The America's Army games have served as a recruiting tool for the US Army since the line debuted in 2002 with a free-to-download first-person shooter. While the Army has been clear that the games are targeted at young Americans to increase their interest in military service, an antiwar group this week is saying those potential recruits were too young.
The group Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW) is taking to task the Army and its sometimes-partner in the America's Army series, Ubisoft, for what it calls the recruiting of children in violation of international law. DASW claims the Army is specifically targeting boys as young as 13 with the game, which is rated T for Teen. The United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict specifically forbids the recruitment of children under the age of 18.
The group said in a statement that it met with Ubisoft North America president Laurent Detoc, who informed them that the publisher was through making America's Army games. An Ubisoft representative did not return GameSpot's request for confirmation on that point.
DASW also wants a warning label attached to the game. The suggested label would read, "Warning: this video game has been developed by the United States Army to recruit children under the age of 17 in violation of the U.N. Optional Protocol and international law. Combat service has been known to cause death, irreparable injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and lifelong feelings of overwhelming guilt."
The group has planned an antiwar rally for today in San Francisco's South Park--a block from Ubisoft's offices--to call attention to its grievances with the games.