Bono, 'stop Mercenaries 2'
Pandemic's ultra-realistic war action-sim Mercenaries 2: World in Flames has already been criticized by the Venezuelan government for its portrayal of American soldiers engaged in combat in their country - the realistic style of the game, coupled with a not-entirely-implausible premise leading some officials to comment that the game hits a little too close to home, and could 'prepare' the world for a US 'invasion of Venezuela, with president Hugo Chavez an outspoken critic of US foreign policy, particularly George Bush.
Now the Venezuelan Solidarity Network are asking for Pandemic to halt production of Mercenaries 2, the network highlighting the game story's similarities to the real-world, featuring a 'power-hungry Venezuelan dictator' who is hunted by hired guns. Chavez's government describes the game as anti-Venezuelan propaganda.
The Network have now petitioned U2 frontman Bono to put a halt to the game, the musician-activist being seen as the only man who can halt the title's release. Bono is of course on the board of Elevation Partners, an investment vehicle which brought developers Pandemic and Bioware together last year.
"The aim of the video game is full devastation, so any 'person' who moves should be 'shot,' and all the buildings, such as the headquarters of PDVSA, the Venezuelan public oil company, can be 'destroyed.' Our concern is that this game will only deepen an already antagonistic relationship between the U.S. and Venezuelan governments. Millions of Venezuelans fear an invasion from the U.S.; knowing that a company that works for the US military has created a game in which their country is completely destroyed will increase those concerns."
Pandemic have in the past created a simulator for the US Army, which later became Full Spectrum Warrior.
GameSpot US were sent this response by Pandemic: "While we're flattered that people think Mercenaries 2 is a commentary on the real world, it is just a video game--and as they say in the movies, all characters and events are purely fiction. 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. More to the point, the characters are categorically not based on any real political figures in Venezuela or elsewhere."
The game us due out on consoles and the PC later this year, unless Bono does intercede alongside his partners, that is...