BY JEFF ANDREWS
An entity calling itself Gamers United posted a petition to Change.org about Ubisofts forthcoming game Far Cry 5 on Tuesday, and boy is it a doozy. At least it was: After circulating on social media and getting coverage on several sites, the petition was taken down on Tuesday afternoon as it approached 1,000 signatures.
Far Cry is a popular open-world first-person shooter franchise that launchedin 2004. The newest installment, Far Cry 5, is scheduled for release in 2018 and is set in a fictional county in rural Montana where a doomsday cult has caused violence. The player isa sheriffs deputy who is charged with arresting the cults leader.
Among the petitions many demands, Gamers United wants game publisher Ubisoft to change Far Cry 5s villains from American Christians to Muslims andinner city gangs, or failing that, at least sprinkle more black people into the cult so as to not target white people exclusively.The petition is wholly ridiculous and exactly what youd expect from the GamerGate movement, whichspent the better part of 2014 cyber-bullyingwomen who play video games.
Theres also thepossibility that the petition isfake or that it was created to promote the game, an idea posited on Reddit. For one, the petition is quite on-the-nose and contains not-so-subtle digs at the gaming community, including a call-to-arms that includes the continued rejection of romantic partners when they find out our hobby. The GamerGate subreddit /r/KotakuInAction condemned the petition in a lengthy thread.
Whoever wrote this is insane, wrote one user. I can guarantee you this is third party trolling, another wrote. Another added: This is third party trolling, i.e. a marketing stunt
There is precedent for brands creating fake controversies to drum up free publicity, and if this was a stunt, it worked to perfection as publications ranging from Forbes to Mashable have written about the petition. It also went viral on Twitter, with both people supporting the petition and making fun it. As of publication of this article, Ubisoft hasnt respond to Vocativs request for comment.
The petition was mysteriously pulled from Change.org at around 3:30 pm ET on Tuesday, so we may never know the truth. Either way, its telling that people cant distinguish GamerGate rantsfrom a satire about them.