Destineer teams with CIA-funded In-Q-Tel

Close Combat developer lands deal to create training sims for US gov't; Destineer pres tells us what he can.

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Minneapolis-based developer and publisher Destineer today said it has signed a "strategic development agreement" with In-Q-Tel, a business enterprise funded by the Central Intelligence Agency. However, this isn't the first time the game company has worked with an arm of the federal government.

Destineer's first internally developed game, Close Combat: First to Fight, was created with the help of the US Marines. Some levels of the project flowed back to the Marines for training purposes, while other components went into the creation of the commercial game.

Interestingly, In-Q-Tel president and CEO Gilman Louie is the former CEO of the now-defunct Spectrum HoloByte and MicroProse. In-Q-Tel, founded in 1999, is a private, nonprofit enterprise backed by the Central Intelligence Agency. According to Louie, it operates with a mandate to "identify and invest in cutting-edge technology solutions that serve US national security interests."

GameSpot spoke with Destineer president Peter Tamte to see what more could be told about the Destineer/In-Q-Tel deal.

GameSpot: Can you explain how this latest deal with In-Q-Tel supports Destineer’s business model?

Peter Tamte: It's all about making games that give players authentic insight into certain people's dangerous lives. We're trying to give players the opportunity to live the experiences of people they've so far only been able to read about or see on TV or in movies--and know that what they're experiencing in the video game is the real thing.

GS: Destineer has found a niche working closely with the military community on the development of training simulations. Why do you feel Destineer has been so successful in this area, and how do you see your relationship with the intelligence community unfolding?

PT: We're able to leverage the huge investment we make in commercial video games to build training systems that are far more effective than our government has been getting in the past, while at the same time, getting unique subject matter expertise from these government customers that we use to make our commercial video games more authentic. It's a great deal. Taxpayers save money, and game players get authentic experiences.

GS: Can you go into any further detail about what exactly Destineer will be creating for the intelligence community?

PT: Destineer's first internally developed game, Close Combat: First to Fight, is an example of the way we create both commercial video games and training simulations. The United States Marine Corps sent us more than 40 Marines just back from combat in Iraq to help us make First to Fight. They taught us how they fight, how their enemies fight, what it sounds like to get shot at, and a whole lot more. Then, we built some training simulations for them, as well as a commercial video game for sale around the world. Tens of thousands of Marines will get access to their specially created training simulations this summer, and hundreds of thousands of gamers have already purchased the commercial version of First to Fight.

GS: Will your upcoming work for the intelligence community find its way into a retail game one day?

PT: Absolutely. In fact, since we're now working with many agencies within the intelligence community, we expect this work will result in many different retail games.

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