Stephen C. Webster
A new game in development for the Xbox 360 aims to put American teens into the virtual shoes of a Blackwater mercenary soldier as he and his squad gun down wave after wave of enemies.
Based on the infamous mercenary company Blackwater — now known as Xe Services — the game “Blackwater” will utilize the Kinect camera to forgo the traditional controller interface and put real bodies into the game. Players can extend a hand to shoot, and move around in front of the television to hide behind cover or adjust their aim.
Developer Zombie Studios, which has partnered on the project with Blackwater founder Erik Prince, has previously created some of the most realistic military simulation games ever, including a “virtual Army experience” that put players in an actual Humvee and has them mount machine guns.
“Blackwater,” however, will not be one of them: Zombie Studios has turned down the blood and gore factor, instead employing wave after wave of generic, sub-human enemies for players to gun down with a pointed index finger.
Iraq announced in January 2009 that it would not renew Blackwater’s operating licence due to a September 16, 2007 incident in which guards protecting a US diplomatic convoy opened fire in Baghdad’s busy Nisur Square, killing at least 14 civilians.
After that announcement, the U.S. State Department did not renew its contract with Blackwater. However, it didn’t much matter, as Blackwater merely formed over 30 shell companies and then renamed itself Xe Services, enabling hundreds of their mercenaries to stay in Iraq in the employ of other companies.
“Blackwater” is expected to be released in October for Xbox 360 Kinect.