A local Vietnam veteran is outraged that the makers of a popular video game franchise are using the week of Remembrance Day to launch their newest war-based title.
Call of Duty: Black Ops, the seventh installment in the Call of Duty series, was scheduled to be released Nov. 9, two days before Remembrance Day services. The latest installment will be the first in the franchise’s history to depict the Vietnam War in graphic detail.
Vietnam veteran and East Kildonan resident Ron Parkes said he questions video game publisher Activision’s motives.
"I think it is very tacky to include the distribution of a graphic war-based game like this during a week that we are supposed to be honouring those who have fallen to the conflicts this game depicts," Parkes said.
"Remembrance Day is not a consumer advocate’s day and this company is clearly using the date as a marketing strategy."
Parkes suggested that the game’s publisher should have released the game sooner or waited until after Remembrance Day.
"They could release it two weeks before or two weeks after and I wouldn’t have a problem with it," Parkes said.
"But packaging it in with Remembrance Day shows a lack of respect."
This isn’t the first time veterans have questioned the timing of an Activision release. Last year, the company released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which sold 4.7 million copies worldwide in the first 24 hours following its Nov. 10 release.
An Activision spokesperson declined to comment on the timing of the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Mike Hynes, manager of East Kildonan-based PNP Games, said he isn’t surprised that Activision continues to use a date close to Remembrance Day to release one of its most popular game titles.
"They have been doing this for about four or five years so by now most people know what is going on," he said.
Hynes said he understands why some veterans may be upset by the game’s release date. However, he doesn’t expect that to have an impact on sales of the game.
"We already have pre-sold about 100 copies and that is just at this store," Hynes said. "This game is one of the most anticipated games every year."
Parkes spent a three-month tour of duty in Vietnam in 1965. He said there is no way a video game can accurately depict how devastating war can be.
"War is always a miserable experience and the movies or video games depicting these wars never really do catch how bad it really is," Parkes said.
"War is a whole different scenario then regular life. You live and breath it everyday you are there, and sometimes those memories, good and bad, still catch up to you."