The phrase “Deus vult” (Latin for “God wills it,”) first became popular after Pope Urban II used the phrase to end a speech calling defenders of Christianity to regain their Holy Land from its Muslim occupants in the 11th century. It spread rapidly among European Crusaders as a rallying cry, and is still used today to express pride in our Western heritage.
Given the medieval setting of For Honor, it seems appropriate that when choosing the knight class, players can be seen cheering “Deus vult!” Multiple subreddit threads and the official For Honor forum posts also reference the phrase as a meme meant to encourage players. However months prior to the game’s release, the alt-right had adopted the phrase to support their movement which promotes racism, misogyny, and xenophobia among other hateful doctrines.
The Washington Post wrote an article last last November detailing the alt-right’s attraction to the phrase,
“Both Trump and those in the seething online churn of the ‘alt-right’ — a catchall term for a coterie of neo-fascists, white supremacists, ethno-populists, anti-feminists and other far-right extremists who cheered Trump’s electoral victory on Nov. 8 — also embrace a clash of civilizations. The president-elect signaled as much in a major foreign policy speech in April, when he rejected the idea of ‘universal values’ and trumpeted the promotion of Western civilization.”
In spite of this, gaming news source Polygon is reporting that the intended use of “Deus vult” in For Honor is completely separate from the alt-right, and that they were likely following in the footsteps of other games such as Crusader Kings, which had an expansion called Deus Vult, “In the case of For Honor, “Deus vult” is just a phrase used by the community without any political associations. We’ve contacted Ubisoft for comment and will update if we hear back.”
What are your thoughts? Should Ubisoft issue an apology for including such a historically loaded phrase? Let us know in the comments!