Marketable religion: How game company Ubisoft commodified religion for a global audience

Lars de Wildt, Stef Aupers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Videogame companies are selling religion to an overwhelmingly secular demographic. Ubisoft, the biggest company in the world's biggest cultural industry, created a best-selling franchise about a conflict over Biblical artefacts between Muslim Assassins and Christian Templars. Who decides to put religion into those games? How? And why? To find out, we interviewed 22 developers on the Assassin's Creed franchise, including directors and writers. Based on those, we show that the "who" of Ubisoft is not a person but an industry: a de-personalized and codified process. How? Marketing, editorial and production teams curb creative teams into reproducing a formula: a depoliticized, universalized, and science-fictionalized "marketable religion." Why? Because this marketable form of religious heritage can be consumed by everyone-regardless of cultural background or conviction. As such, this paper adds an empirically grounded perspective on the "who," "why," and "how" of cultural industries' successful commodification of religious and cultural heritage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14695405211062060
Number of pages22
JournalJOURNAL OF CONSUMER CULTURE
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • production studies
  • cultural industries
  • videogames
  • religion
  • commodification
  • Assassin's Creed
  • marketable religion
  • depoliticization
  • universalization
  • science-fictionalization
  • ONLINE
  • WORLD

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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