Blackwater Game Hopes To Avoid Controversy

Blackwater Game Hopes To Avoid Controversy

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Blackwater founder Erik Prince hopes to expand the Blackwater brand to include videogames, while simultaneously avoiding the controversy that has surrounded his company for years.

If you've missed the news over the last decade, Blackwater is a private military group hired by the US government to assist in the war in the Middle East. In 2007, Blackwater personnel allegedly shot 17 civilians in Baghdad. US military reports on the incident indicate that the firm's operatives opened fire without provocation and used excessive force.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company including a 2008 suit by the US Justice Department, but to date every attempt at litigation against Blackwater has been thrown out of court.

Recently, Blackwater changed its name to "Xe Services" in what many critics believe is an attempt to shed the company's bloody reputation.

Still, founder Erik Prince sees value in the Blackwater brand, and has teamed with publisher 505 Games and developer Zombie Studios to create a Kinect shooter based on a fictionalized version of the firm's exploits.

The goal, Prince claims, is to create an entertainment product first and foremost. He doesn't want to aim for pure, hardcore realism, but instead for a fun shooter experience. "This is not a training device. This is not a simulator. We're not doing this to teach folks how to conduct military operations in an urban terrain. That's not it at all. This is more along the lines of kids running around their neighborhood playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians," Prince told the Associated Press.

Though Prince, a former Navy SEAL, left the daily operations of Blackwater a few years ago, he retained licensing rights to the name and seemingly sees this venture as a simple attempt to capitalize on the firm's fame. Likewise, he realizes that the game's existence is bound to generate some controversy, but his stated goal is to simply entertain players.

"Some people are not always going to like Blackwater, but there are many millions of people that do like Blackwater. I'm not out to rehabilitate an image. We're out to provide a good experience and enjoyable game," Prince adds.

The game, succinctly dubbed Blackwater, will debut on October 28.

Say what you will of private military corporations, the war in Iraq or the brutality of human conflict in general, but you can't deny that Prince has a keen eye for capitalism. Controversy sells, whether he's courting it or not.

If nothing else this should be a neat test of which human drive is more powerful: consumerist curiosity or moral outrage.

Source: SFGate

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Blackwater hoping to avoid controversy?
cue the Bender clip in three, two, one...

Yeah, this corporation and pretty much every other PMC can fuck right off, and will never be getting any of my money.

Blatantly violate the human rights of civilians and engage in child sex slavery? Not a problem in the eyes of these groups, so long as you follow orders like the thug you are.

I seriously hope this game ends up costing the company money. That's the only good thing that could possibly come out of this.

I'd be more annoyed about this if it wasn't so likely the end product will be a dead-in-the-water (ha), straight-to-bargain-bin affair.

Either way, fuck Blackwater, or Xe, or the Sunshine and Sparkles Brigade. They're scum whatever they call themselves.

Well I am sure their will always be an audience for games where you run around in a war zone and shoot civilians for looking different.

MGS4 is happening

I saw this game advertised in OXM and couldn't believe they'd actually want to make this game. I've never boycotted a game before but even if this is one of the best shooters of this generation (I'll bet my bank account it won't be) I won't get it purely for political reasons. Seriously, fuck those guys.

So there are mercenary firms out there that the US uses....that would be a fun job.

This game has gotten me excited because i love to watch reviews of horrible games.

An RPG-Shooter that explored the role of PMCs in a serious way could be really interesting - not to mention controversial enough to make GTA look like Angry Birds - if there was a developer and publisher brave enough to put their time and money into it.

This... thing... however, sounds like it'll be terrible on every concievable level. Gameplay's likely to be shallow and factual accuracy will be non-existent. Oh well, at least the reviews will be fun to read.*

*edit: Ninja'd.

Afterthought: please Escapist, force Yahtzee to review this one (at gunpoint if necessary) Since his hatred of brown shooters is matched only by his hatred of US foreign affairs that would be so much fun to watch.

Can someone explain to me why this group is so villainized, hated, and looked down upon? Since when is providing security a major sin?

Arsen, its the war-crimes hanging round their head's thing. Also they have a giant base, that looks like a evil lair (or at least they used to).

Ser Imp:
Blackwater hoping to avoid controversy?
cue the Bender video in three, two, one...

Launch.

Arsen:
Can someone explain to me why this group is so villainized, hated, and looked down upon? Since when is providing security a major sin?

From what I understand they did many unethical things over in Iraq without the knowledge of their employers, the US government. Think it might have involved intentional civilian deaths or something, maybe a bit of looting.

yeah...making a Kinect shooter game to represent your company really will ensure no one will look at you the same way
i.e. take you seriously

Fuck this game, and fuck Blackwater.

If there were any justice in the world, Blackwater would have been shut down and Erik Prince sent to rot in jail. That the guy is profiteering from war is bad enough, but the evidence of murdering civilians, smuggling weapons, soliciting child prostitution and engaging in illegal operations should have had him brought in front of the highest authorities and put through the wringer.

I'm an easy going guy, but I hope this game tanks.

EDIT

Arsen:
Can someone explain to me why this group is so villainized, hated, and looked down upon? Since when is providing security a major sin?

In 2007, Blackwater operatives shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians without provocation. Despite investigations from everyone including the FBI concluding that they had fired upon civilians without sufficient cause, no-one was brought to court and Blackwater simply lost their right to operate in Iraq.

Since then, former employees and soldiers have stated that Blackwater was involved in smuggling weapons across Iraq, as well as child prostitution. Again, Blackwater seem to be protected by the US government, as no charges have been brought despite the evidence and testimonies. Indeed, despite the controversy surrounding Blackwater (now Xe), they were given a $250 million contract by the Obama administration to operate in Afghanistan.

Dr Jones:
MGS4 is happening

And to think, people called it convoluted. Apparently they meant realistic.

I have no respect for PMCs. You can quote me on this one. FUCK THESE GUYS. I will always have respect for ACTUAL military forces, but none for these dicks. Blackwater making a game? Ha. Hope it bombs hard.

Not sure if tehy're serious or if they're just using it as an advertising tool for themselves.

...

Eh, I guess it doesnt matter. Good lucking tot hem I guess.

Arsen:
Can someone explain to me why this group is so villainized, hated, and looked down upon? Since when is providing security a major sin?

At least attempt to do a little bit of research.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/blackwater-faces-war-crimes-inquiry-after-killings-in-iraq-396686.html

http://www.thenation.com/article/blackwater-founder-implicated-murder

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xe_Services

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Worldwide_arms_smuggling_claims

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackwater_Baghdad_shootings

Even in the article it says

Blackwater personnel allegedly shot 17 civilians in Baghdad. US military reports on the incident indicate that the firm's operatives opened fire without provocation and used excessive force.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company including a 2008 suit by the US Justice Department, but to date every attempt at litigation against Blackwater has been thrown out of court.

So... that is why everyone hates them.

Yay, another game that I won't have to spend money on. Huzzah! Though I can imagine this will get promoted on Fox.

Arsen:
Can someone explain to me why this group is so villainized, hated, and looked down upon? Since when is providing security a major sin?

Basically, they are held unaccountable for anything they do outside of the US, thanks to contract agreements they have with the US. This is quite possibly the most blatant example of a corporation acting above the law that exists today. They could shoot you or your family down anywhere in the world outside of the US and get away with it scot-free. If you want a less grim example, they could also seize your property with the same caveats to location.
But if you feel comfortable with that, that's your business.

If you do want a more visual example, watch the show Jericho. The contractor mercenaries of Ravenwood featured in both seasons are based strongly on the acts of the private firms that acted in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When people know there are no consequences to their actions, they are free to act as they wish upon their fellow man. It is never a good thing and something that should have opened people's eyes sooner to how terrible the wars are.
This is a game that shouldn't be made, but as it is going to be I sincerely hope it fails in sales. Awareness of the truth about Blackwater will make that more likely.

Anyone with a shred of decency will boycott the game as well as the company.

In case people don't know reasons why they're hated, here's 17 reasons why:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

Sorry I can't embed it.

But yeah, a bad group. I read a book on it. It was very liberally biased, but there's not much of a justification for the company's existence anymore. In fact, they're basically beginning to operate and hire in the UAE, as well as work for their government. Because, you know, they're mercenaries. They go to the highest bidder.

MisterDyslexo:
In case people don't know reasons why they're hated, here's 17 reasons why:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

Sorry I can't embed it.

But yeah, a bad group. I read a book on it. It was very liberally biased, but there's not much of a justification for the company's existence anymore. In fact, they're basically beginning to operate and hire in the UAE, as well as work for their government. Because, you know, they're mercenaries. They go to the highest bidder.

Blackwater has done enough bad things on their own. There is no need to place things the regular military did at their feet as well.

I say don't even give them the oxygen of outrage. The games media, and us should just never mention it. No reviews, nothing. Just pretend it does not exist. That to me is the best solution.

What I think is hilarious are all the self-righteous types commenting about how terrible and evil PMCs / Mercs are when they are probably the same hypocritical types who get off playing GTA and mowing down civilians with a car or shooting them for kicks to get a high enough number of stars so they can escape from the police.

Don't huff and gasp pumpkin, we all know that you have indulged your darker impulses in a video game even if you deny it. Now do I think that the game will be silly because its a kinect game? ha! yes. (Please cue Bender clip!)

But would I play a WELL MADE and thought out FPS where I played as part of a PMC? Sure why not?

It's the same difference as any other FPS. (And don't give me that "Oh but we are playing members of the Insert Country Here military and that makes it alright!" game because I don't buy it.)

Admit it, if you got offered a six figure salary to go hunt terrorists in exotic locations (and had the requisite skills)you would be doing a LOT better than working at fast food or a security job paying $9 an hour.

Maybe I am just playing Devil's Advocate here. (Ignore my retainer from the Prince of Darkness for a minute)

But maybe some people should get off their high horses when they talk about the morality of a video game when they themselves indulge in dubious in game behavior. After all, how many times did these people get away with saying "well its only a game!"

That's exactly the point. It's only a game. (and a particularly poor sounding one at that I say let them waste their money to develop it!)

Finally, a game that won't prosecute you for shooting Civilians.

Mariahsyn:
What I think is hilarious are all the self-righteous types commenting about how terrible and evil PMCs / Mercs are when they are probably the same hypocritical types who get off playing GTA and mowing down civilians with a car or shooting them for kicks to get a high enough number of stars so they can escape from the police.

Are you honestly saying that you can't see the difference between acting out a fantasy in a digital world with non-real characters, and calling out a private military contractor for murdering innocent people? Because that's at the heart of the issue here, and it's where the controversy lies.

Just because I like to shoot digital mooks with a controller every now and then, that doesn't mean all of a sudden I've waived my right to call out bullshit when it exists? Are you trying to imply that playing a videogame equates to the same thing as engaging in acts of murder, and therefore us gamers are unable to criticise murdering scumbuckets when we see them?

Don't huff and gasp pumpkin, we all know that you have indulged your darker impulses in a video game even if you deny it. Now do I think that the game will be silly because its a kinect game? ha! yes. (Please cue Bender clip!)

There is a world of difference between 'indulging in the darker impulses' of playing a videogame, and indulging in the darker impulses of shooting up a market square full of civilians, and soliciting child prostitution. I would hope you, as a mature adult, can see that.

But maybe some people should get off their high horses when they talk about the morality of a video game when they themselves indulge in dubious in game behavior. After all, how many times did these people get away with saying "well its only a game!"

The issue isn't that this is 'just a game'. The issue is that the game is being developed by a company which has been associated with murder, and is allegedly involved in arms smuggling and child prostitution. Blackwater is a controversial name for a fucking reason.

Finally a game where killing random civilians and getting away with it will make sense!

Dr Jones:
MGS4 is happening

this

OT: this will unlikely not be much help. the market is already flooded with shooters, many of which have a rabid fanbase. even with heavy criticisms from well...everybody, they'll have to compete with COD 3 and such and such.

Funny how seeing what a real mercenary is like makes people angry.

Game looks like it'll suck anyways.

Arsen:
Can someone explain to me why this group is so villainized, hated, and looked down upon? Since when is providing security a major sin?

The answers you've gotten so far are fairly vague, so I'll add some more and also suggest that you read the book 'Blackwater' which is quite good.

Anyway, Blackwater is largely hated due to their actions in foreign countries, but they only really came to light after their involvement in the Iraq War. There's reports of them firing openly into crowds of civilians and such. Also their main training base is actually a doom fortress in the middle of a swamp, doesn't really help your image.

Blackwater is also primarily a Christian organization from what I've been able to gather, Mr. Prince and his family are fundamentalists who have some...interesting views on Middle Eastern geopolitics.

EDIT: Never mind, someone else did a pretty good job, hadn't read it yet.

MisterDyslexo:
In case people don't know reasons why they're hated, here's 17 reasons why:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

That wasn't Blackwater, that was a U.S. military Apache.

Blackwater changed their name to "Xe" pretty recently. Blackwater (Or Xe, since it's as far as i know only an atempt at rebranding) are a bunch of shady guys. The ones I am most sceptical about are not the grunts, since there are so many from such varying backgrounds that you can't call them all assholes. (although a lot of them are) I am more concerned about the "top-men", Prince especially, since they are the ones calling the shots. PMCs in general, i have a differing oppinion about. People seem to have a problem with the whole "guns-for-hire" aspect. It's not as if mercenaries don't have standards.

If it's good why not.
People seem pretty pissed about them here, I don't see much difference in the military and PMC's, the military just has a better system of covering controversy up.

Yeah, I really don't see how this will turn out well. Even if the game is great, and as innocent as a military shooter can be, people are going to jump right on top of this.

 

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