Why Untitled Goose Game Won’t Stop Talking Politics


This week, Untitled Goose Game creators House
House attempted to influence voters in the upcoming UK general election. The studio’s official Twitter account has
urged UK fans to vote for the left-wing Labour party, going so far as to display everyone’s
favourite naughty goose with a red rose, the party’s official symbol. This should come as no surprise to anyone
who’s been keeping tabs on House House, as they’ve stated in an interview that,
according to their own in-studio lore, Untitled Goose Game takes place within a socialist
utopia. The subject of politics in games is increasingly
fraught, with many studios attempting to distance themselves from the political themes within
their work. Earlier this year, a spokesperson for EA claimed
that, quote, “we’re not making any political statements”, in their latest World War 2
first person shooter, Battlefield V. So why, then in a climate where many developers
are so squeamish about acknowledging the political themes within their games, are the team at
House House willing to endorse a particular political party? As we mentioned in our previous video on this
game’s development, the four core members of House House make not pretense at being
professional. “We are,” says Jacob Strasser, “three
years more professional than we were three years ago.” This extends to politics. The team at House House wear their allegiances
on their sleeves, and have not been shy about discussing their involvement in protests against
the ongoing climate crisis. According to Nico Disseldorp:
“We stopped work in the middle of our video game’s launch day and went to the Global
Climate Strike because we want our government and other governments around the world to
take urgent action to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Business as usual is destroying all of our
futures, and things need to change now.” This is only the tip of the…iceberg…when
it comes to team’s consideration of politics. While House House are Australians, they have
a deep affinity for stories set within rural England, and take a keen interest in British
politics. It’s for this reason that they chose the
quaint setting for Untitled Goose Game. According to Jacob Strasser, speaking to Kotaku:
“We have a joke canonical version of the world of the game, in which — I don’t
think you should publish this, but for the sake of conversation — it’s set in a world
where a goose chased Margaret Thatcher out of office, leading Tony Benn to take over
the U.K. and enact social democracy in the U.K. All the people are good Marxists, and they’re
all good people, and the goose is just a goose.” It seems that Kotaku ignored Strasser’s
request to keep this quote out of their finished interview, but now that it’s been published,
it does give some unique insight to the studio’s internal discussions around British politics. In spite of this “canonical” game lore,
Strasser doesn’t think that fans should be too concerned about the moral implications
of this scenario. Said Strasser:
“All the people on Twitter responded to that saying ‘Oh, I feel bad that the goose
is harassing these Marxists’. I’m not going to go on Twitter and correct
people because I have better things to do, but the goose is just a goose. The goose is this chaotic neutral character. They’re just an animal who’s not really
aware of what they’re doing.” According to Strasser, fans of the game are
even free to read into the characters within the game and try to guess which way they voted
in Brexit. Discussing Untitled Goose Game in relation
to modern global politics has the House House seal of approval. Regardless, it seems that, within Britain,
Untitled Goose Game really speaks to supporters of left-wing politics. In October, the campaign for a People’s
Vote on the final outcome of Britain’s exodus from the European Union organized a protest
in which over a million people marched across the streets of London. One protestor, Sarah Hiraki, later shared
a collection of Untitled Goose Game-themed signs and placards that she’d seen during
the march. Many of these featured the game’s titular
goose holding aloft the EU flag, or calling for onlookers to “honk if you want to remain”. Perhaps the most popular of these signs showed
the naughty goose chasing current Conservative party leader Boris Johnson, with the caption,
“It’s a beautiful day in the UK, and you are a horrible prime minister.” Even before this protest, the team at House
House were receiving reports that their goose was a symbol of resistance, and they were
loving it. According to Michael McMaster:
“I’m glad that the goose is a leftist icon; that’s very funny. I’d much rather it be a leftist icon than
a right icon… “Anything the left can take joy in and pride
in and have a bit of fun with, we love. And if it [upsets] some alt-right people,
then great.” This is the climate that led House House to
take an official stance in the UK’s general election, as they tweeted out:
“NON-GOOSE TWEET: if you’re in the UK, please, please, please go and vote for a Labour government
on Dec 12th END NON-GOOSE TWEET” We’ll let you decide the moral of this story
for yourself, but we will say that it’s refreshing for a games studio to be so comfortable
with being up front and honest about the politics that have influenced their creation. It seems that Untitled Goose Game’s status
as a leftist icon is here to stay.




Comments
  1. Idea for a prequel for Untitled Goose Game, takes place during the Falklands Conflict and the goose must take on both the Argentinian Army and British Task Force. The final battle will have the Goose take on the SAS. It will also be the first game to have a Goose win a conflict and the first to be set in the Falklands War.

  2. I do love climate change awareness and I do think it's a problem, however, it has very little place in entertainment. I say the same wether its politics I agree with or disagree against. With that said, this doesnt seem to change the game itself so I'm not exactly mad about it.

  3. I hate it when game companies force their politics down our throat. I also hate it when YouTube channels like this have to grasp at straws to find a moral. If any politics inspired Untitled Goose Game, then surely, they must be the most incoherent ideology ever put to paper. Simply a shameful video on your part for saying it's a good thing to insert politics into a game about a goose destroying things. I hope you'll move on from this.

  4. Within the end credit of the game they state the game was not made in Australia but the <insert aboriginal name I forgot how to spell here>. So if you managed to pay attention to the credits (not many do) you would see that the studio was already very political

  5. As a person who met Cubans and Venezuelans who escaped "socialist utopias" and Heard their stories, It angers me such statement being said by the developers, its easy to take a side when pretty much all media agrees with you, as for the goose, in a socialist utopia he would be happy in someone's stomach.

  6. So was I only supposed to learn from this video that the Goose supports a political party in my own freaking country or was someone gonna tell me?

    This video is an increasingly large number of punches to the stomach what is reality even

  7. UK Labour is not Left of Center politically, despite being the Left of the Room… Just for those who dont know the difference

  8. Even in other countries like Chile, Spain, France, and even Hong Kong, i've seen many people making arts and memes and stuff about the goose, fighting against the system trying to steal things from the people and seizing them back

    Its a simple yet powerful message of motivation. Take back what we deserve from the corrupt system

  9. Ew.

    I like that they can speak their mind as individuals, like the internet seldom allows, but getting the Goose into it does leave a really bad taste in my mouth.

  10. I'm confused. If they say their game is trying to convey a political message, and that the game takes place in a Socialist utopia town, then aren't they saying that they want to screw with Socialists? Wouldn't it have been a better idea for this to take place in a Conservative town if they wanted to have a more pro-Socialist message?

  11. You guys in the comments may not agree with the political statements, but be glad it is a political statement. Having hidden political context in a form of media is usually interesting, since it could really open your mind and whatnot.

  12. If Untitled Goose Game would realy play in a communist utopia, the goose would allready be eaten by the starving populace.

  13. I always knew something put me off buying the game. I am glad I didn't get it now. These aren't politics I wish to support. But heck, everyone's different I guess.

  14. The problem is that it's generally bad form to promote your ideas through any means other than public discussion and arguing upon the merits. And the problem with all media in general is that you can portray things as being plausible that simply aren't. Take 'Untitled Goose Game's socialist utopia, for instance: It's not a serious argument to say that we can outsmart what we know about physics, history and human nature by proposing an Eden that doesn't burn any fuel and everybody simply works hard and gets along with no commerce or property rights under a centeralized authoritarian regime. The reason why the world in the game still looks like ours is because what such a system would actually look like is brutal and horrific. Moreover, videogames are by their nature para-social communication that doesn't invite discussion or feedback back to the people who produce them. There are too many people in the audience for all of them to sit down and have an honest discussion about the ideas in the games with their creators, and it's too easy for them to simply ignore the crowd when they push back. People are deseprate for relationships and taking advantage of their willingness to listen in exchange for social acceptance means too many people in that crowd will listen and agree, while those who disagree will go unheard because they don't have the megaphone or platform that the game's creators do.

    Said all of that to say this: People are not merely suspicious of political messaging in games because they have an arbitrary dislike of politics. That may be true for some. But in general, we're suspicious because games are a place where a lot of dishonest and disengenuous messaging can be passed off as serious thought, and where communication can travel in only one direction, from the creators to the audience. Games, along with hobbies and sports, are also one of the few areas in Western culture today where people of all ideologies and walks of life can come together, have fun and build social capital with one another. People need a neutral space to live together outside of political discourse, and political activism threatens that. It's not that a serious and thoughtful political message can never come from a game, but that it is rare, and that an abundance of political activism can and will divide up and ruin one of the last great passtimes that unites us as neighbors in society. We'd be foolish to ask for that willy nilly without considering the consequences.

  15. The background music made it feel like I'm being pranked or goofed on. Politics would be so different if this soundtrack played in the house of commons. ORDEEERRR!!!!

  16. We will never agree on everything so just take what you can by harming as few people as possible. Do anything more and your ether after too much. Do anything less and you become a burden.

  17. I think it's fine that the game takes political inspiration in its setting, and the company itself can say whatever they want politically. However, at a business standpoint I hope that this doesn't effect the way they treat their games and customers, as it can hinder their sales of future products

  18. Very odd, but can't say much against it. They're vocal about their own opinion, and in relation, their art goes close with it in the fandom. However the beauty is still in a simple game devoid of any forced rhetoric. I'm glad they're proud of who they are, and have fun with their art in the process. However that said… I will say there's something disturbing about the simplistic and sheepish (less goose) nature of twitting out such blanket ideas as "VOTE MY PARTY!". It's just crass and has no real value. Their statement on the environment is a bit better, with the difference being in actual values and not mindless "Do what I say because I got a big speaker"

  19. House House is a tiny indie game developer. It won't hurt them the same way a larger game developer may, especially if it is one that's traded on the stock market. That being said, some of those larger game developers also do some really dumb things that hurt their shares.

  20. We reached out for comment from the Goose
    and got the following response: "Hjönk Hjönk Am Goose!"
    It then promptly took our microphone and dropped it down a nearby well.

  21. I think it's also important to emphasise that their politics is specifically allied with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (the original people living in Australia) shown right at the end of the credits – an Acknowledgement of Country

    "This game was made on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders, past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded."

    I've seen and heard this at some sports games, comedy and community events, and building openings, but never in a video game.

    The goose chasing out Thatcher is amazing though, I will gladly hand over any and all shiny town bell replicas it demands.

  22. As someone who was forced to flee Venezuela because I would have died if I hadn't, I feel offended at the prospect of anyone glorifying socialism. It completely destroyed my country, and now they have made sure I'd never even try the game.

    Regardless of how good it is, I won't be supporting anyone ignorant enough to think socialism is a good idea. Try living in an actual socialist country before telling me I'm wrong.

  23. I don't have a problem that they take their game into politics. But I don't like they announce it after the game released and already brought by people that not necessarily like it.

  24. I thought the alt-right was bad. . . So why are you guys trying to make enemies of them/demonize then what that's what the bad guys do (why I'll not be alt-right) when you are making yourselves just as hateful! This is constructive criticism, so be careful as I think you stepped onto the same grounds as those who oppress those who are different.

  25. I found it hilarious that the official twitter for this game's developer calling on people to vote for Labour, as a non-jokey tweet. Legitimately asking for people to vote for an anti-Semite party! Can you believe it! It's 2019 not 1945!

  26. They forgot to program in the gooselags. Still though, it's funny how much money the game has made through the magic of quackitalism. But maybe that thought qualifies as honkthink.

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