In 2009, the world’s largest mercenary army Blackwater changed its name to Xe in a bid to rehabilitate its public image. Now, the latest entry to rehabilitate Blackwater’s image comes in an unlikely form: a first-person shooter video game. Blackwater founder Erik Prince has teamed up with Zombie Studios — the developers of Blacklight: Tango Down, which scored at an abysmal 60.24 percent on video game review aggregator Gamerankings.com — to develop an Xbox 360 Kinect game called Blackwater where players can be a Blackwater mercenary in the midst of a civil war in a North African town.
With the Kinect accessory to the Xbox 360, players use their full bodies in front of a motion-detecting camera to control the game. Because the game is Kinect-exclusive, that means that the only way players will be able to take part in the experience is to physically behave as if they are Xe mercenaries — they can’t just hold controllers. CNN interviewed Prince about the game and asked him about how he thinks the game will appeal to gamers. Prince said the “excitement and realism” would be the main draws as well as the “fun”:
CNN: How do you think the Blackwater brand will appeal to the gaming demographic?
Prince: I believe “Blackwater” will have a unique appeal to gamers, particularly on the Kinect platform. The physical, visual and virtual feel of participating in a mission brings a level of excitement and realism to the game that is hard to match. And frankly, it’s fun. I think gamers will really enjoy playing the game.
One of the lead designers of the game uploaded a YouTube video to demonstrate how it is played using the player’s whole body. Watch it:
CNN asked Prince if he plays any video games himself. “I’m afraid I don’t have time to play any games these days,” he replied. “I certainly played a lot when I was a kid and I know it helped develop my hand to eye coordination.”
The post had originally incorrectly stated that Prince remained the CEO of Xe. He sold Xe off in December 2010 but has retained the right to use the Blackwater brand. Xe is not affiliated with the game.