Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fortress America, causes quite a stir.

Most FFG announcements get very little in the way of public response,k but today the gaming community as a whole has disappointed me. The fluff text for the announcement of the upcoming game remake for Fortress America, was somehow interpreted as being anti-American.

Here is the original supposed anti-American fluff.

“It is the early 21st century. Having suffered a series of devastating terrorist attacks, the U.S. wields a newly developed and horrifyingly destructive weapon technology with desperate fury, lashing out mercilessly at any government suspected of harboring its hidden enemies. Entire nations are erased from the map. The world is stunned by the brutal display. The United Nations attempts to impose punitive economic sanctions on the U.S., but America’s leaders are convinced that they are untouchable, warning that any nation that partakes in such a sanction risks its very existence. Facing few options, an unlikely coalition of nations joins forces to attempt one final plan: the invasion of America.”

First it isn’t all that bad, and personally makes pretty fair sense, being an extrapolation of the worst case scenario growing out of the current political landscape here in the US. It is a sad commentary on Americans that the thought that we could ever be the aggressors in a global conflict, is somehow anti-American blasphemy. Read some history and remember that we we’re once the greatest imperial power in the world, forcing Japan to trade with us at gun point, invading Spanish territory because of rumors and wild theories about sabotage, and we sent an army into sovereign Mexico to chase a small gang of criminals. So, if you think we could never ever be the “bad guys”, you live in a fantasy land.

I’m sad that FFG felt forced to capitulate to rampant ignorance disguised as patriotism, but I understand their position.

Here is the replacement text, which just flips the scenario, and makes everyone else the bag guys, so all you folks can go to sleep feeling smug and superior.

“In the 21st century, the United States unveiled a military defense system that completely changed global politics. Through a series of satellites and powerful lasers, the U.S. gained a flawless defense against intercontinental missile attacks. Misinterpreting the purpose of this defensive network and fearing that it might be used to launch an attack, the world united to demand that the U.S. dismantle it. A lengthy diplomatic stalemate gripped the globe. With the world at a crossroads, coalitions of nations were formed unlike any that had ever existed before. A plan was devised to destroy this perceived technological threat through military action. It involved attacking from three directions at once, for the nations of the world knew that every army dreads fighting a war on two fronts... and America was about to face three.”

Also here is a statement from FFG’s CEO:

This whole deal, I'm afraid, is way overblown and misunderstood. FFG is simply reproducing the classic (and IMO awesome) game from the 80's. Upon announcement, someone at FFG took a stab at dramatically updating the flavor without asking anyone else and without thinking it through. That person has learned something about unintended consequences and remains a valued team member. It happens, it's my responsibility, and I apologize if anyone took offense by that text, or if there is somehow a pretense of "caving" to anything.

This deal, and some of the reactions here, makes me personally sad. I'm an American that grew up in Europe (age 4 to 20), and have spent most of my life trying to facilitate understanding between the two.

It's a game, it's fun, it has a fictional backstory to justify a compelling theme: The defense of the U.S. against a massive onslaught of invaders. I guess the invaders could have been changed to Space Aliens or Zombies, but I think the original FA vision was compelling and is therefore what we'll be proudly releasing. There is no other implied or overt political statement intended.

Peace to all and happy holidays,

Christian T. Petersen

And now just to make sure your good and pissed off at me. Any of you who took offense, or refused to buy the game based on the original fluff text, are what’s wrong with America, and why the rest of the world will continue to find us hateful, arrogant, ignorant, and loathsome people! You are all sad small minded people.