Mercs 2 has Bono under fire

Activists call on religious leaders to join petition asking U2 frontman to stop release of Pandemic's sandbox shooter set in Venezuela.

Militaristic games set in contemporary times benefit greatly from incorporating as much realism as they can. Real-world weapons, vehicles, and tactics bring an air of authenticity that doesn't require risking life and limb for. However, add what many claim to be a plausible plot based on current events and the fictionalized "real world" hits a little too close to home for some.

One man come he to justify...

The Venezuelan Solidarity Network is asking for help to stop production of Pandemic Studios' upcoming game Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. The game follows guns for hire as they help topple a "power hungry tyrant" in Venezuela. While no real names are used, protestors see the plot as a clear parallel to the Unites States' troubled relationship with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, and are labeling the shooter as anti-Venezuela propaganda.

The organization is seeking to gather the signatures of various religious leaders for a letter (PDF format) intended for the one man they feel can and should stop the game from going to market--U2 frontman Bono. The Irish crooner and part-time activist is one of the board members of Elevation Partners, the venture capital firm that is a majority stakeholder in the partnership between Pandemic and BioWare, which brought the two independent game developers together under the name BioWare/Pandemic Studios.

...one man to overthrow.

The letter from the Venezuelan Solidarity Network to Bono reads: "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."

The reference to Pandemic working for the US military stems from the studio's work on an Army-commissioned military-training program, which later was polished for retail as Full Spectrum Warrior.

The deadline for signatures to be included to the letter is March 31, 2007. The network plans to send the letter to Bono the following day.

This isn't the first attempt by the group to reach out to Bono to stop the game from being made. The organization pleaded with the artist to stop production of the game last July. One month before that, a member of the Venezuelan government publicly decried the game, calling it a "justification for an imperialist aggression."

In response to the protest, Pandemic sent GameSpot the following statement from cofounder Josh Resnick: "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 statement continues: "It's common practice in the entertainment business, both movies and video games, to set fictional storylines in real places. This isn't any different than setting a movie like Goodfellas in New York. And while we certainly hope Mercenaries raises the adrenaline flow, anyone wanting to experience or learn more about the real world, we recommend a good history book."

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is scheduled for release later this year on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and PC.

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Discussion

493 comments
ImBananas
ImBananas

tr3vz right. You can't fight logics

STUDLOFF
STUDLOFF

Pandemic made Destroy All Humans and all you do in that game is blow stuff up, Pandemic is making Mercs 2 and all you do in that game is blow stuff up, i think they just like to blow stuff up.

plaza_ak47
plaza_ak47

Venezuela do not worry!!! USA will take care of you!!! you will be like Puerto Rico and mabye if we like you enough we will turn you into a state!!! You will get your own damn star on the flag!

bakerskate21
bakerskate21

lets be real here... this game isn't going to lead to an ivasion... ITS JUST A GAME!!!! IDK why people like them want to stop such a good game. I hatepeople whi try to ruin good games for all of us. People wanted to stop Grand theft auto IV.... DIDN'T HAPPEN. People want to stop mercs 2... NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!!!

DaveFrehley
DaveFrehley

The irony of the whole thing is I can imagine these guys playing GTA4 as Niko.... the immigrant in america... blowing things up & killing anyone and everyone... but when the target in the video game is their country THAT'S when they get their panties all in a bunch. It's just a freakin video game, lighten up people.

Jegs41x
Jegs41x

I'm from venezuela... chavez is just pathetic its just a videogame... i hope USA take control of venzuela pls.. i hate this president

Tr3vz
Tr3vz

its a simple game. "Hitting too close to home," is not logical here. Unless you live in the video game universe then we should not be having controversies like this.

ildemaro
ildemaro

cant wait to get this game... killing chavez is going to be totally worth it.

MrOs
MrOs

Goodfellas is based on a true story. Ooof! There are literally thousands of better analogies Pandemic could have used. Hilarious.

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

And the tyrant, with what I gather from developer interviews, isn't modeled after Hugo Chavez at all....but is more in common with the the 2002 coup leader Pedro Carmona!!!! So the main enemy are elites and their military backers...kinda like what happened in 2002.

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

"Chavez is a charismatic child. He grows the venezuelan economy by nationalizing 12 billion dollar investments, he strongarms media outlets critical of his regime into silence and he basks in the spotlight he earns by frequently condemning the US, as well as using this nationalistic xenophobia as a means to unify and drum up support from venezuelans. " I agree with the nationalizations, the government would have no money if the oil industry was privatized. RCTV deserved to be shut down for attempt of a coup and for regularly violating media laws that were more lienant than the FCC. "He may not be a tyrannt, but he's still an **** The anti-US crowd love him because he seems to have little better to do than thumb his nose at the US, and the radical islamic theocracies (Iran, anyone?) are in bed with him for the same reason, and because he too is a rabid anti-semite, equating Israel to Nazis and condemning the "Christ-killers" who control the world's resources. " Since when did criticizing Israel's apartheid policies mean anti-semetism. The "Christ-Killers" commit is only anti-semetic if you take it out of context. He was talking about the rich elite, not the Jews. "It's also worth noting that Chavez just recently greatly expanded his political powers, now having the power to rule by decree. He declared his intent to, among other things, nationalize the electricity and telecommunications industries in Venezuela, as well as further oil resources. "Let all that was privatized be nationalized" he said. " Constitutionally legal and it has been done before. And again, since when was nationalizations always bad.

Chaos_Bladez
Chaos_Bladez

Pretty soon they will try to ban games for taking place on the moon. This is completely nuts.

Mastercosmo
Mastercosmo

these religious fu****s need to stfu and go back to talking to that invisible dude who lives in the sky. and bono needs to just go away. right now. forever. even if that increased US CITIZEN hatred of venezuala, what are a bunch of lightly armed civvies gonna do? I think any country with even a basically trained army could stop some angry untrained civlllians. but they really think that we are gonna go through the trouble to attack them because of some game? i think they need to sort out some real problems, such as the apparently looming threat of us invading venezuela. (which isnt gonna happen for a very long time, if at all. all our military might is commited to the middle east) why cant people just realize that games are games. it's jsut programming. no one actually dies, and if a game makes you want to kill someone, then you need help. so just stfu and give us our game.

Paul2004
Paul2004

Lmao , they should just get used to it , big wow a letter with a bunch of signatures , ever heard of a shreader ? Blowin stuff up on all sides , nothin better :D , i can see all of there HQ's getting blown to bits just for the fun of it :D

CowbellFanatic
CowbellFanatic

Well said Pandemic. If it was a MOVIE about Venezuela any attempt to stop it would be called censorship and be looked down upon. Hell it could even use actual names of people and no one would give a crap. Stupid politicians, and Bono, have it in for video games.

foulu625
foulu625

When you utter the statement "SAVE US BONO!!!!" you have a lot more to worry about than a game imo.

silvermyst
silvermyst

Now renting clues.... Ok lets see. If I understand the problem. A game is going to cause the U.S. to want to become Mercs and attack Venezuela or hate them or somesuch.... Er did I understand that correctly? It is going to strain the relationship between the US and Venezuelan governments? Gods below I am impressed at the power of a game. A game which seems to have more influence on international relations than say: The raising price of oil. All hail the power of the GAME! . Hmm I think I will need to get this title just to go Merc on those that seem to think this is going to turn me into a mindless killer ;)

LtHolt
LtHolt

Maybe Venezuela should concentrate on some real issues, you know like poverty in their counrty or something....you know something that will actually do some good, do they really have nothing better to do?

kaliban
kaliban

I swear, if gamers were as impressionable and mindless as these mooks make us out to be, I think we would have already been subject to some "etiquette and upstanding citizen" videogame created and released by uber conservatives to counter the disastrous effects of all the brainwashing and programming done to us by all the games previously released with violent and otherwise questionable content. For example; after i played the first Mercenaries game I hauled ass to North Korea to wreck the place. I'm not even gonna wait for Mercs 2 to come out, I'm headed down to Venezuela on the double damnit!

whiskeyjazz
whiskeyjazz

Oh and I forgot to mention: YES I'M GOING TO BUY THIS GAME!

whiskeyjazz
whiskeyjazz

LOL I'm venezuelan and I wish my country was like that so we can kick the living S#!t out of our president. Hell I support this game cause sadly I feel like destroying lots of things in my country right now. I would loooooove blowing up things like PDVSA headquarters. BONO keep yourself to your music! Do we fear a US invasion? Hell no, we welcome them, It's our F#^%$#G president who doesn't! He's a F*&^$#G Retard

petervaht
petervaht

Don't religious people have anything better to do like go extinct already?

jmrwacko
jmrwacko

They should make a game where we get to send Bono's no-good ass back to Ireland.

Fitzycent
Fitzycent

Has Bono saved the world yet? I didn't get the newspaper today, I knew he was close though.... ¢

billyharrison27
billyharrison27

get a life really its a game if u wanna be a wiiinnnnnieeeee little **** go talk to bush

bond22
bond22

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

cortana64
cortana64

Waa Waa Waa I want my milk and cookies

XHuskersX26
XHuskersX26

Anything to get his name in the papers. Go to love Hollywood and how they know whats best for all of us.

ryanray2
ryanray2

They should be happy a video game is being based in their country, i would if they made one based in australia. Anyway they arent gonna stop making the game half way through daaaaah!

ryanray2
ryanray2

They should be happy a video game is being based in their country, i would if they made one based in australia. Anyway they arent gonna stop making the game half way through daaaaah!

ryanray2
ryanray2

They should be happy a video game is being based in their country, i would if they made one based in australia. Anyway they arent gonna stop making the game half way through daaaaah!

ResidentEman
ResidentEman

Wow. Just wow. These people need to grow up. IT'S A FREAKING GAME!!! These people who want to stop this game need to grow up. Although I do have to say that Hugo Chavez is a retard The same kind of retard as Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler but I won't go there...

phegox
phegox

I',m form venezuela too ^^ and i will get this game for my x360 it most be soooooo cool and is true Chavez is just a a big true liar

Playa107
Playa107

it just gets me so pissed when people think Venezuela is truly democratic...

Jokul
Jokul

oh boy, politics and games never a good mix......I wonder if Bono had the first Merc game!!! lol :D

Playa107
Playa107

Guys, I live in Venezuela, and I have no problem with this..it's only idiot chavists who do, most of the people who aren't chavists (basicaly most of the people with common sense) have no problem with this. But this is very very close to reality, our leader is somewhat of a tyrant, we have a **** of anarchy, our death rate is huge (mainly because of murders) etc. Chavez is a true liar, cheater, and **** He hasn't helped this country at all but that's besides the point. In other words, chavez is tryign to hide reality, and this game reflects it too much for him. ANd you say that he's no tyrant? need I remind you of the actions of april 11th? and not to mention his recent decision to close down a channel that happens to be against him? His threats to goverment workers if they dont'vote for him, all the people who hav ebeen arrested for being against him...I could go on all day

Qubit101
Qubit101

i think venzuala or whatever needs to get over it. It's a game. People have probably made games somewhere in russia where russia invades the U.S. DO WE CARE? i know i dont. Unless pirates and mercenaries start coming to venzuala and blowing the **** out of things then they just need to shut up and move on.

andys320
andys320

I think everyone needs to calm down and not get upset about a game(a really awesome game!!) Besides, we have games like GTA: Vice City and San Andreas that seems to promote violence and anarchy that only REALLY STUPID people blur with reality. "Remember kids, its just a game."

ale-66
ale-66

OK, i`m venezuelan and i`m living here. The truth is: Chavez isn`t a saint but he isn`t a dictator either. My country is democratic an the people live better now. The government can`t do anything to avoid the sale of the game and many people will going to buy it.

STR8xDUMP1N
STR8xDUMP1N

Look's like it's gunna be a good game. Where's Venezuela again? I hope you get my point.

MaximumFish
MaximumFish

"Those calling Chavez a dictator or a tryant are either misinformed or are ignorant idiots. " Chavez is a charismatic child. He grows the venezuelan economy by nationalizing 12 billion dollar investments, he strongarms media outlets critical of his regime into silence and he basks in the spotlight he earns by frequently condemning the US, as well as using this nationalistic xenophobia as a means to unify and drum up support from venezuelans. He may not be a tyrannt, but he's still an **** The anti-US crowd love him because he seems to have little better to do than thumb his nose at the US, and the radical islamic theocracies (Iran, anyone?) are in bed with him for the same reason, and because he too is a rabid anti-semite, equating Israel to Nazis and condemning the "Christ-killers" who control the world's resources. It's also worth noting that Chavez just recently greatly expanded his political powers, now having the power to rule by decree. He declared his intent to, among other things, nationalize the electricity and telecommunications industries in Venezuela, as well as further oil resources. "Let all that was privatized be nationalized" he said. I don't know how much of Soviet Russia's history you are aware of, but you might want to look into that. Or Cuba's history. Or China's. Or Korea's. Or Vietnam's. Tyrannt or no, if you support this man and are not on his payroll, you are a retard Period.

desusx
desusx

the thing is, there are 2 types of people who play video games: 1 - The regular gamers, who see something in a video game, then go out in the real world and thats the end of it. They see the game as a game, and reality as reality, and theres no problem. 2- The people with >90 IQ, the kind who see something somewhere, in a game, in a movie, wherever, and think, hey, sweet, lets go do that. These are the people that has the government worried. You have to remember one thing though: PEOPLE THAT DUMB CANNOT GET INTO A POSITION OF POWER. (George Bush refrences aside ok?) The fact is, the only people who would concievably cause a problem after playing such a game are the people who dont know enough to actually plan and execute anything problematic. The only real threat of video games is that coming from the parents and, inded, governments, who panic and say "Oh no, the video games are evil, theyre going to kill us all. Ban them!!!!!!" See my point? Other Point: In the show Prison Break, in the last few episodes, Panama is protrayed as a fairly violent place full of prostitutes. Now I know tons upon tons of the same people who would play Mercs 2. These are the same people who will apparently cause some sort of invasion or revolution, according to the Venezualen government. Notice the lack of public outcry? Notice the lack of people declaring "BAN PRISON BREAK!!!!" Honestly, people need to get it through their heads that these sort of influences are completely tied into modern youth culture, theyre not causing problems, and they couldnt remove the influences even if they tried. So whats Venezuela complaining about?

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

"But Venezuelan network members point out the research done by Pandemic to give players an authentic experience: Buildings are modeled after photos taken in Venezuela by the company prior to production, and according to one of the game's online forums, Pandemic consulted a mercenary to sculpt its title characters. Pandemic is also the company behind Full Spectrum Warrior, a 2003 game developed to train US soldiers at Fort Benning. The US Army base in Georgia was also home to the infamous School of the Americas -- now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation -- that was accused of training two officers involved in a coup that temporarily ousted Chávez in 2002." Now..this is a big issue. School of Americas...I call it the School of Assassins...has a bad history. The US with the school helped train some of the worst human rights abusers the Western Hemisphere has ever seen, including dictators who massacred their own people. Venezuela has every right to ban this game. Also, for a Venezuelan dictator..there was that two day stay of Pedro Carmona who overturned measures that were voted democratically before the people mobilized and help put Chavez back in power. Venezuela may be the most democratic country in Latin America. In Venezuela, the President and any elected official can be recalled halfway through their terms. Even laws can be overturned by popular referendum. Communical councils are also helping the democratic process. The true problem with Venezuela is the opposition, who are a bunch of leeches. They seek to remove Chavez with any means necessary, but their efforts have backfired badly. Chavez is also mopping the floor with Bush in the region. Leaders allied to Chavez such as Morales in Boliva, Ortega (return of the Sandinistas) in Nicaragua, and Correa in Ecuador have won the presidencies. Argentina, Brazil, and Chile are Chavez allies and even Paraguay's right wing leader has defended Chavez. Guatemala, after the next election, could go from a stong Bush ally to a strong Chavez ally and it should. Those calling Chavez a dictator or a tryant are either misinformed or are ignorant idiots. He has won a series of landslide victories including last years 63-37 drubbing of coup backer Manuel Rosales.

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

"And third, Hugo Chavez started this whole thing not us. If you read the news that's all he talks about is bashing the president, I mean doesn't he have anything else to worry about instead of acting like a three year old name calling jerk-wad?" Wrong....Bush backed the coup in 2002 that briefly overthrew Chavez until the people put him back in power. The name calling started after that.

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

"Venzuela has rampant crime, failing economic infrastructure and rampant poverty, most of which the results of his naive experimentation with socialism, something you'd think the past 5 decades would show to be an utter failure (unless of course you are in charge; chavez, castro, stalin and others all have done quite well by socialism)." Crime is high..but Chavez and Venezuela are riding on an economic boom. Inflation while high is down, unemployment is down, wages are way up, poverty is down, consumption is up, and production has risen under Chavez. Chavez won 63% of the vote last year because the majority of Venezulans think he made their lives better.

texasgoldrush
texasgoldrush

"Secondly, as america's dejectors abroad are so fond of bringing up, the US does have its share of skeletons in the closet. What these people are missing unfortunately is that everyone else does too, and the overwhelming majority have a lot more that the US does." Not true...its true we didn't do most of the killing, but we strongly supported dictators who committed genocidial acts such as Pol Pot in Cambodia, Suharto against East Timor, and Saddam on the Kurds for example. We assisted in Operation Condor in South America in the 70's in which we helped dictators find dissidents, who were then tortured and executed. We also assisted terrorist groups in Central America and murdered 100+ panamese in the 80's.

Umbrellajunkie
Umbrellajunkie

If this game doesn't get released because the government of a well established and major country can't handle a little video game, I think we should send a petition to the United States government calling for the immediate invasion of Venezuela.