Call of Juarez: The Cartel Criticism Continues

Community leaders in city of Ciudad Juarez and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office line up to complain about Ubisoft and Techland’s latest game in the Call of Juarez series. The new game, Call of Juarez: The Cartel, is set in the present day, which has put it on the radar of people that are dealing with real-world violence from Mexican drug cartels.

Community leaders in Ciudad Juarez, say that Ubisoft’s new game glorifies the violent lifestyle of drug cartels and being "a hit man."

"Lots of kids say they want to be a hitman, because they are the ones that get away with everything," youth worker Laurencio Barraza told Reuters.

That city, according to Reuters, averaged eight murders a day last year and – at the start of this year – at least 40 residents from El Paso have been murdered while visiting. Barraza works for the  Independent Popular Organization, which tries to keep the youth of the city out of the violent drug cartels.

"This glorifies violence, as if victims were just another number or another bonus," he added.

Commander Gomecindo Lopez of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office feels the same way. He lost a jailer in a shooting last March. While visiting Ciudad Juarez, the man, his wife and their unborn child were killed.

"In games you get hurt, you die and you get another life. In real life, you only die once," said Lopez.

Lopez compared the game to "narco corridos," Mexican ballads that glorify the violent culture of drug trafficking.

"This goes along the lines of narco-songs that portray cartel leaders as heroes, but both are a gross misrepresentation of who they are," Lopez said. "They are criminals."

Ubisoft says that, despite the setting and story, the latest Call of Juarez game is purely fictional and for entertainment:

"Call of Juarez the Cartel is purely fictional and developed by the team at Techland for entertainment purposes only," a Ubisoft spokesperson said. "While Call of Juarez the Cartel touches on subjects relevant to current events in Juarez, it does so in a fictional manner that makes the gaming experience feel more like being immersed in an action-movie than in a real-life situation."

Source: Reuters

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  1. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    With an average of almost ten murders per day in the real city of Juarez, I should think people would be better off trying to stop that, rather than focusing on a game that (even with high kill rates of today’s ultra-violent games) would find it hard to even match the reality of the violence in that city.

    According to all the stuff I’ve read, much of the violence in Ciudad Juarez derives from high levels of corruption among the city’s top officials. I’m not surprised that community leaders would want to keep the public unaware of their city’s depravity. How inconvenient that the makers of this game can’t be silenced as easily as the poor innocent female factory workers who tend to turn up dead on a daily basis in Ciudad Juarez.

    Maybe the game can do what Juarez’s community leaders have failed to do so far – make people aware enough of Ciudad Juarez’s problems so that something can be effectively done about them. Maybe that’s what the city’s top officials are really afraid of.

  2. 0
    Magic says:

    Exactly. No Country For Old Men touched on drug runners and Mexico, but nothing is said about that, it’s just accepted as part of what the film explores. These politicians are doing the usual presumption that the game will glorify the cartels and never criticise them one iota. We don’t even know much more about the game beyond the concept anyway!

    Some idiots glorify Scarface (gangster rappers mostly, it seems) yet that movie clearly shows the price that drug barons face for their chosen lifestyle. It’s like Full Metal Jacket – there are arguments that it’s pro-war and anti-war. I’d like to think it’s more of the latter, but that’s a whole separate debate.

  3. 0
    trueneutral says:

    What I find interesting is that I’m having a hard time imagining this sort of criticism for any other form of media. It sounds like what they’re complaining about is that it’s a game, and thus can’t and shouldn’t touch upon any current issues. Does this mean that games should be unlike other forms of media?

    Perhaps these people would complain about anything that mentions a Cartel, but wouldn’t that make them highly sensitive people about this issue? Wouldn’t it be better to devote their energy to solving problems rather than complaining about fiction?

  4. 0
    Shahab says:

    Have these people come out and criticized any of the million movies about this kind of thing? No? Well then tell them to shut up. These are bunch of older people who do not understand gaming, rather they fear it. They still think that gaming is only for children, when children under 18 make up only roughly 25% of the market and the voluntary ratings system has much enforcment than that for movies.

    Adults are free to play whatever they like. Children are free to play whatever their parents deem to be ok. These people have ZERO right to step into a creative field and try and censor it. Eventually this old guard of technically unsophisticated people will die off and people will stop making these idiotic statements.

  5. 0
    Pvt. Jackass says:

    To be honest one of my silly dreams as a teenager was to be a hitman. Of course as I grew older it starts to look like a pretty dumb idea considering the amount of effort required and well, networks and stuff. Plus as a hitman you never get to see the juicy stuff. (you know, the story and all that) 

  6. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    My own editorial on that very line is thus:

    So the solution is to censor/ban a computer/video game rather than demand that the citizens, police force, legal system, politicians/city officials, etc actually DO something, or something more than what is done now, to bring an end to that preception?  After all, if the children, and even adults, have the preception that actual cartel members and leaders are able to get away with various crimes, then the problem is far deeper than their depictions in ficticious media.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  7. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "Lots of kids say they want to be a hitman, because they are the ones that get away with everything," youth worker Laurencio Barraza told Reuters.

    Uh, really?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that none of these critics have played, watched, or even seen video of the game.  I hope I’m wrong.


    Andrew Eisen

  8. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I imagine it would be a very regional thing.

    In some areas, hitmen are pretty high on the totem pole and have a better standard of living then much of the population, so they do get idealized.

  9. 0
    Monte says:

     to be fair i might imagine that this be something that would vary on location… Children living in a highly violent area are likely to have a much more different view on life than children growing up in less troubling areas. 

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