Activision Defends Oliver North in Black Ops 2

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Activision Defends Oliver North in Black Ops 2


Activision says it "made sense" to use the Iran-Contra colonel as a consultant on the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Oliver North is a polarizing figure, to put it very mildly. Back in the 80s, he was the face of the Iran-Contra scandal, an unprecedented political disaster in which the United States was busted selling weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages and then funneling the money to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. President Ronald Reagan rather improbably denied knowing anything and while several officials with his administration were eventually indicted and convicted of various charges (which were later vacated or pardoned), it was Lt. Colonel Oliver North, who steadfastly refused to roll over on anyone, who became the face of the affair.

He's a hero to some and a traitor to others, but either way he's also a consultant on the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and that apparently has some people in a knot. Activision says his participation only makes sense, however, because like him or not, he was a central figure in the real black ops community.

"When we create the fictions that we create, we do a bunch of research and try to talk to subject matter experts on it. And part of that research is reading and watching documentaries and movies and everything else," Treyarch studio boss Mark Lamia told Kotaku. "[North] rises to the top as someone who was probably, obviously the most well-known covert operations [person]. So it made sense for us from a game development point of view to spend the time and be able to talk to [him]."

"We're not trying to make a political statement with our game. We're trying to make a piece of art and entertainment," he continued. "If you're trying to create that fiction, for us to have met with him as we're creating our fiction is totally appropriate."

I would have to agree. North may or may not have broken a whole pile of laws, but his real crime was simply that he got caught. It sounds cynical, but the fact is that governments do unsavory things all the time; we just happen to live in such a "reality"-obsessed culture that those deeds become entertainment fodder faster than ever before. If Treyarch is building a game around the real-life black ops world of the 1980s, and one of the central players from that period is willing to offer insight into it, it would be foolish not to take advantage.

Interestingly, Lt. Col. Hank Keirsey, the military advisor on the Call of Duty franchise since the 2004 release of United Offensive [http://www.amazon.com/Call-Duty-United-Offensive-Expansion-Pc/dp/B0002V3CPW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337967427&sr=8-1], briefly stepped up to defend North before being shut down by an Activision public relations rep. Suggesting that modern gamers likely consider North a traitor simply because he's on Fox News, Keirsey said, "Do they know what he really did? I guess I'm out of line even coming into the interview, but the man was involved in a crux of history..." at which point he was "waved off" by the PR guy and left the room.

A polarizing figure indeed. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 [http://www.amazon.com/Call-Duty-Black-Ops-II-Pc/dp/B007XVTR12/ref=sr_tr_sr_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337967378&sr=8-1] comes out on November 13 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Source: Kotaku [http://kotaku.com/5913092/call-of-duty-makers-say-controversial-oliver-north-helped-make-their-game-more-authentic]


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RaNDM G

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Doesn't really bother me. If anyone knows how to make a good espionage story, it would be this guy.
 

tmande2nd

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Why not hire an expert in what happened?

Sure he did something wrong, but he probably knows more than a great many people about this.
Also LOL the "enter the following" thing is SAVE FACE for me.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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Activision are still idiots for using the guy though; there are TONS of special ops they could have consulted, but instead they bring on THIS whackjob? They're just using North to get attention, like a child who draws graffiti on the wallpaper.
 

WanderingFool

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Okay, is it okay that I have a slight migrain after reading Activisions defense, and it makes sense?

Aiddon said:
Activision are still idiots for using the guy though; there are TONS of special ops they could have consulted, but instead they bring on THIS whackjob?
What makes this guy a whackjob though? What he was doing? As said in the article, it was only bad because he got caught. Hell, this is probably minor compared to some of the shit the US government had done that we dont know about.

Does that mean Im going to defend this guy, hell no, but im not going to pretend that he's the devil.
 

Ragsnstitches

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Bullshit Activision. You are constantly scavenging for controversy.

2 things I think need to be asked:

*Why couldn't you get a Spec Ops who hasn't been disgraced and hasn't got a buttload of controversy surrounding him?

*Even if he's your source for all things black ops, why didn't you just keep him at that level. WHY DID YOU THROW HIM INTO THE MARKETING ASPECT AS WELL?

This reeks of commercialism, hoping to stir up a hornets nest of free advertisement. Stop defending it like its an aspect of integrity. It isn't...
 

Mischlings

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Using him as a consultant? That's perfectly understandable and doesn't really have any real problems with it -- he really would know his stuff and would be a great source of information.

Now, using him in commercials trying to sell the game? That's when you start with the possibly unfortunate implications...
 

KeyMaster45

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Don't know who he is, don't really care who he is, and I give even less of a shit about his past. He's an old bastard likely to die in a few years anyway, if we can pick his brain for some historical insight before that time then I say let's do it. The people on their moral crusade over a long dead and forgotten issue are just getting angry for the sake of it it would seem.
 

Ragsnstitches

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Scrumpmonkey said:
Maybe this clears things up a bit :p

Golden... and informative, if the blatant satire doesn't blow over you that is.

KeyMaster45 said:
Don't know who he is, don't really care who he is, and I give even less of a shit about his past. He's an old bastard likely to die in a few years anyway, if we can pick his brain for some historical insight before that time then I say let's do it. The people on their moral crusade over a long dead and forgotten are just getting angry for the sake of it it would seem.
Thats all well and good, in fact I couldn't give a shit if he was the director of their games. However, what has putting his ass in front of a camera to advertise a game got to do with historical insight?

EDIT: ALSO... LONG DEAD? Blood is still been shed because of what he has done.

Clarification: Not literally because of what he did, but his actions are still a contribution to a vile military campaign and an entire countries suffering. He also gave weapons to Iran... yeah.
 

Orange12345

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wait, if hes the most well known covert ops figure doesn't that make him the worst covert "operator" (is that the right word?)
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
At the very least, it was his funding that allowed them to go round burning down villages, raping women and children, killing innocent civilians, and capturing and torturing whoever they felt like.
You mean like in Vietnam? Or in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I'm not saying that North was "right," just that what he did was no more than a fairly conventional application of foreign policy. He just happened to get caught with his dick in the jar. And in the eyes of the law, he did his time.

I think it's also little disingenuous to suggest that he was somehow a lone gunman in all this.

This is no different than if Dice, ahead of their next Battlefield game, were to go "We really wanted to know what the experience of fighting insurgents is like in Afghanistan... so we invited several key members of the Taliban to come and advise us on what sort of missions they do, insurgency tactics, etc."
But isn't that exactly what what Atomic did with Six Days in Fallujah - which many gamers defended against the backlash from "outside the community?"
 

RaikuFA

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j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
WanderingFool said:
Okay, is it okay that I have a slight migrain after reading Activisions defense, and it makes sense?

Aiddon said:
Activision are still idiots for using the guy though; there are TONS of special ops they could have consulted, but instead they bring on THIS whackjob?
What makes this guy a whackjob though? What he was doing? As said in the article, it was only bad because he got caught. Hell, this is probably minor compared to some of the shit the US government had done that we dont know about.
Do you know anything about the Contra scandal? This wasn't just your usual political scandal. This was the US being caught actively supporting a rebel movement that habitually used murder, torture, rape and imprisonment of civilians as tactics for their cause. They were also heavily involved in drug trafficking. And they did this by selling weapons to the Ayotollah of Iran who, need I remind you, are a bunch of whackjobs and nutters themselves.

This is no different than if the US were found to be sending money to South American drug criminals, by selling weapons to the Taliban. That's the level of fucked up that the Iran/Contra affair reached, and this guy North was behind it. Anyone who is responsible for the rape and torture of the people of an entire nation deserves to rot in jail, not get paid to develop videogames.
Pretty much this. Also, if you don't know about the Ayotollah, think Saddam in the 80's.

Trivia; I was born around the time of the trial.
 

KeyMaster45

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Jun 16, 2008
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j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
Grats dude, you've established that we all understand that he is a very bad man. I also imagine this fact was established way back in the 80's when it all happened. It happened, the country got pissed at how the government handled it and we moved on. Getting so angry about it 30 years plus down the line does nothing productive for anyone.