Venezuelan Group Celebrates Delayed Release, Changes to Mercs 2

October 3, 2007 -

A group calling itself the Venezuela Solidarity Network has issued a press release celebrating news that Pandemic's Mercenaries 2: World in Flames has been pushed from EA's holiday release schedule.

According to the GameStop website, Mercs 2 is now set for a February, 2008 launch.

In March, the VSN petitioned Bono, a major Pandemic investor, to block release of Mercs 2, claiming it would deepen existing tensions between the U.S. and Venezuelan governments. Said Gunnar Gundersen, who coordinated the protest:
 

I wouldn’t want my sons to buy it and blow up neighborhoods that we can clearly recognize where their cousins, aunts and uncles live.  Still, at least the villain is no longer a Hugo Chavez look alike and the story line no longer mirrors actual international politics.


Chuck Kaufman, another spokesman for the group, added:


 

At least no kid will be fooled into thinking he’s learning something about the real world. However, the game is still incredibly violent and romanticizes mercenaries who, as we are seeing with the Blackwater scandal in Iraq, are not proper role models for children.


The VSN also claimed that Pandemic changed the game's story line in response to pressure from a variety of organizations. Marie Dennis, of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, said:
 

Bono never responded directly, but apparently our point hit home that financing a violent video game that targets a government already targeted by the Bush administration is counter to the reputation as a humanitarian that he has earned with his work on AIDS in Africa and debt relief.  Pandemics began to change the story line soon after our letter was delivered.


Activist Jorge Marin added:
 

This isn’t a victory because Bono and Pandemics are still telling kids it’s okay to attack my home country, but it is progress and it wouldn’t have happened without public pressure.

Comments

@Black Ice
Hugo Chavez= Hitlery Clinton.

Fixed your math buddy.

See, Hugo has been 'nationalizing' TV stations. What this means to you and me is that the TV station belongs to the government.

Once he owns it, he shuts it down. One less voice, on less viewpoint.

Afterthought:

No offense mate, just hate the US Government. And Capitalism. And all right-wing politics for that matter.

kurisu7885 Says:

"What do you expect them to change it to, the mercenary prancing around and giving everyone a flower to stop fighting?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDSA_revolution

Hey, it sometimes happens.

Seriously though, the VSN's getting pretty melodramatic over this whole thing.

This is just silly. Now we're letting other countries dictate what we can and cannot produce in our media. GG Pandemic.

NOT FOR FUCKING CHILDREN!!!!

How many times must this be said?! Games like these are not for children! Stop pulling the child card!

True, but I can see where the anger is from. Not every country likes being the bad guy. In fact, most countries don't like being the bad guy.

I mean, heck. America doesn't like it when there's a movie from another that makes America look like the bad guy.

"This isn’t a victory because Bono and Pandemics are still telling kids it’s okay to attack my home country..."

Ummmm... Really? You have a lot of US kids attacking your home country? Wow! Talk about the next generation of warfare!

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

THe other rason they're uneasy because of America's boneheaded decisions lately (especially the Iraq War invasion). They're afraid they might be next on their list.

Yo dumbasses, its a game where you f***ing choose what country you work for and blow up, and its freaking M rating, no matter how long its pending on the rating. Seriously, if you cant handle controlling what your kids play, DONT HAVE KIDS! Honestly, has the word "no" left the language? if so, im gonna have some intersting conversations with some parents...

Wow.
These people are so bad at that glass half full, stopping to smell the roses type thing.

They've got an opportunity to blow up their very own neighborhood, and they complain?
Jeez, I'd pay for a chance to have a go at my own virtual house.

And having a game focused on some obscure Australian town would be a cool up yours to well known places.

Hugo Chavez is an asshole.

As for Bono being a 'humanitiarian' he's just a jackass with a big mouth and money to blow. He's a philanthropist, if anything.

What really pisses me off about this is that we're listening to people like the VSN as to what we should do with our games and when they should be released. Honestly, this is retarded. What's next? CAIR telling us that we can't play Battlefield2?

Somebody, tell the VSN to fuck off, and that Hugo Chavez is creating a new low in rights in that country. (in recent history anyway).

This game will not be for kids damn it, Pandemic is working to make this a "T" rating.

One of the members I know from the Pandemic forums is from Venezuela and he doesn't mind the game taking place there, in fact he's glad that it is.

*Facepalms* GOD I am sick of people assuming that all video games are meant for children. This view of interactive entertainment as a child's hobby is backwards, naive, and just not true. The average gamer is what, now? 25? No people, Pandemic isn't making this for your 10 year old, and if you're letting your 10 year old play it, you shouldn't be the one who has custody of said child, because you're an idiot. Then again, what can we expect of people today? I see parent take their little kids(we're talking like 7, 8 maybe) to R rated movies.

"I wouldn’t want my sons to buy it and blow up neighborhoods that we can clearly recognize where their cousins, aunts and uncles live."

...

If you think this game could convince your sons to "blow up neighborhoods where their cousins, aunts, and uncles live", then you need to lock them the #$%^ up. They clearly already have severe problems.

Not that anyone who needs to hear this reads these forums, but:

VIOLENT GAMES DO NOT CAUSE VIOLENT ACTIONS.

Jesus tapdancing christ, this is not a hard concept to grasp.

I'm pretty sure the release date change has more to do with Halo 3 and polishing, rather than Venezuelan politics.

"At least no kid will be fooled into thinking he’s learning something about the real world. However, the game is still incredibly violent and romanticizes mercenaries who, as we are seeing with the Blackwater scandal in Iraq, are not proper role models for children."

Now that I think about it...

Weren't mercs the first guys to arrive post-Hurricane Katrina to drop off emergency supplies?

By Halo 3, I'm referring to a AAA title blocked up holiday period. A lot of games are being scared into delays, rather than fight the awesome that is the holiday release schedule. Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Orange Box, Mario Galaxy, Smash Brothers, Unreal Tourn. 3, quite a few I'm not mentioning. Mercs 2 will be good, but I wouldn't consider it AAA.

I, too, understand why they are angry. Even though I'm getting tired when I see that kids are still automatically associated to video games, it's the kind of controversies we can easily avoid.

His entire argument is pointless. Good to see you people riled up, though.

He's afraid that this game will foster more ill will between the USA and Venezuela because children will play the game and think it's okay to attack and blow up Venezuela. Now, let's stop right there.

First of all, what could a child do even if this game did instill a deep boiling hatred for Venezuela? I suppose that child could go to his parents and ask them, "Can we invade Venezuela? I hate that place... It can be my birthday and Christmas present! Pleeeeease?"

Secondly, let's say it's not children, let's say it's the actual demographic this game will appeal to, the 18 to 34 year-old majority of gamers. What will they do? A whole lot of nothing. I don't foresee any of us leaping from our couches, ditching the console, and running off to become Mercenaries in some other country.

What else needs to be said?

@Twin-Skies

I only remember Blackwater coming into NO for "enforcement" (quoted because I'm not entirely sure that's the correct term) after the hurricane, but I could be wrong. A quick look on reported media about emergency supplies, I learned that a naval squadron (the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40) getting to NO with supplies within 2 days of the hurricane, which seems like the first time supplies got there:

http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=20175

Feel free to correct me if you have evidence to the contrary.

Oh, and here are some more informations about this Venezuela Group and their campaign :

http://www.vensolidarity.org/Campaigns/index.php
http://www.vensolidarity.org/News/Flack_03_21_07.php
http://www.vensolidarity.org/Campaigns/BonoCampaign.php

In particular, note this quote by Jorge Marin :

"I don't have anything against video games. I just don't think it's good to use real places when you're going to destroy the locations," he said. "There's no reason why they can't make up a name and change the scenery so you can't tell what country it is. Some people think that it's only a game and we shouldn't make a fuss of it, but I think it's important because it's my country. I am a Venezuelan and I care about Venezuela."

So they're not anti-game crusaders. Just people who don't like their country to be targeted even virtually.

As a German, both in blood and on paper, I have to say these people are pretty paranoid. My country is constantly getting hammered in World War 1 and 2 sims, and frankly I love my country, but it's not like it makes a bunch of Americans hate us even more.

These guys kinda remind me of the rebels in Front Mission 4. Wait, they didn't protest that did they? Hmmm, funny that.

As many posters here have pointed out, the game is rated 'M' as in "NOT marketed or sold to children." That defeats that argument. Now, about their claim it will foster hatred toward Venezuela:

While it's true that the U.S. and Venezuela aren't excatly on good terms (though Hugo Chavez seems to be just as much to blame for that as Bush), the same is true for the U.S. and North Korea, and the first Mercenaries game was set there. Was there conflict as a result? No. Is there any hard evidence that the game inflamed tensions between the two nations? No. Of course, South Korea banned the game from shelves, but there was no long-impact on U.S.-N.K. relations.

Once again, IT'S JUST A GAME. It is not going to cause a shift in international politics. It is not going to be a key source of political views for Americans. Ultimatly, it will be seen merely for what it is: An action game set in an exotic location.

Wait wait stop the presses.Bono is telling people to attack their country? Since when has Bono condoned any use of violence? I didn't think he would be stupid enough to fall for this crap that the game is going to train kids to blow up their neighborhoods because they are in a game. They talk about being a positive role modle? What about Hugo Chavez? The man is a psychopathic dictator who rules with an iron fist, censors anything that doesn't agree with his views. He even called this game a training tool for American Children to be brainwashed by Bush so he could send them in and Assassinate him.

Here is a hint to all the morons out there once again protesting in the name of the children. It is rate M, M does not stand for monkeys it stand for MATURE. Not for children, but being the morons most parents are these days they rather try and get a game banned so nobody can play it so the children are safe. You don't like the game don't play it, don't want your kid being "corrupt" by th evil American game company and Bono then don't buy them the game and don't listen to U2. Simple as that.

Mercs 2 is T rated not M rated.

I accept that i'm no role model for children, No-one who fires guns should be, but Mercs 2 is not telling kids to attack Venezuala. Isn't now, wasn't then.

This is just a case of being too close for comfort. The same thing happened with Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, and Mexico's government got a little worried that they're featured in a war zone, even if it's set a couple years in the future. Even with GTA San Andreas, a gamer wrote a letter to a gaming magazine, explaining his initial discomfort when he first fired up the game and was put in the gang-baning zones of Los Santos. He grew up in some bad parts of LA, by the way.

There will always be a small part of the population that would be knee-deep in a real-life situation represented in these sorts of games.

It's different with Germany, because when we attack Germany in those WWII games we attack Nazis, not today's Germans.

Pandemics began to change the story line soon after our letter was delivered.

So in other words, Pandemic was planning to change the game for a while, and you're letter was not responsible.

Stealing credit FTW!

Anyone know what was actually changed?

This was apparently speculated by EBGames last month, they moved the release date to April 08, but EA insisted at the time it was still on track for a holiday release.

http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/817/817560p1.html

Here's the gamespot linkie:

http://www.gamespot.com/news/6179806.html?sid=6179806&part=rss&subj=6179806

"We're not adding new features or content at this point," said the Pandemic official. "We are using the extra time to make sure that the game is 100 percent polished and truly shines as the best next-gen, open-world experience on any gaming system to date."

Sounds like they just don't want to compete with Halo3...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@JustChris

Except the germans want us to think we're attacking them, not Nazis.

Strange really.

The setting in Mercs just a vehicle to string together a bunch of gameplay. They weren't writing a game to make some kind of political statement, but end up making and infantile one anyway. It was either stupid or smarmy and in either case insensitive to ape a real world situation that many people have strong feelings about for something that is essentially optional to enjoying the game. If they are not going to take an impartial point of view and try to realistically examine some aspect of the situation, it cheapens their game.

Do we have clarification from Pandemic they indeed are making these changes or are just just claiming it? Last I heard they were delaying it to make it play better.

this discussion is so clearly not a discussion because WE(gamers) are just right!,
you say that it is wrong to shoot at real world buildings and shoot people

First: what does it matters if you shoot a real world building in a game? although there might be people in it WHICH BTW DONT LIVE IN REAL LIVE so that doesnt matter,
And second: YOU CAN CHOOSE WHO YOU WORK FOR!!! so mothers and fathers dont be afraid that your kid's gonna shoot venezualians because there probably gonna shoot at americans while they work for the venezualians

and btw its just a game, you people whine too much really

@JustChris

I totally agree with that. Can't blame someone for feeling antsy when the locale directly relates to their own life. But if there's a real agenda behind a game using a specific location or group of people, not only is it usually clear-cut, it's more or less advertised to the buyer.

Resistance Records makes no qualms about the fact that their piles of crap like Ethnic Cleansing are made to promote violence towards a group of people. And there's a pretty clear line between a game like that, and a game that's just presenting a work of fiction with elements similar to real life (which is was Merc 2 is doing).

And, that goes back to the point of this game being for an older audience that can tell the difference between the two and so on.

AIDS... debt relief... video games... Boy, isn't Bono somebody to truly admire.

I agree with Austin. He's a philanthropist that gives money and a speech now and then. Nothing wrong with doing that, but I wouldn't run to him the moment I've got a problem.

I seriously doubt it was delayed because of all this venezuela stuff... it's a big game and they are almost always delayed.

@Austin Lewis

Hugo Chavez> Any Republican or Democrat you can put forward.

When it comes to Anti-US countries, I look at everything.

When artistic censorship wins, everyone loses.

"This isn’t a victory because Bono and Pandemics are still telling kids it’s okay to attack my home country,"

No they are not you idiot, the hero in the game is trying to overthrow a militaristic dictator, and, guess what, DEEDEEDEEEEEEE, in a military operation, things blow up. What do you expect them to change it to, the mercenary prancing around and giving everyone a flower to stop fighting?

This group is from Venezuela, whose president is an anti free speech person. What else would we expect?

Anti-Free Speech person... Riight... Read up on the 2002 Coup D'Etat against him. Then tell me that he's the only one.

Note that the fact that it was proven to be US backed. That's real high-ground you've got there..

Deal with your government first, then worry about Chavez.

We need an Edit Button.. I'd take up so much less space for my.. controversy... that way.

Anyway, after that, look up the War On Democracy. It's a John Pilger film.

Yes. Happened in South America once or twice. Can't remember which country, but it had a US backed Coup.

Could even have been Venezuala.

Woah woah woah. Hang on a second. The only proof I see is that EA is pushing back the release day. I see nothing about storyline changes? Where the hell are they pulling this from? I say, ignore these idiots until we got some proof. THEN we get pissed off. For now, i call lying-in-a-failed-attempt-to-make-them-think-they're-doing-something.

BlackIce, Leftie

If you think Chavez is pro free speech, why is he now socializing the press? Why, for the love of coffee, would the government need to be in charge of the press? To legislate free speech?

And, why has he modified the article (Article 230) in their constitution, removing term limits for a president?

I honestly don't know the answers to these questions, and welcome the answers if you can provide them. But to hate America's government, and loathe capitalism... well, I guess you hate freedom.

Further, so what if any action against Hugo Chavez was US backed? Would you sit back and relax if your neighbor was constantly preaching the downfall of you and your family? Would you sit back and relax if your neighbor colluded with Iran, Cuba and North Korea by having "We hate you" parties? I would hope that you would also do whatever is necessary to protect yourself. Regardless of how successful.

But I digress. I have no problem with you having your own opinion, even if I disagree with it. Just wanted to pose a few questions and stuff while I'm waiting for my drywall mud to dry enough to sand...

"I wouldn’t want my sons to buy it and blow up neighborhoods that we can clearly recognize where their cousins, aunts and uncles live. Still, at least the villain is no longer a Hugo Chavez look alike and the story line no longer mirrors actual international politics"


Wait! Huh! Ok so do they think that if they blow up the "pixelated neighborhoods" that it will then blow up the "real neighborhood"

*shakes head* can we send all the stupid people to mars??

As to their concern about real neighborhoods, this is present in plenty of game set in the US and UK. People like blowing up their own neighborhoods, it seems. Americans won't know how accurate the recreation is, so I would assume any attempts at geographical accuracy are largely for the benefit of the locals.

I hope Chewbacca is a secret character this time.

Activist Jorge Marin added:

"This isn’t a victory because Bono and Pandemics are still telling kids it’s okay to attack my home country, but it is progress and it wouldn’t have happened without public pressure."

Um...Hugo Chavez has gone on record saying things like this:

""The imperialist, mass murdering, fascist attitude of the president of the United States doesn't have limits. I think Hitler could be a nursery baby next to George W Bush."

SOURCE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6572615.stm

I'm not exactly a Bush fan but I don't hate him either. He certantly hasnt done anything that would warrent him a comparison to the man who commanded death to the jews and almost acctually did it.

I bet people like Chavez and his officals would have no problem if the enemy in the game was Bush and the area was very similar to the United States....douche bags.

Has anyone bothered to contact Pandemic or EA to see if this is actually in response to the VSN petition and not just a coinicidence of development delay that the VSN is taking credit for?

@ BlackIce, Leftie
He shut down RCTV because they were opposed to him. Tell me that isn't an act against freedom of speech.
 
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