“Americans are Angry.” So say writers Matt Bertz and Jeff Cork in an article entitled “The Enemy Within”, in the December 2011 edition of Game Informer. And with the article revolving around a central concept that is sure to raise concern with the group “Oathkeepers”, they follow up by asking: “Do you have what it takes to pull the trigger on a fellow citizen?”
“In response to gradual erosion of our beloved nation, resentful citizens of all kinds of political backgrounds are rising up in the form of new political movements like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street,” says Game Informer. And because of this, Game Publisher Ubisoft and the team behind the popular series “Rainbow 6” (a game in which players can experience what it’s like to be counter-terrorism agents) believe that this volatile political climate is the perfect jumping-off point for their latest project: Rainbow 6 Patriots.
So what’s the big deal? Well, as computing and graphical capability of the game experience continually improves, this powerful form of media– when crafted in capable hands – has the ability to entertain, challenge, and thoughtfully provoke in ways that books or movies cannot. And while this can be an exciting venue of often-times unlimited creativity for the talented individuals who develop such “worlds”, it can also become increasingly important to assess the levels of wisdom/prudence in enabling potentially unhealthy behaviors.
For example: The story behind the project, which is to be released in 2013, is that the many unhappy groups across the United States, including “forgotten” soldiers who have returned home, are galvanized under a single leader. Heading a group called the “True Patriots”, the leader has seen government treachery firsthand, and has information that proves that it lies to its people. Hoping to become a martyr, this charismatic individual believes he will be seen as “a founding father of a new country in which people have embraced the civil liberties that are granted them in the Constitution.”
Heading up “Team Rainbow”, which is responsible for thwarting the “True Patriots”, Game players will be able to take the role of a former Navy SEAL who acts as squad leader. And in order to accomplish his goal, Creative Director David Sears at Ubisoft states that the character is “willing to take ethical shortcuts.” This translates into the player being able to choose whether to save one life at the expense of a hundred, or to sacrifice innocent civilians in order to defuse a hostile situation.
“Given the sensitive subject matter of Americans turning on each other, we (Game Informer) asked the team if they were prepared to face a media controversy propagated by news networks that move so quickly and ignorantly to condemn video games as youth-corrupting trash. We can see the sensational headline now: “Liberal Game Publisher Paints Tea Party as Terrorists.”
“We’re not concerned about any kind of media backlash because we’re not an exploitive game.” Sears states in Game Informer. “We’re trying to set a game that feels current….why can’t a game be smarter? Why can’t a game embrace issues? We certainly welcome the opportunity to talk intelligently and thoughtfully about mature subject matter. As the game industry evolves, we’re going to face these issues more and more often.”