P.M.C. Blackwater Has a Game

You too can pretend to be a pretend Soldier with no respect for the Laws of War.

Blackwater. The name brings out mixed feelings within the military. Some love the high paying career field as a professional mercenary, I mean “contractor.” But a lot of us hate them with a passion. Not only do contractors get paid several times more in a few months that we get paid all year, they are a thorn in our side when we trying to win the key terrain of the counter-insurgency fight, the human terrain.

They obey no military chain of command, except for the vague stipulations in their contracts with various governments. They flaunt their legal immunity to prosecution. And they had a notorious reputation for extreme violence even in situations that don’t warrant it. They are, in my leftist bias, the ultimate evil of corporate oligarchies. These are the types of people who wipe villages off maps so that someone in a suit somewhere can get his next building project done without negative media. And now they have their own video game and our only consolation is that it is mediocre at best.

When Iraq started to wind down, Blackwater Worldwide founder Erik Prince, knew he had a PR problem. The Iraqi government wanted his head; his men had been very naughty. To counter that PR and maintain their lucrative government contracts, Prince took a page from the Wall Street playbook and changed the name of the military wing of his enterprise to Xe Services LLC (limited liability being his goal after all) before leaving the company. Blackwater was left as a shell company to promote the brand and attempt to recover some ground public relations wise. The Blackwater video game is the latest attempt.

Taking advantage of the new Kinect craze for the Xbox 360, this game is the first action FPS developed for the Microsoft motion capture controller. The game, like all military shooters, portrays the contractors (Soldiers in the case of most games) in a ridiculously positive light. You protect aid works and dignitaries in a fictional African town by dispensing hundreds of rounds into the local population and thus enhancing the local freedom quotient of the surrounding region.

So here comes the game to convince their target audience of males such as myself that companies like Blackwater are great and noble endeavors and there is not a whiff of the company’s real actions to be found. Like say arming terrorist organizations, being hired by intelligence agencies for the odd bit of wet work, operating in countries that their client nation wants hit but doesn’t want the flak, giving some shooters inadequate training for what they face, shooting random civilians, operating vehicles without complying with numerous regulations and getting US governmental employees killed in the avoidable crashes that followed, widespread fraud, and hundreds of alleged violations of US law.

The kicker is that Erik Prince is also a Board member of Christian Freedom International.

Thanks to the reader who clued me in one this. This game is defiantly NOT on my list of stuff to play when I get home.

(Sources: Kotaku, Wikipedia, Concerned Reader)


  1. says

    Ugh. I need to shower after watching that trailer. I’m one of those military folks who LOATHE Blackwater.

    But then, that trailer should attract the usual Blackwater crowd. People who are more interested in the adrenaline but not the actual aftermath of the events that create that adrenaline.

    • Aliasalpha says

      I’m one of those gamers who loathe the trend of shitty first person shooters that use a known name (usually only a movie licence) as an alternative to creating something playable. I also loathe the tendency to shove gimmicky crap into games that don’t need it. To top it all off I’m not too keen on the idea of mercenaries. Its like the game was specifically designed to not appeal to me.

  2. elmo14 says

    Have you seen the documentary Shadow Company? I would be curious to hear your take if you have. I’m torn on my opinion of PMCs, both lethal and non-lethal. In theory they should be a decent thing in terms of efficiency and giving soldiers pay that they truly deserve, but it seems that in practice there is rampant fraud and corruption and like you said, they are not subject to any legitmate chain of command and get away with using excessive force and – to put it lightly – violations of international and US law.

    • Brownian says

      In theory they should be a decent thing in terms of efficiency and giving soldiers pay that they truly deserve

      Why? In whose theory? Or do I already know the answer?

      • elmo14 says

        Economic theory. Competition between competing firms increasing efficiency. But you know basic economics I’m sure. And in practice the “soldiers” are paid a significant amount of money.

  3. ambulocetacean says

    Do you see Blackwater as being any different to any other company of mercenaries, past or present?

    Do you think being a mercenary is a bad thing? Could being a mercenary on the “right” side of a war be more honorable than being a state soldier on the “wrong” side?

    I’m asking sincerely; not being a smartarse or anything.

    • had3 says

      Well, according to Webster’s, if you join the military primarily as a means of making money; you’re a mercenary. So, yes, our soldiers who joined for that reason would be mercenaries on the “right” side.


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