Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

October 4, 2011 -

Speaking to the Associated Press, Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Zombie Studios lead designer Richard Dormer talk about why their upcoming Kinect game based on the controversial security firm has decided to steer clear of blood, killing civilians, swearing, and moral dilemmas.

The game, simply titled Blackwater, is being developed by Zombie Studios and published by 505 Games and makes heavy use of the motion-sensing capabilities of Kinect. Both the company's founder and the development lead on the game said that they wanted to steer clear of any controversy, instead focusing on creating an arcade style shooter that could be played by a wider audience.

Blackwater is best known for providing security in hotspots around the world such as Afghanistan and Iraq. It was in that former theater of operation that the company drew criticism from members of Congress and the news media after a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that killed 17 people. That case was thrown out but is heading back to an appeals court for further scrutiny.

But Prince, who retained the rights to create properties based on his former company when he sold it last year, says that controversy or realism are not the core points of this new game:

"It's a game," Erik Prince, the company's founder told the AP. "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 has made sure to steer clear of any controversies contrived or imagined by critics; the game is set in a fictional West African country, and follows a made-up team of Blackwater operatives who are in charge of providing security for aid workers and foreign dignitaries. The big bad foozle of the game is a fictional despot named General Limbano.

While the game is in no way intended to repair the reputation of the security firm that he sold off last year, Prince acknowledges that some people will never accept Blackwater:

"I think anyone who sticks their neck out in life will be attacked in some quarters for doing it," said Prince. "I'm fully comfortable with that. 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."

Lead designer Richard Dormer acknowledged that they went out of their way to avoid creating further controversy by reducing violent content from the game such as blood and the ability to shoot civilians, though he admits he wanted it in the game at first:

"I waged strongly for the possibility of shooting civilians because I thought it could tell the story well," said Dormer. "In the end, we didn't need there to be any more controversy. It seemed beside the point of the game. It was a much bigger risk to jeopardize everything else involved, especially with what happened with `Six Days in Fallaujah.'"

The game, which is set for release October 25, has been rated "TEEN" by the ESRB. Despite that, it does contain headshots and mild language. Prince points out that this was the rating they wanted because it allowed for a wider audience to play and enjoy the game.

"We didn't want this to be restricted to adults," said Prince. "We wanted to dial the violence down so that kids could play it in the same way that they go outside throw snowballs at each other or whatever. We wanted to be able to spread the game to that demographic. Frankly, I also wanted something that I'd be comfortable with my own boys playing."

You can learn more about the game at blackwatergame.com.

Source: SF Gate


Comments

Re: Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

It seems really silly to put so much effort into avoiding controversy when the name itself is ultimately a big source of it. There's a reason Blackwater is no longer called Blackwater.

And honestly, if these are the hoops they feel they have to jump through just to mitigate the name, why not keep all these features in the game (since, you know, gamers LIKE that stuff) and call it something else? It's obviously not intended to be an accurate portrayal, so why is it so important to use the name Blackwater?

Re: Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

It wouldn't be good propaganda if it showed any kind of truth.

Re: Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

"We want to shoot people in the face without blood!"

Re: Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

The game isn't controversial because of what you're actually doing. It's controversial because it's about Blackwater. The only way to avoid the controversy is to not make a game about them.

Re: Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

It's a curious concept. Do the clown with your Kinect while you play as one of the worst murderers of the world. I wonder how much this will sell.

Re: Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

There are worse murderers than Blackwater. Like US Army.

Re: Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

How can you have a Blackwater game without the ability to kill civilians? I assume they won't let us  gas soldiers like Blackwater does either huh?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/10/world/middleeast/10blackwater.html?pag...

I think on the list of games I might buy, this would be DEAD last. These thugs get enough tax dollars as it is.

Re: Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

Because killing cilvilians is all Blackwater does right? Like US Military spends most of its time bombing civilians and reporters.

 
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Matthew Wilsonthe interview will be on youtube/xb1/ andriod today.12/24/2014 - 1:05pm
james_fudge1900's?12/24/2014 - 12:56pm
james_fudgeYeah we could go way way back :)12/24/2014 - 12:56pm
E. Zachary KnightCopyright law in general has been broken since at least 1976. Could be even earlier than that.12/24/2014 - 12:24pm
james_fudgeWhat he said :) They want to make it worse than it already is.12/24/2014 - 12:14pm
Papa MidnightDMCA has been broken since 1998. Good luck getitng Congress to do something about it.12/24/2014 - 11:39am
Craig R.At least they owned up to the mistake. But doesn't change the fact that DMCA is thoroughly broken.12/23/2014 - 5:23pm
MaskedPixelanteSpeaking of Dark Souls OMG I'M MAKING ACTUAL PROGRESS WTH IS THIS WHAAAAAAA12/23/2014 - 10:49am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=144500932&postcount=740 Yup, DSFix was part of an unrelated take down, and is being resolved.12/23/2014 - 8:04am
prh99Of course had they not done such a rush on the port we wouldn't dsfix to make the game not look and play like ass. 720 internal renders aren't so hot scaled to 1080.12/23/2014 - 7:38am
Papa MidnightIt was most likely an automated tool. Happens all the time. Just another case of the broken DMCA Claim and Takedown process that puts the entirety of the burden of proof on the accused instead of the claimant.12/22/2014 - 10:09pm
Conster*applauds IanC*12/22/2014 - 7:37pm
MaskedPixelanteSounds like BN was going after an unrelated mod, and took out DSFix in the process. Probably once a counterclaim goes out, this'll all be sorted out.12/22/2014 - 7:04pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=144440299&postcount=1 wtf is namco thinking.......12/22/2014 - 6:17pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/22/read-the-fine-print-ubisoft-free-game-offer-waives-lawsuits/12/22/2014 - 6:00pm
Papa MidnightI kind of liked the movement to have Terry Crews play him instead, but this will do.12/22/2014 - 3:40pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://marvel.com/news/tv/23866/mike_colter_to_star_as_luke_cage_in_marvels_aka_jessica_jones#ixzz3MeuUl63P Mike Colter is Luke Cage.12/22/2014 - 3:23pm
IanCBecause that isn't Max Payne 3. It might have the name, but it isn't an entry in the series.12/22/2014 - 12:48pm
IanCOh theres a Max Payne 3? A proper one, or are we referring to that abomination that Rockstar crapped out a few years ago12/22/2014 - 12:48pm
IanCUpgraded PS3 hard drive to 500gb. Restored 53GB back up. Done the maths, have somehow used up 106GB already?12/22/2014 - 12:44pm
 

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