Crooks and Liars
In Ubisoft’s Press Release, Team Rainbow (good guys) face a new threat called True Patriots (bad guys), a “highly-trained, well-organized group of militias. The True Patriots are capitalizing on the growing sense of frustration and anger in a modern day America that they feel is irrevocably corrupted by greedy politicians and corporate special interests. Lead by a calculating figurehead named Tredway, this grassroots, homespun, terrorist organization will stop at nothing to overthrow the government and financial institutions to reclaim their country. Capturing the reality of modern-day terrorist, players will take on the role of a new Team Rainbow member as they face critical scenarios that will require them to make tough ethical decisions in order to stop this new breed of terrorists.”
Got that? It all about making “tough ethical decisions.” Like this one: In the video game’s trailer, Occupy Wall Street operatives murder Wall Street fat cats, kicking down the office door of a banker who looks remarkably like Jamie Dillon, beating the crap out of him before strapping explosives to him and toss him out the window of a New York skyscraper, detonating the bomb just as the banker smashes into the traffic many stories below.
“This is for the jobs you’ve streamlined, the debts you collected,” the Occupy Wall Street baddies mutter. “This is for the homes you foreclosed on, the bailouts you took. You may not answer to the governments, but you will answer to us. We are the true patriots”
A conceptual video released by Ubisoft to give potential punters an idea of what the game might be like to play (while containing no actual gameplay footage) is quite revolting enough. A banker about to enjoy a sexy birthday treat from his wife is interrupted by home invaders, Occupy Wall Street terrorists/True Patriots. One of them, threatening to field-dress the banker’s wife like a deer, and his baby too, tells the banker, “Very nice place you’ve got here. You really did cash in on everyone else getting foreclosed, didn’t you?” The banker is strapped with an explosive belt and told to hold down the deadman switch or he’ll explode, then driven into the city toward Times Square. The terrorists and their victim are stopped on what looks like the Verrazano Bridge by the so-called good guys, one of which I gather is the player as the first-person shooter. The good guys kill the OWS terrorists as well as cold-bloodedly shooting a police officer (the moral justification apparently being you have to kill the cop who is about to shoot the suicide bomber/banker to prevent even more deaths) along with any other random civilians who happen to be in the way. When they finally reach the banker, realizing the Bomb Squad won’t arrive in time, they bodily pick up the banker who’s begging them to save his wife and baby and toss him into the river where he explodes. They do have the courtesy to apologise first, of course, being good guys.
And this, it seems, is what is passing for moral ambiguity and complex ethical dilemmas in video games. Right-wing style.
LP - has a different moral dilema for a video game. A banker loots some citizens (good guys) pension fund and neither the government nor law enforcement does anything about it. Sure it doesn't have all the fire works of a Clancy pot boiler but it is a little closer to reality.