Shortly after the launch of the mobile tactical RPG Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad, Ubisoft has found itself embroiled in controversy once again. The introductory cinematic for the game lays out the basic premise and names the adversary organization players are fighting against. Unfortunately, somebody at Ubisoft Owlient seems to have overlooked a couple of potential imagery issues.
The adversary in Elite Squad is a group calling itself UMBRA, ostensibly taking advantage of civil unrest to further its own goals. One of the “propaganda posters” appearing in the cinematic shows a stylized black fist raised up. This particular symbol is already associated with several real-life groups such as Black Lives Matter. Protest from the gaming community at large has prompted Ubisoft to issue a statement on their Twitter feed.
Imagery that appeared in the opening video sequence of Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad featuring a ‘raised fist’ was insensitive and harmful in both its inclusion and how it was portrayed. We have listened to and appreciate the players and the broader community who have pointed it out and we apologize. This ‘raised fist’ imagery will be removed in the next title update this Tuesday, September 1 on Android and as soon as possible on iOS.
As of the time of this writing, Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad shows over one million installs on Android devices. The install base on iOS is currently unknown. The game is free-to-play, but has a number of potential in-app purchases.
Food For Thought
It should be pointed out that the efforts for producing a cinematic sequence usually takes time, sometimes on the order of months in the case of pre-rendered sequences or in-engine “machinima,” which would have put its origins before current events. The nature of Ubisoft’s statement suggests that either they have the means to alter the imagery in the cinematic (which in turn suggests it was shot in-engine) or they intend to simply cut the intro sequence for the moment. Either way, it’s yet another problem which Ubisoft really cannot afford to be creating at this time.