When it was first released, the orignal Mercenaries was banned in South Korea because of the tensions between the southern and the northern territories, meaning that any media showing conflict between the two was deemed illegal. Now with Mercenaries 2, the game faces another country with its panties in a twist. We caught up with senior producer Jonathan Zamkoff to get his thoughts.
So Jonathan, with the game being set in Venezuela, didn’t you cause a bit of GTA-style storm with the authorities over there?
JZ: Rubbish! We’re a work of creative fiction. We’d be doing the same thing if we hadn’t had any of the controversy. Our Venezuela is a fictitious place. There's a degree of poetic license involved. We have some names of the actual cities, but it’s not going for a realistic feel. We’re over the top on the action - it’s almost ridiculous at times what we do.
We’re not trying to cause controversy; we’re not a blood and guts game, we’re not doing anything horrifically violent. It’s big explosions, but it’s not violence for violence sake, we’re just not trying to create that kind of controversy, we’re not trying to get into the M rated realm.
I think rightfully so, there’s a government in Venezuela and they’re having their moment right now in general. They’re in the news a lot - and for them, it’s kind of cool to make these ridiculous statements, but we have no animosity for the people of Venezuela, it just happens to be a setting that we think is cool.
Above: All images are from the PS3 version
You’re really pushing the co-op aspect of the game - but how important is it to Mercenaries 2?
JZ: Critical. It’s one of the features that’s just untouchable in the game. We have to make it work, it has to be great and we have to make it balanced, so that another player can hop in and out and it feels like the difficulty has been tweaked.