Ubisoft is making a documentary about the real-life drug trade in Bolivia

The project started out as marketing for Ghost Recon Wildlands, but has apparently evolved into something bigger.

Ghost Recon Wildlands is a game about a team of US special forces operators who head off to the jungles of Bolivia to deliver hot leaded justice to the vicious Santa Blanca drug cartel. To help promote it, the publisher's UK marketing team set about creating a feature-length documentary film based on Rusty Young's book Marching Powder, which concerns the real-life drug trade in Bolivia. 

It sounds like a dubious proposition at best—comparable on the "bad idea scale" to hiring fake protestors to attract attention to your game—but marketing director Mark Slaughter told GamesIndustry that the goal isn't to glamorize the drug trade and war thereon, but to "create a truly compelling piece of content, which could stand alone alongside any documentary in its genre." 

"We wanted to delve further into the game's fictitious narrative and its relevance to South America and the drugs trade today," Slaughter said. "We are certainly looking to introduce the brand to a wider, more mainstream audience through the documentary. As well as attracting a new audience to the franchise, the documentary also provides added content for our existing fans." 

But while the documentary was initially meant as a marketing tool, it and the game are now "very separate products," Slaughter said. "The documentary certainly deals with a very serious subject matter, so we have ensured that we've worked with a leading production team and figures with extensive knowledge of the regions featured in the documentary and the key individuals who have lived in that world." Among them are former cocaine smuggler George Jung, and former US Navy SEAL Adam Newbold. 

The documentary is scheduled to be released on March 6, the day before the release of Ghost Recon Wildlands. GI said Ubisoft is "in talks" to make it available through an online streaming service.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As lead news writer during ‘merican hours, Andy covers the day-to-day events that keep PC gaming so interesting, exciting, and occasionally maddening. He’s fond of RPGs, FPSs, dungeons, Myst, and the glorious irony of his parents buying him a TRS-80 instead of an Atari so he wouldn't end up wasting his life on videogames.
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