I think Blackwater's marketing plan is a little confused.

Blackwater, the video game.

Blackwater Worldwide, the real-life mercenary team linked to the killing of civilians and noncombatants in Iraq during U.S. operations there, will be the subject of a Kinect-supported videogame coming to the Xbox 360 later this year.

Published by 505 Games and titled, simply, Blackwater, the game is being produced in consultation with the private security contractor's founder, the former Navy SEAL Erik Prince.

A news release called it "an intense, cinematic shooter experience," set in a fictional North African town, in which players, as Blackwater operatives, battle two warlords' factions to protect the city.

Didn't they change their name to Olestra? Santorum? "Xe" because the "Blackwater" brand had become irredeemably associated with pseudo-Governmental death squads? (Because of, you know, facts?) But hey, why not use it for a video game. Brand Necrophilia has rarely been a more appropriate phrase...

In articles about them, you often see this boilerplate sentence:

Prince, who founded Blackwater in 1997, is no longer involved in Xe's management or operations.

That's because:

Merc Firm: Who Is This ‘Erik Prince’ You Speak of?

Rule number one for all security companies doing business in the Middle East: don’t publicly embrace Erik Prince. A company building a battalion of mercs for the United Arab Emirates is sticking to that code, even though a host of ex-employees have fingered the infamous Blackwater founder as a driving force behind it. [...]

And for good reason. If Prince or any other American is involved in R2, it could violate U.S. laws barring citizens from transferring military technology or expertise to foreign countries without a license. The State Department isn’t sure it’s given R2 any such permission.

Alternatively, denying involvement with Prince might just be good business and PR sense. Under Prince’s stewardship, Blackwater became a dirty word after its security guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007. More recently, he’s been the subject of widespread rumors in the Middle East tying him to an anti-pirate Somali militia. If you were a confederation of Arab sheikhs hiring Christian security guards to potentially suppress Arab revolts, would you want it known that you went to Erik Prince for the job?


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7 Responses:

  1. Michael Dwyer says:

    An intense, cinematic shooter experience, set in a fictional North African town, in which players ... battle two warlords' factions to protect the city?

    I already played this game when it was called Far Cry 2, where I was already a little uncomfortable that my pasty white-guy player-character drove around shooting people who were not. Stamping the Blackwater name on it just seems... icky.

  2. Sheilagh says:

    Grand Theft Auto: Baghdad?

  3. jonathan says:

    Xe has continued to use the Blackwater name for marketting purposes.

    Yes, they're a bunch of roid and amphetimine war junkies and criminals, but there is a segment of society that finds that admirable. They're good christian boys killing musilims, and that's what matters to the Jack-Bauer-wannabe pro-torture crowd. You can still buy Blackwater branded merchandise, including shotguns, at many gun shows.

  4. Huh: "About 582 results (0.18 seconds)"

    Isn't that down from last time?

  5. Caraculo says:

    Prince and the "Enterprise previously known as Blackwater". It sounds like a motherfucking joke.