"Pandemic Studios never has and never will be intimidated by tyrants," Pandemic president Josh Resnick told Shacknews. "Our invasion is on schedule: Mercenaries 2 will be released in early 2008."
Original Story: Remember the Venezuela Solidarity Network? The group that petitioned U2 frontman Bono (pictured above) to stop the development of Pandemic Studios' Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (PC, PS3, PS3, X360)? Well, they never heard back from Bono, but with the game delayed until next year and some controversial elements seemingly addressed, they're still considering the campaign a minor success.
"Bono never responded directly," campaign activist Marie Davis admitted to venezuelanalysis, "but apparently our point hit home that financing a violent video game that targets a government already targeted by the Bush administration is counter to the reputation as a humanitarian that he has earned with his work on AIDS in Africa and debt relief. Pandemics[sic] began to change the story line soon after our letter was delivered." nope
The VSN's main point of contention was the game's apparent mirroring of real-life tensions between the United States and Venezuela. With the title set in a realistic virtual recreation of Venezuela, the group feared its gratuitous violence would provoke hostile tensions towards the country.
Now that Pandemic has offered more on the game's main antagonist--a "power-hungry tyrant" who meddles with the Venezuelan oil supply and causes the country to be invaded by China before backstabbing the Mercenaries crew--the VSN claims its letter to Bono resulted in a villain that bears less of a resemblance to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
"It still isn't perfect," explained VSN compaign coordinator Gunnar Gundersen. "I wouldn't want my sons to buy it and blow up neighborhoods that we can clearly recognize where their cousins, aunts and uncles live."
"Our setting provides gamers with the overall look and feel of Venezuela, although it is not an accurate street by street depiction and the characters as well as the storyline are completely made up," Pandemic co-founder Josh Resnick said in response to an earlier protest. "The characters are categorically not based on any real political figures in Venezuela or elsewhere."
"This isn't a victory because Bono and Pandemics[sic] are still telling kids it's okay to attack my home country," elaborated VSN member Jorge Marin, "but it is progress and it wouldnÂ’t have happened without public pressure."
Shacknews has contacted Pandemic Studios to collaborate the VSN's claims that story elements were changed in response to their outcry.