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."