Now this is odd, because normally video games “inspire” crazy people to do crazier things after the game is actually out. In this case, Rainbow 6: Patriots hasn’t even been released and it’s already being blamed for murder and terrorist plots to kill the American president. We’re not kidding.
A “home-grown” American terrorist group known as “Forever Enduring Always Ready” (or FEAR – so lame) has been arrested and charged with murder and “criminal gang activity”. The terrorist group’s leader used a gaming publication’s preview article on Ubisoft’s upcoming Rainbow 6: Patriots as a litmus test for recruiting organisation members.
Apparently FEAR’s leader, Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, presented the magazine article to individuals; if they reacted positively to the concept of a home-grown terrorist organisation destroying America from the inside (the overall premise of Ubisoft’s game), then he would ask them to join his cause. The bulk of FEAR’s members are ex US military soldiers, which is another parallel that this real-life group shares with the game: Patriots’ fictional terrorist group is called The True Patriots, and it’s made up of ex-military types who’ve grown disenamoured with the US government.
It sounds completely crazy, but the group had a whole lot of terrorist plans including the bombing of various public areas, taking over Fort Stewart military base and assassinating the American president.
On top of intent to commit terrorist actions, four of the members of the group are being charged with the murder of Michael Roark and his girlfriend, Tiffany York. Roark was a member of FEAR, but the group murdered him and his girlfriend because they believed that the couple were planning to leave the group.
Ubisoft’s premise is pretty edgy to begin with. When I flew over to Canada to cover the game’s unveiling, I remember one of the journalists asking the game’s creative director David Sears whether he thought the plot would cause a backlash amongst the American people. Sears is no longer part of the project, but at the time he said that the notion of an internal terrorist threat was at the forefront of the American people’s mind. This was also during the time that the Occupy Wall Street movement was gaining momentum; internal upheaval and civil unrest was a current topic.
Obviously, FEAR is no longer a threat as their members have been arrested and will likely spend the rest of their lives in prison.