The newest recruiting tool for the US military is Future Force Company Commander, a game designed to show potential recruits the future of warfare. Some say the software gives unrealistic views of what the military is all about.
While most high-tech solutions have low-tech countermeasures, the US military did not want Zombie to include any weaknesses. "They didn't ask for hole punchers," says Mark Long, co-CEO of Zombie. "High-tech has all kinds of low-tech vulnerabilities and they didn't want the vulnerabilities programmed in."
A game paid for with tax dollars depicting the US army as an invincible superpower raises ethical issues, according to Susan Nash, e-learning expert and associate dean at Excelsior College. "All their use of technology is so off-label, so future-forward," Nash says. "And you've got to figure the enemy is playing the game too."
Zombie's Mark Long also wanted to see the enemy evolve, based on his own experiences in the military. "The first time a UGV toddles in for reconnaissance, insurgents will stare at it until the air strike follows," he says. "The second time, they'll throw a blanket over it and run. The third time, they'll immobilize it and plant an IED because they'll have figured out someone has to recover that million-dollar piece of equipment."
Ultimately, Nash is worried that new recruits will think that the future of warfare is sitting in a safe place, working a joystick. "You don't see the day-to-day boredom, you don't see broken legs and equipment failure," she says. "You don't see that the military is mostly grunts and only the grunts on the ground die."