The first Left Behind video game has been rated "Teen," which some believe should silence critics who alleged the game was violent.
As more than 10,000 retail locations are expected to carry Left Behind: Eternal Forces, based on the best-selling Left Behind book series about the apocalypse, the Entertainment Software Rating Board rated the upcoming game to be suitable for people ages 13 and older.
"As expected, we have received a Teen Rating, putting all preconceived controversies to rest," said Troy Lyndon, CEO, Left Behind Games Inc., in a released statement. "As we have said all along, it is a game with positive values; there is no blood, no profanity, no gratuitous violence, and no inappropriate content."
Although there is no dismemberment or graphic bloodshed, some Christians had argued that the game has an element of violence that counters teachings of the Bible. But Left Behind Games President Jeffrey Frichner said they're faithful to Scriptures that are in the game.
"What we've decided to do is embed our message in a game so that it's not overt but it is in the game," he said. "We're not ashamed of it. There are Scriptures in the game and we're faithful to those Scriptures."
Frichner and Lyndon expect definite interest in the game which is due out in November.
A Barna Group study had surveyed Left Behind readers, which numbered in excess of 20 million, and found that 72 percent currently play video games and 92 percent intend to buy the Left Behind video game for themselves or a family member.
"Even within the context of a healthy and realistic viewpoint, these survey results indicate definite interest in our products among Left Behind readers," said Lyndon.
Analyst Michael Pachter estimated the game would sell between 250,000 and 1 million units.
Retailers expected to carry the game include Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Circuit City, GameStop, EB Games, EB Canada, CompUSA, Amazon.com, Costco and others.
Left Behind: Eternal Forces is the first title from Left Behind Games. It is a real-time strategy game set in post-Rapture New York City. Players control the Tribulation Force as they attempt to save New Yorkers from the Global Peacekeepers controlled by the Antichrist. The mission of Left Behind Games, founded in October 2001, is to promote faith-based values through quality interactive entertainment products that appeal to mainstream, Christian and gamer audiences.
The Left Behind series of novels, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins and published by Tyndale, has sold more than 63 million copies worldwide.