Blackwater game like kids 'playing cops and robbers'

Attempting to defuse potential controversy, the folks behind the mercenary-branded on-rails shooter have described it as like "kids running around their neighborhood playing cops and robber," and sensible excluded shooting civilians.


A "first-person experience" starring controversial mercenary group Blackwater was one of this year's strangest announcements during E3 2011. However, the folks behind the game Blackwater stress that they're attempting to avoid controversy and make it as child-friendly as a snowball fight.

"It's a game," Blackwater founder Erik Prince told the Associated Press. "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."

The on-rails shooter places a team of Blackwater mercs in a fictional North African town, tasked with protecting it from warlords and militia forces. Wisely, the game moves away from real-world controversy; however, developer Zombie did have controversial aspirations before the team changed its mind.

"I waged strongly for the possibility of shooting civilians because I thought it could tell the story well," lead designer Richard Dormer said. "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 Fallujah.'"

The unreleased game Six Days in Fallujah, developed by Atomic Games, was billed as recreating 2004's Second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq with "the realism of a documentary film." In reality, it turned recent historical events into yet another over-the-top action-o-rama, and was compared to Gears of War by former Shack editor Nick Breckon. Publisher Konami eventually dropped the game from its release calendar.

"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."

Prince is no longer with Blackwater, which rebranded itself Xe Services to shake off the stigma attached by a string of scandals, then was later sold to an investor group. Prince still holds licensing rights to the Blackwater name, though, presumably because of some great merchandising opportunities.

Blackwater is headed to Xbox 360 on November 1 with optional Kinect support, and is published by 505 Games.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 5, 2011 4:15 PM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Blackwater game like kids 'playing cops and robbers'.

    Attempting to defuse potential controversy, the folks behind the mercenary-branded on-rails shooter have described it as like "kids running around their neighborhood playing cops and robber," and sensible excluded shooting civilians.

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 4:27 PM

      This reminds me of Six Days in Fallujah:

      "We're not trying to make social commentary," remarked Konami marketing VP Anthony Crouts. "We're not pro-war. We're not trying to make people feel uncomfortable. We just want to bring a compelling entertainment experience. At the end of the day, it's just a game."

      Three weeks later, Konami dropped them:

      • reply
        October 5, 2011 4:30 PM

        You and everyone else who ready the whole article.

        • reply
          October 5, 2011 6:17 PM

          I got through the entire RAGE review, but who kept up with this one after 'its a game.' and why would you.

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 4:31 PM

      any blackwater game needs a healing system of going to an ingame church with the Reverend Erik Prince who heals you and replenishes your ammo

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 4:47 PM

      Snowballs are not guns, not even close. When you shoot someone in your toy game for kids, do the bullets kill? Because when you play snowballs no-one ever dies, they get hit and keep throwing more snowballs.

      Propaganda for the children. What kind off idiot would want their children playing this garage anyways? Oh right, the same idiot who thought a civilian slayer was a good idea.

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 5:12 PM

      Oh boy! Do we get to drive down a highway shooting civies like them too?!

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 5:54 PM

      i wish nothing but ill will on everyone involved with making this. seriously, how fucking morally bankrupt do you have to be to make a Blackwater FPS

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 6:30 PM

      The shit people do for money.

    • reply
      October 5, 2011 7:20 PM

      Someone should tell them they aren't called Blackwater anymore.

    • reply
      October 6, 2011 1:17 AM

      A game or movie would have been such an interesting media to portray the controversy - now they are just doing a on rails snowball shooter ? Sad times.

    • reply
      October 6, 2011 1:21 AM

      I predict this game will be alike to.... BUTTWATER!! HAHAAAA!

Hello, Meet Lola