Left Behind Games Inc., the company that released the controversial Christian video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces, has intentions to sell their divisive game in a new market - Asia.
To help in the expansion, they have hired a consultant, Dr. Gordon Chiu, who has had experience in introducing international brands in the Asia Pacific region.
The gamemakers are marketing the title as a nonviolent alternative to help Asians better communicate with Westerners - a premise that many Christians would agree is false.
"I personally find the unique platform of nonviolence connects very strongly with ancient Asian philosophies," explained Chiu in a statement. "With the upcoming Olympic Games in 2008, everyone is looking for intellectually stimulating products from the United States and Europe that can better prepare them for interaction with Westerners. This particular game has educational benefits to Asian families because they will all want their children to learn about the West without having to engage in violence."
Left Behind: Eternal Forces is a real-time strategy game, much like the popular Warcraft series, that is set in the Tribulation, a period after the rapture when all Christians have been taken to heaven, leaving the earth in chaos. Those that were "left behind" must choose to fight against the Antichrist's army, known as the Global Community Peacekeepers.
The game has been criticized heavily by many in the religious community who reversely say the game is actually violent, and many groups have even imposed boycotts against the product.
"The suggestion that the game is 'non-violent' goes beyond even the claims of its supporters," argued religion and current affairs researcher Richard Bartholomew in his personal blog. "Jerry Jenkins and Jeff Frichner argue that the game's violence should be put in a Biblical context."
In his statement, Chiu expounded on the role that the game will have in China.
"Children are encouraged to play video games such as World of Warcraft and other Western games to increase their competency toward Western thought and strategy," the consultant stated. "The very thought of a new game which is nonviolent would be viewed as a significant and necessary educational tool that has excellent entertainment value."
"This way of learning has been very popular in Hong Kong and is termed 'edutainment.'"
With the growing economy in Asia, the game is also coming at an advantageous time.
According to PricewaterhouseCooper's Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2005-2009, the Asia market is projected to grow to $23 billion by 2009.
Chiu also noted the prospect of success in Asia in his statement. He said: "With the movie The Da Vinci Code doing phenomenally in Asia, the game Eternal Forces would be very well received" – a comparison many may find odd since Christians around the globe had strongly protested the fictional film when it first released. Protesters felt that the movie, which suggested that Jesus' had a wife and child, would fool unknowing Christians into a false understanding of the Bible.
Left Behind Games Inc. first began in 2001 to introduce a game series based on the debated Left Behind Books. It has now expanded its selection and its mission is to "become the world's leading independent developer and publisher of quality interactive entertainment products that perpetuate positive values and appeal to mainstream, inspirational and gamer audiences."