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OK, The Division 2’s E3 booth was pretty slick

Visitors got to play president — but remember, it’s not a political game

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

E3 booths, especially set up by the major publishers, are known to have elaborate set pieces and Ubisoft’s included a re-creation of The White House’s Oval Office, including the Resolute Desk where the president of the United States sits, to tout Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, which is set in Washington, D.C. Visitors had a lot of fun sitting down to it, looking grim and official as the most powerful person in the free world.

The Oval Office has been recreated in movies, TV and pop culture time and time again. It really does look like Ubisoft went all in to buy or at least rent some film-quality props so that fans could live out their POTUS fantasies. For example, here’s the desk’s carved seal:

prop desk for ubi booth at e3 2018 Charlie Hall/Polygon

It even had a replica of the plaque.

recreation of white house desk at ubisoft’s e3 2018 booth Charlie Hall/Polygon

The Resolute Desk was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1879. It was built from the wood of its namesake, the HMS Resolute. That was the ship that went in search of Great Britain‘s ill-fated Franklin Exploration to the Arctic Ocean above North America in the mid-19th century. The Resolute was for a time lost, encased in ice, though her crew survived by marching to safety across the ice to be saved by another expedition. An American whaling vessel later found and salvaged the Resolute. It was purchased by an act of Congress, refitted and then returned to the Queen. In a gesture of gratitude, she had the desk made and presented to the White House. It’s a very important symbol of the alliance of the United Kingdom and the United States.

But enough with the history lessons! It’s fun to play commander-in-chief. Although if this was me on the red phone, I’d probably be saying something like, “No, I said ham and onion, not pineapple!”

Charlie Hall/Polygon

And here is the phone. Probably not a secure line.

Charlie Hall/Polygon

And for good measure, carpet with the executive branch’s seal. (Not sure about the golf club’s significance though.)

Charlie Hall/Polygon

That’s a cool set. It’s just a set, not the game. 2K Games’ set for what later became The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is still probably the best one I have ever seen, and while I liked it, critically it was kind of a meh. Still, this is a big marketing effort.

But, also, if you’re going to this level of detail for it at E3, it kind of fades the claim that Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is a politically agnostic game, for which Massive Entertainment’s developers and Ubisoft took a chiding earlier this week after it was introduced. That’s the office of the U.S. head of state, an inherently political setting. But it’s an accurate one, so, props for that.

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