Rendition: Guantanamo, an action game set in a near-future Guantanamo Bay detention camp, has been canceled because of the "extreme reaction" to the game by U.S. media.
The game first came to light in mid-March. Details were scant but despite the provocative title it appeared to have little to do with current U.S. policies regarding either extraordinary rendition or the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The game was set in 2020, a time when Guantanamo Bay had been sold by the U.S. government to a mercenary group, which in turn rented the place to scientists conducting "unethical experiments on living human beings." In that light, the title appeared to be little more than a cheap publicity ploy, attracting attention for reasons that have nothing to do with the actual game.
But it wasn't until former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg was revealed as a consultant on the project that the game began to get serious attention. Zarrar Chishti of developer T-Enterprise said Begg was brought in to help ensure the accuracy of the prison design in the game and that the company had taken steps to ensure his participation didn't contravene any laws or agreements surrounding his release. His presence led to a flood of negative feedback, however, which has resulted the decision to cancel the game.
In a statement on renditionthegame.com, Chishti said much of the speculation surrounding the game has been "inaccurate and ill-informed," and that accusations that the game is a "recruiting tool for terrorism" have no factual basis whatsoever.
"First and foremost, the main character was NOT Moazzam Begg. Instead, his name was Adam. He happened to be involved in a case of mistaken identity and so was never a terrorist. T-Enterprise is against all forms of terrorism and would never seek to advocate otherwise," Chishti said in the statement. "Furthermore, Guantanamo was to be a mercenary run institution and so there would have been NO American military personnel killed within the game. Again, we support the British and American troops that fight the war against terrorism to make the world a safer place and would not make a game that said otherwise."
"The game was simply designed to be an action video game that adults could enjoy," the statement continued. "However, as a direct result of the extreme reaction that the game and its popular misconceptions have provoked, T-Enterprise has decided to pull out of the project and will not be completing Rendition: Guantanamo."
I didn't have much hope that Rendition: Guantanamo would offer any kind of worthwhile gameplay but I hate seeing games canceled on the basis of nothing more than the shocking ignorance spouted by people like Rush Limbaugh, who actually suggested that Bill Gates was, or could be, somehow directly involved with the project. On the other hand, by naming the game Rendition: Guantanamo, T-Enterprise was all but begging for this kind of response; complaining about it now seems just a tad disingenuous.