pretty much nailed it.
 

Bulzeeb

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Feb 11, 2011
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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.

I can't agree with some of you in here or Bolivia. Fiction is fiction and it isn't suppose to portray it realistically, even if they wanted to that is impossible in games now.

We can have zombies, cop killing, murder, war, nukes, death of all people in other games and areas (real countries etc) but can't do it here? I mean, I understand his concern but he should be aware that no one is playing the game assuming this represents the country. This would have never ever came up (and if it does, on rare and non warranted causes) if he had not said anything. The only ones making it into something is him honestly.

well I kinda get their point of the complain, unlike the U.S and most Europe countries, the topic of drugs its a really touchy thing in all of south america, I know this might sound like apples and oranges but lets say that in 2019 a russian army gained influence in the U.S and started to create slave cities that use german architecture, we in south america could say "well dude its fiction, get over it" but your cultural background will not take it lightly and people will be outraged by it
 

Sec0nd

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Sep 6, 2010
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This thread worries me. Not for obvious reasons. So many people are readily siding with Bolivia, considering this:




This is literally censorship. They demand either for Government to censor Ubisoft, or censor them via legal action for fiction story involving fiction conflict in fictional future.


It is 100% ok to critize the work for the story, setting, it's qualities, and it's social and political statements, intentional or unintentional. There's a place for complex and more deep critique with much broader contexts, directed at any piece of artistic expression.

Demanding to silence them however is not alright. This isn't like they are slandering Bolivia, but claiming that their depiction is 100% accurate. It's a fitional story about fitional conflict in fictional future. Siding with Bolivia just because you think what Ubisoft did is in poor taste, is quite literally supporting censorship

This isn't a case of giving an underage anime girl more modest shorts instead of a g-string, this is Bolivia, literally demanding for government mandated censorship of Ubisoft's work.

I repeat the quote:

I dunno. It's a slippery slope I guess. Countries such as Bolivia could benefit greatly from western tourist money. And since this game will mostly be sold to the western market it could paint a country like Bolivia like a dangerous country, not worth going to on your holidays. I mean, it's not like a game like this will single handedly kill the entire tourism business on its own. But it could reaffirm the believes that many people will already most likely have.

I remember reading some articles that the people of Colombia hated the Netflix series Narcos. Since it once again painted Colombia as a dangerous as fuck country. An image that they had been working hard to get rid of.
 
Å

Åesop

Unconfirmed Member
People who try to shut down and silence criticisms from under- & misrepresented countries are the absolute worst.

I don't think anyone in this thread got something against criticism. It's more about how they are threatening to take legal actions to get the game censored/ banned.
 

VincentMatts

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Aug 21, 2014
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Åesop;231361455 said:
Pathetic.. it's a video game, get over it

I agree. Its fiction. At one point, should we have to make sure that all fictional products made for entertainment be 100% accurate at all times? Ridiculous.
 

Madness

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Jan 1, 2013
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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.

No they wouldn't even if they did mention. It is not a first world thing, but a work of fiction. It must suck if your country is not known for anything else worldwide except to conplain that a despotic region in a video game may be based on it. Also, aren't they making a giant mistake by even doing this? I didn't associate Bolivia with the game, but now if I play it or buy it, I will. So if it is never mentioned in the game, the Bolivian government has just set in the minds of everyone it is their country.

In movies, books, games, fake scenarios are created all the time. West Virginia is not a state where backwood inbred americans have super strength and kill and eat hitchhikers en masse like in the movie Wrong Turn, a rural area of Spain wouldn't be ignored if the populace turned into Zombies like in RE4 where villagers use pitchforks and torches like it is still 1890 etc.

So, if instead of latin american countries stereotypes and generalization, the game was based around african-american stereotypes and generalization, you'll be saying the same, right?

You do realize you can make points without having to draw black/african-americans in right? Almost every time there is someone who will say well if it was about black people etc.

People who try to shut down and silence criticisms from under- & misrepresented countries are the absolute worst.

At this point I honestly feel like you are just trolling now. Get off your moral soapbox for a change and stop talking down to people as if you know everything and your way of looking at things is right, it isn't. Complaining that a work of fiction portrays a region or country badly is okay, but saying that anyone who disagrees is shutting down and silencing criticism? We now would have to take into account the emotional feelings of people who are upset that their country is marginally identified as a place with an authoritarian ruler and drug cartels in a video game and request games be changed? It is one thing if the game blatantly insulted, stereotyped and almost slandered the nation, and even then, it still wouldn't change much.
 

cripterion

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May 15, 2010
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France
In this thread I've now learned that Bolivia will be known for its depiction as a gang infested country in Ubisoft latest video game, not for having its capital city with the highest altitude above sea level lol.
 

OfTheOverflow

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Aug 18, 2015
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I am personally bothered not so much by the fact that they depicted Bolivia as a cartel-controlled country (it is a videogame and it is fiction set in the future, that's not an issue), but rather by the fact that they just took a bunch of cultural and visual elements which are not even Bolivian but that are probably recognisable to western audiences (deserts, Mexican Día de los Muertos and Santa Muerte, etc.) and just applied them to the country. Bolivia has its own cultural elements and its own indigenous themes and motives, it does not need to have the Mexican ones "copied and pasted".

They could have made the same storyline (Mexican cartels take over Bolivia in the not so distant future), but actually trying to reflect how Bolivia actually looks like. I mean, I've seen some landmarks (The Death Road, the Train Graveyard), but the towns and rest look generic and almost copied from Mexican settings.

The truth is that the devs don't really care, western audiences don't care either and they can just display Bolivia in the most bizarre and inaccurate of ways (as they did in Quantum of Solace, or in the Beirut and San José examples on this thread) and people will actually believe that that's how those countries look like.

And the truth is that many developing countries are misrepresented in the media all the time. Hollywood is the main offender.

Absolutely agree, it's pretty ridiculous.
 

dr3upmushroom

Banned
Jun 18, 2006
11,235
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The point of the story is that Mexican cartels have invaded Bolivia.
This makes no sense story wise.

Anyways from the get go having bunch of White dudes in a brown country wrecking shit is stupid to begin with.

Ubi was probably to chicken shit to just say the game was set in Mexico, because they didn't want to offend a portion of consumers so they just chose a smaller brown country.
 

Option-

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Jun 12, 2016
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But didn´t get the game at least the topography right? I think the motives and themes will easily be overlooked by the masses and most of them doesn´t really bother cultural aspects like that. So at least Ubi could provide some realisitc representation of the landmark which is an achievement imo.

http://www.thousandwonders.net/Bolivia
 
Jun 29, 2016
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On one hand it's just a videogame.

On the other hand, for a few decades it kinda sucked to have your representation in a videogame be a green electric beast living in the jungle with animal and native american friends. So i can see where the government is coming from. Better cut the shit before it grows too much

On the other other hand, Blanka is my spirit animal so give me more Brazilian Beasts capcom.
 

Ether_Snake

安安安安安安安安安安安安安安安
Dec 2, 2006
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They should do like GTA and just make up some names. Probably because this is a Tom Clancy brand they don't want to do that, but it's not much of an excuse to me.