Blackwater video game lets you control war criminals with your Kinect

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47 Responses to “Blackwater video game lets you control war criminals with your Kinect”

  1. Anonymous says:

    All other things aside, from those people who’ve actually used motion controls in any form, am i the only one who feels that they are not actually more immersive? The genius of a handheld controller is that it reduces the number of muscles you have to use and thereby makes the pathway between your brain and the game as short as possible. Motion controls do the opposite and i think until we can produce a matrix-like virtual reality they will continue to fail because of this.

    So not only is this a bad idea morally it is also likely not to work as the creators would like it to.

  2. MomentEye says:

    I wonder if the game will make the players realistically portray the prayer meetings and other assorted fundamentalist godbothering that goes along with the Blackwater experience.

    I kinda like the idea of gamer trolls competing to out-kneel each other.

  3. hassenpfeffer says:

    Next up: OJ Simpson’s FPS (where “S”==”strangler”), “Death to Pizza Boys!”

  4. phisrow says:

    They were only kinda-sorta banned. There are few gross ethical breaches so serious that a name change and a few shell companies can’t pave over them(just ask your friends at the Altria Group family of companies…)

    That aside, I wonder why they went with 505 rather than Rockstar? Rockstar has a proven, excellent, track record for games about vehicular homicide and reckless disregard for civilian life. They could have done a great job with GTA: Baghdad.

    • davidasposted says:

      Don’t forget Prince’s newest project in the United Arab Emirates, where he now lives after the threat of subpoenas and investigations prompted him to leave the U.S.: a private army that sandbox dictators can use (for a price, of course) to kill their own citizens as necessary.

      • igpajo says:

        That would be the Prince of UAE, not the music artist formerly known as Prince…which is how I started reading that and was like WTF!

      • emmdeeaych says:

        can we call him ‘the war criminal formerly known as…” just to avoid confusion like the type I just had.

    • The Hug says:

      Most of the major GTA games are actually pretty brilliant and insightful works of satire. I don’t think Rockstar would stoop to this pile.

      I would love to be outraged by this, but we’ve had the Modern Warfare series for years now. Shooting swarthy foreigners is de rigeur now.

      • phisrow says:

        I would argue that, for the reasons you mention, Xe would probably stay far, far, away from letting Rockstar handle a game about them.

        Rockstar would do a much better job than the shovelware mongers of 505; but I’m not sure that a sleazy mercenary company with a hell of a lot of dirty laundry, a (mostly beaten) rap sheet longer than your leg, and a plutocratic wannabe crusader at the helm would want to get anywhere near “insightful works of satire”.

  5. Snig says:

    I sort of hope that this is an Onion article that we mistakenly thought was true. How awful.

    • Ambiguity says:

      I sort of hope that this is an Onion article that we mistakenly thought was true. How awful.

      Is it really any more awful than the 1,000′s of video games released that have killing and violence at the core of their “game play?”

      • Anonymous says:

        It is somewhat more awful, because 1) it refers to, and therefore trivializes, real actual crimes against humanity, and 2) because you control a Blackwater operative, you are meant to identify with one.
        I do agree, though, that parts of US popular culture have become extremely violent. Action movies are softcore snuff films, and the prevailing emotion in them is hate. Same deal for plenty of videogames. I’m all for free speech and hate the Tipper Gore/Maude Flanders approach to this sort of thing, but this is definately a symptom of something bad, and will lead to something worse in the future….

      • William George says:

        Is it really any more awful than the 1,000′s of video games released that have killing and violence at the core of their “game play?”

        I guess it depends upon how many games Valve produced for war criminals.

      • Snig says:

        You have a point, but I think there’s a difference between paying the Tolkien estate for the rights to a game, and paying one of the Nazgul.

        • Ambiguity says:

          You have a point, but I think there’s a difference between paying the Tolkien estate for the rights to a game, and paying one of the Nazgul.

          No doubt, but as the parent of children, when I think about these things, I tend to focus on how a game could potentially affect my children. On that score, who the royalties go to is pretty much lost on them.

          (Full disclosure: I used to work in the video game industry, and at this point I am, shall we say, not a fan of them in general. I imagine that puts me in a minority here.)

          • osmo says:

            “No doubt, but as the parent of children, when I think about these things, I tend to focus on how a game could potentially affect my children. On that score, who the royalties go to is pretty much lost on them.”

            Then let me be the first to say: what does that matter? Is it to you more a relevant point that your kids don’t see animated blood than an actuall, physical, not make-belief (<— please notice this part right there) but a real, group of mercenaries who have killed in horrible horrible ways and been known as the US arm-out-of-sight for killing off civilians and unruly protesters… that they get more money, recognition and may repair their reputation through this PR-stunt?

            Honest? Youd rather let the world your kids live in go to shit than have to face the fact of going through another “its not reall blood coming from that dragon” talk with your kids?

          • Ambiguity says:

            Then let me be the first to say: what does that matter? Is it to you more a relevant point that your kids don’t see animated blood than an actuall, physical, not make-belief (

            Honest? Youd rather let the world your kids live in go to shit than have to face the fact of going through another “its not reall blood coming from that dragon” talk with your kids?

            And what in my posts, precisely, lead you to think any of those things?

            Seriously, are you just soap-boxing, or intentionally being obtuse?

      • Moriarty says:

        “Is it really any more awful than the 1,000′s of video games released that have killing and violence at the core of their “game play?””

        Yes, yes it is.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That aside, I wonder why they went with 505 rather than Rockstar? Rockstar has a proven, excellent, track record for games about vehicular homicide and reckless disregard for civilian life.

  7. WizarDru says:

    I know that when _I_ want to make a world-class video game to take on the Modern Warfares, Killzones, Battlefields and Medal of Honors of the world, the first name I think of the is the studio known for making the “Hotel for Dogs” video game.

  8. fnc says:

    I’m starting to wonder how often they can remake the game where you shoot at foreigners in a beige city, and then on a ship, and then in a jungle, and have it rush to the top of the charts every time.

    Thankfully as pointed out, these form only a sub-majority percentage in the overall output of the industry. They’re putting Minecraft on the XBox, after all.

  9. William George says:

    Next up for 505 Games: “Herd the Jews Into the Showers” for the Wii U!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oooh! Sheriff Arpaio should have his own videogame! Basically space invaders but messicans instead of aliens, and narco-kickbacks instead of points.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “So here is/was good being done, by private contractors and I don’t think they deserve the blanket demonetization.”

    That’s a rather telling Freudian slip, don’t you think? (Or spellcheck gone awry. Whatever.)

  12. Mister44 says:

    Give me a break.

    1) Contractors or ‘mercenaries’ play an important role in just about every major conflict. In Iraq they often provide security for PRIVATE organizations, from oil companies, to companies working on the infrastructure, to people working on the government.

    2) When I hear “horrific war crimes” I think systematic torture and execution, like in Serbia and Nanking. Indiscriminate shooting seems to be a ‘regular’ war crime to me. That could be splitting hairs, but I think context and severity are important. (This doesn’t excuse actions, but more accurately describes them.)

    3) Assuming all of the alleged actions took place, it doesn’t mean the entire organization was directly involved, nor that they didn’t do any good.

    4) And putting all that aside – there have been many FPS games where the player is a mercenary of some type. If the issue is that the player will be controlling an entity that is the ‘bad guy’ in your eyes, how is that any different than playing the Germans or Japanese in a WWII FPS? Both of these armies did horrible things, but just like you can’t bayonet babies or line up people in ditches for a Luger to the back of the head, you won’t be committing war crimes in this game either.

  13. p. observer says:

    “the game was developed with in conjunction with former Blackwater members “to ensure accuracy of moves, gestures and gameplay,””

    awesome! we get to commit virtual war crimes in a total immersive environmet

  14. Cowicide says:

    I hope it’s online multiplayer so people can come in and start fragging. Or better yet, I’d like to see someone hack the game so all of the sick, evil assholes are marched into court and put into prison. So you just sit there in prison.

    The Boss should be prison with no escape and no cheats.

  15. amol says:

    Is it really any more awful than the 1,000′s of video games released that have killing and violence at the core of their “game play?

    There’s a huge difference between creating art that depicts violence and creating propaganda for those who perpetrate it. It’s like making a film for the mob as opposed to making The Godfather.

    • WizarDru says:

      Well, as someone who used to work in the industry, you are no doubt aware of the content ratings on video games and the fact that a parent (such as you or I) can decide what content is appropriate for his or her children.

      If it helps, consider that games like Minecraft and Angry Birds sell better than most video games out there and that the single best selling game in US history is not Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 but Wii Play.

      • mausium says:

        Well, as someone who used to work in the industry, you are no doubt aware of the content ratings on video games and the fact that a parent (such as you or I) can decide what content is appropriate for his or her children.

        You miss the point.

        Fantasy violence is one thing, even if representing the US Armed Forces. I can sympathize with preferring Space Marines and fantasy battles to propaganda from dominionist rape-supporting mercenary thugs.

        • wookiedingleberry says:

          So fantasy violence is okay? How about fantasy sexual assault, fantasy rape, fantasy pedophilia? What makes assault and murder more palatable than the other crimes on my list?

          • mausium says:

            “So fantasy violence is okay? How about fantasy sexual assault, fantasy rape, fantasy pedophilia? What makes assault and murder more palatable than the other crimes on my list?”

            Let me know when you need to rape a child to defend your self, family or country.

            The very existence of violence in art does not have to glorify violence. You seriously can’t separate ANY fantasy violence from rape? I’m stunned/doubtful.

          • teapot says:

            Let me know when you need to rape a child to defend your self, family or country.

            Yeah, because FPS games are great preparation for the real thing…

            The gaming community needs to boycott this game to send a clear message to xbox: we dont want a game that normalises and legitimises the existence of private contract armies who operate in the shadows. I emplore all gaming journalists and bloggers to ignore these idiots and stop giving them free press.

            Also: The kinect (apart from the various interesting hacks) is a piece of shit. xbox should concentrate on developing new gameplay dynamics, rather than relying on “exciting” subject matter in the hope that people will not notice that the gameplay sucks.

          • Mister44 says:

            re: “legitimises the existence of private contract armies who operate in the shadows.”

            Have you ever played video games? Mercenary/Clandestine forces operating in the shadows describes a ton of games.

          • teapot says:

            Of course I have.

            But are any of those based on present-day real-world companies that have behaved so badly that they needed to change their name? Do you think a game produced through working with the head of this crooked group is going to portray their behaviour accurately? This is PR for a specific group we are talking about.

            ..can you imagine the outrage that would ensue if a middle-eastern company made a game where you join al-qaeda and kill infidels? Would such a game properly address the holes in their contradictory ideology?

            I remember downloading a game for my phone in which you fly Japanese planes during the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The indignation in the comments of the download page were palpable. If more than 60 years later Americans are still so sensitive about that event, do you think this game will generate a different reaction from the people whose lives have been destroyed by Blackwater?

          • Mister44 says:

            If we were in Japan the answer would be “yes” to all of those questions.

          • robulus says:

            So fantasy violence is okay?

            Not a James Bond fan then.

  16. mordicai says:

    I want a cross-over where Solid Snake just sneaks around breaking these guys necks. Oh what, I can already play that game? Oh, good. Good.

  17. aelfscine says:

    The Kinect will allow a whole new level of war crime realism! For the raping, rather than using a clumsy controller, you can use your whole body! QTE events allow for you to rape in time with the on-screen actions, with special actions to hit her if she screams. In the special bonus round, cut her throat and get as many thrusts in as you can before she dies.

    Now you’re a Blackwater Man, son!

  18. Anonymous says:

    thanks for covering this i thought the same once i read the title yesterday.

  19. Mister44 says:

    re: “can you imagine the outrage that would ensue if a middle-eastern company made a game where you join al-qaeda and kill infidels”

    You mean like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medal_of_Honor_%282010_video_game%29

    re: “Would such a game properly address the holes in their contradictory ideology?”

    No – because it’s a GAME. They don’t delve into the ideology – it’s a different skin and subtle differences in play. (Just like you don’t swear Allegiance to the Emperor or attended a Nazi rally in other games.)

    I agree that the above is in bad taste (too soon). BUT it is no different than playing a German or Japanese or Vietnamese or Imperial Stormtrooper. All of these past armies committed horrible atrocities. How about playing the Russians – allies and Nazi killers – but assholes in their own right. Hell – SOME of the American units did bad things – war crimes even – does that make all of the American forces ‘bad’?

    re: “I remember downloading a game for my phone in which you fly Japanese planes during the bombing of Pearl Harbour.”

    Why would you do that – you sick fuck. (being sarcastic)

    re: “If more than 60 years later Americans are still so sensitive about that event, do you think this game will generate a different reaction from the people whose lives have been destroyed by Blackwater?”

    I don’t think the two are a fair comparison – and more importantly – it is 6000 miles away where people aren’t being sold the game. How are Germans and Japanese supposed to feel about the entire US youth population killing their great/grand-pappys?

    I am not saying Blackwater operatives didn’t do anything wrong. They may well have. I am saying that you can’t condemn all of Blackwater and by extension all of the private contractors. (I am not saying you are necessarily condemning all private contractors, but others are.) Anytime you have something based on a real event, it is going to be a whitewashed and glossed over, because war is gritty, bloody, and ugly – and this is a GAME.

    I personally know people who work as private contractors – one of them is still at it, doing security in Afghanistan, working with translators. There was a pretty high profile event of a handful of Blackwater personnel staving off ~1000 insurgents at the CPA in Najaf, Iraq. So here is/was good being done, by private contractors and I don’t think they deserve the blanket demonetization.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Do they shout the “n word” a lot, as they do in the real videos of them in Iraq??? How will Kinnect recognize the physical actions of gun smuggling (one of “Xe’s” main sources of income? Does the Kinnect have the ability to recognize meth, steroids, and cocaine, because it just wouldn’t be “Xe” without them.

  21. Mr_Staypuft says:

    According to the article, one of Blackwater’s best features is ‘autofire’.

    Well, at least that’s accurate to the real thing.

  22. hooch66 says:

    I respect that they have the right to make this game and I will exercise my right to (continue to) not buy or play this type of game.

  23. IronEdithKidd says:

    As much as I’d like to see play FPS, RPG and, well, games not rated higher than ‘E’ for Kinect, this Xe game is not an acceptable way to get such games on the market.

    I’ll save my money for that Star Wars Kinect game, whenever it comes out.

  24. Anonymous says:

    As a Marine with multiple combat tours i can tell you that military despises Blackwater more than anyone.

  25. Anonymous says:

    So… they got this idea from the movie “Gamer”?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034032/

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