In a surprising turn of events, development has ceased on Rendition: Guantanamo, apparently forever.
The sudden announcement was made earlier today by Scottish firm T-Enterprise and comes following a day of backlash in the wake of media reports about the alleged terrorist background of Moazzam Begg (left), a key consultant to the project.
In a statement released earlier today, T-Eterprise director Zarrar Chishti blamed press coverage by U.S. media:
Unfortunately, much of the speculation regarding the game itself made by various publications and websites has been inaccurate and ill informed... [The game] was never designed to be “propaganda” or “a recruiting tool for terrorism”. Neither was it designed to glamorise terrorism as has been reported.
First and foremost, the main character was NOT Moazzam Begg... T-Enterprise is against all forms of terrorism... Furthermore, Guantanamo was to be a mercenary run institution and so there would have been NO American military personnel killed within the game...
I would now like to refute all suggestions that the game was in any way linked to Al Qaeda. T-Enterprise has never had and would never have a link to Al Qaeda in any way, shape or form... The game was simply designed to be an action video game that adults could enjoy.
However, as a direct result of the extreme reaction that the game and its popular misconceptions have provoked, T-Enterprise has decided to pull out of the project and will not be completing Rendition: Guantanamo.
Damaging press coverage included a blog post by Tom Joscelyn of the conservative Weekly Standard which indicated that Moazzam Begg had strong ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The publication referred to Rendition: Guantanamo as "Al Qaeda's Xbox Fantasy Game."
Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh also attacked Rendition: Guantanamo yesterday on his radio program, calling the game "disgusting." Noting that Rendition: Guantanamo was being developed for the Xbox 360, Limbaugh linked Microsoft to the project:
This is something that Bill and Melinda Gates -- they have their Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and so forth -- they should be made aware and held accountable if this is something they allow to go forward. Military families all over the country are just going to be outraged by this. They have risked their lives to capture these terrorists, and the game dishonors the sacrifice that they've made for our country.
The game is obviously political... it's a game played from the standpoint of a detainee and how unfair he's treated and how hopeless his life is and all is lost unless he can escape. There's already a firestorm of conversation about this that's percolating out there now.