French video games should not be a platform for the far-right

A few days ago, the French game publisher Microids, which produces many licensed games such as the upcoming new entry in the Syberia series, announced a partnership with the Puy du Fou to produce a video game about this theme park. We denounce this partnership and oppose the existence of such a game, which we think would set a dangerous precedent in our industry by normalising the presence of a brand with strong links to the far right and which actively participates in nationalist propaganda.

While the park presents a good-natured, family-friendly image, it is important to look at the content of its shows. Based on the concept of the national narrative, which postulates that the history of a country has been a continuous line for thousands of years, as if it had always existed, they praise and magnify pre-revolutionary, monarchist and feudal “France”. Their principal and most famous show, the Cinescénie, presents a uniform vision of history, erasing religious minorities and completely obscuring the relationships of economic and social domination between nobles and peasants. Their Manichean vision of history reaches its climax when they evoke the French Revolution, presented in a pure revisionist manner as a totalitarian and barbaric event against which the royalist Vendéens bravely defended themselves.

This backward-looking vision, which opposes monarchy and feudalism, presented as a happy and naive period of history, and the French Revolution, presented as dark and as the cause of a “French decline”, is dangerous. Through its counter-revolutionary discourse, it propagates nationalist ideas that run counter to social achievements and liberties, and promotes an unequal society.

These criticisms do not come from a vacuum, and are based on the work and denunciations of numerous historians and political figures. For those who want to go further, we can cite (all subsequent links are in French) Jean-Clément Martin and Charles Suaud, Michel Vovelle or this article by Guillaume Mazeau.

This situation is less surprising when one looks at the family that created and runs the Puy du Fou. The park is the brainchild of Philippe de Villiers, a far-right political figure close to Catholic fundamentalist circles, who himself acknowledged the park’s militant significance in an interview for the now-defunct magazine France, a far-right publication created by Damien Rieu (a right-wing Identitaire figure and a candidate for the Rassemblement National): “Through my books or my Puy du Fou, I have passed on many more ideas than by remaining the umpteenth crayfish in the basin “ [remarks reported by Libération here] .

His links with the international far right have led him to try to open similar parks in Russia and occupied Crimea, with the personal support of Vladimir Putin and Konstantin Malofeev, a royalist and religious fundamentalist activist close to the Russian president who is accused of having personally funded pro-Russia armed groups in Ukraine. If this were not enough, the Puy du Fou also houses an off-contract school with a traditionalist and militarist organisation, and finances an anti-abortion foundation linked to the anti-LGBT organisation “Manif pour tous”.

We can only deplore the association of Microids with such an organisation, which in our opinion would only help the Puy du Fou to extend its media presence, allowing it to spread its propaganda more widely. The planned release of the game in the spring of 2022 would also make the game’s communication campaign coincide with the campaign for the French presidential elections, which does not help. We ask Microids to reconsider this partnership.