Japanese gamers boycott Ubisoft over new Assassin’s Creed game

Japanese gamers boycott Ubisoft over new Assassin’s Creed game

Ubisoft blocks Japanese historian after he claims Assassin’s Creed: Shadows is inaccurate and offensive.

Ubisoft’s upcoming release, Assassin’s Creed: Shadows, set in feudal Japan, has caused a firestorm of controversy among Japanese gamers. The game’s depiction of historical figures and cultural elements was met with widespread outrage, leading to calls for a boycott.

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The main source of contention is the game’s protagonist, Yasuke, an African historical figure. Ubisoft’s decision to portray Yasuke as a samurai has been criticized for being historically inaccurate. Although Yasuke was indeed a vassal in feudal Japan, there is no evidence to support the claim that he was a samurai. Many gamers and historians see this as an attempt to revise history for political purposes, which has not been well received in Japan.

Japanese gamers boycott Ubisoft over new Assassin’s Creed game

This historical revisionism extends beyond character choices. Promotional material for Assassin’s Creed: Shadows, including images and merchandise, have been criticized for inaccuracies such as misspelled kanji. These mistakes highlight a perceived lack of genuine respect for Japanese culture, further fueling the backlash.

Social media is a hotbed of comments from Japanese gamers. IGN Japan’s reports of the game have generated significant negative feedback, with users expressing frustration with the fictional portrayal of Yasuke as a legendary samurai. Many have pointed out the dangers of presenting fictional stories as historical fact, with some even calling for boycotts of the game.

One user commented: “Yasuke, who has not achieved any historical feats, could be turned into a legendary Samurai, a great ruler of Japan, or even a beautiful girl in a work of fiction, as long as it is not wrongly portrayed as a real historical fact. . The only problem is people who pretend that fictional stories are historical facts.”

Assassin's Creed Shadows
Japanese gamers boycott Ubisoft over new Assassin’s Creed game

Another user echoed similar sentiments: “Even though it’s called historical fiction, these are people who insist on revising history to be politically correct, and it makes me want to puke.”

Adding to the controversy, Ubisoft has reportedly blocked a prominent Japanese historian who criticized the game for its historical inaccuracies. The move is seen by many as an attempt to silence legitimate criticism, further amplifying the backlash.

The game’s aesthetic choices have also come under fire. The incorporation of hip hop beats into traditional Japanese music is considered stereotypical and historically inaccurate, as Yasuke lived centuries before the rise of hip hop. Critics argue that this choice reflects a shallow understanding of cultural integration and is more about pandering than authenticity.

The outrage isn’t just about historical inaccuracies; it also touches on broader social issues. Critics argue that Ubisoft’s approach reflects a broader trend of using cultural institutions and characters to push modern political agendas. The involvement of consulting firms known for their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives has also been a point of contention.

Shadows protagonists
Japanese gamers boycott Ubisoft over new Assassin’s Creed game

A critical voice on social media stated: “If you watch the video you can see that there is no mention of the Templars or the Assassins at all. Why don’t you stop calling? Assassin’s Creed in a politically complicated time?”

Another commented: “The Assassin’s Creed series has always had a local character as the main characters. They call Yasuke a samurai who played an active role. If this were to happen in China or Korea, it would cause great outrage and even lead to a ban.”

Such as the publication of Assassin’s Creed: Shadows approaches, it remains to be seen how Ubisoft will address these concerns and whether the criticism will affect the game’s success. The response from Japanese gamers underlines the complexity of balancing creative freedom with cultural and historical accuracy.