A former Guantanamo “terrorism” detainee who walked away a free man in 2005 will shoot his way out of the U.S. prison in a new Xbox 360 video game based on the camp.
Moazzam Begg, who spent nearly two years in the U.S. detention camp without charges, will play himself in the game, which could rake in £3 million ($5 million).
Rendition: Guantanamo lets players control a detainee trying to shoot his way out, meaning the game's creators needed to know the layout of the prison. Begg has been consulting on the project, under development for more than a year and already drawing fierce criticim.
"We have had a lot of hate mail about this, mainly from America, saying things like, 'Don't dare put out a game that shows them killing our soldiers," Zarrar Chishti, director of Scottish software company T-Enterprise, told the U.K.'s Daily Mail.
"But no U.S. or British soldiers get killed in it. The only ones being killed are mercenaries.
Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani decent who attended a Jewish elementary school, is shown in the game as head of an organization helping the suspect to escape.
We have had a lot of hate mail about this, mainly from America, saying things like, 'Don't dare put out a game that shows them killing our soldiers'
Zarrar Chishti, director
Begg, 40, was taken from his home in Pakistan and turned over to the CIA in Bagrham, Afghanistan for a year before being thrown into Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison camp in 2003 where he spent 20 months in solitary confinement.
He said he was tortured by U.S. personnel before being freed without charge in 2005. He has since become a human rights activist.
Begg told the Sun that he will donate any money he earns from the game to a charity devoted to ensuring the rights of detainees.
“The software firm approached me with the idea for a Guantanamo game. I’m involved to make sure it is as true to life as possible.”
T-Enterprise is reportedly spending £250,000 ($405,000) to produce the game.
The software firm approached me with the idea for a Guantanamo game. I’m involved to make sure it is as true to life as possible
“We checked with police and security services. We didn’t want MI5 knocking our door down,” Chishti told the Sun.
“We are expecting an extreme reaction to the game in the US. But we think it will sell well in the Middle East,” said Chishti.
Xbox 360 sold more than eight million consoles in the Middle East, Africa and Europe last year.
Not all Middle East gamers were convinced, however.
“It will just look like any other game with people killing people,” said UAE gamer Ahmed Baheri.
This is not the first video game inspired by the so-called "war on terror."
Kaboom, a computer game in which players control a suicide bomber trying to kill as many civilians as possible, drew criticism from victims’ groups worldwide and Japanese videogame maker Konami pulled plans for a videogame based on a fierce battle between U.S. Marines and insurgents in the Iraq city of Fallujah.
The Sun said the game was due to go on sale in October but an Xbox customer service representative was unable to confirm the game or its reported release date and the media center was unavailable.
We are expecting an extreme reaction to the game in the US. But we think it will sell well in the Middle East
Zarrar Chishti, director