With The Division 2 having its open beta date drawing closer, anticipation for the title has been building in the public sphere. It makes sense to ride the community's groundswell of hype leading up to a title's release, and an effective PR management strategy is key to capitalizing on that. That being said, Ubisoft's team has gone with a controversial strategy: a fake press release about a Division 2 border wall.
The phrase "build a wall" has become synonymous with the American government's plans to construct a wall on its border with Mexico. This idea was first floated in 2016, and efforts to raise funding for it have now gone as far as a GoFundMe being launched for the initiative this year. Now, this concept is expanding into video game territory.
Ubisoft decided to shoot their shot on Twitter with a fake press release from the Mexican government. This press release notes that the country has declared a "state of emergency" and authorized immediate funding to build a wall to keep people from the United States out. It also specifically makes reference to a refugee caravan and notes that the government is closing the border and enacting this Division 2 border wall for the protection of the country's people. Check out the press release below:
THIS JUST IN. Mexico responds to the deteriorating situation in the US. pic.twitter.com/xassgLoXLF— The Division 2 (@TheDivisionGame) March 6, 2019
The tone of Ubisoft's release is arguably questionable, especially in light of their repeated exclamations that The Division 2 isn't a political game at all. Considering the parallels to the situation unfolding currently in our timeline where the United States is threatening to build a wall to keep the people of Mexico out of the country, it's definitely a reference that's careened past the point of coincidence and into deliberate satire.
For the team behind The Division 2 to continuously insist that the game isn't political when it leans on transplanting politically-charged real-world examples into its universe is an interesting PR choice at best, and an ignorant one in other respects. Unlike Wolfenstein, which leaned into its controversial marketing to great effect, it seems as if Ubisoft would rather not rock the boat.
Considering that The Division 2 could be the company's biggest release yet, the back and forth that their marketing is doing on the game's undeniably political inspiration doesn't seem particularly productive. This wouldn't be the first press release put out in the lead up to a release that has had fans scratching their heads, and it likely won't be the last.