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Rainbow Six Vegas

Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

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Las Vegas Mayor Wants To Stop 'Rainbow Six Vegas'

by Rainier on July 15, 2006 @ 5:00 a.m. PDT

Rainbow operatives take to the chaotic streets of Las Vegas as an escalating terrorist siege in “Sin City” threatens to take world terrorism to new, uncontrollable heights. The future of global security hangs in the balance as you battle to defend classic Vegas locations and environments like Fremont Street, the Strip, and casinos.

"It could be harmful economically, and it may be something that's not entitled to free speech (protection)," Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said of the game's realistic scenes, which he had not personally viewed.

"It's based on a false premise," Goodman said, adding federal and state leaders have repeatedly assured him that Las Vegas is "the safest place imaginable" nearly five years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the East Coast.

"I will ask ... whether or not we can stop it," Goodman said of the game's planned November release.

Sheriff Bill Young questioned the wisdom of showcasing terrorists in this city's bustling tourist corridor.

"It's unfortunate that we're the backdrop for a lot of stuff because of our profile," Young said of Las Vegas. "I'm not a big believer on pushing violence on young people anymore, particularly the more-realistic stuff that's coming out today."

As a child, Young said he and his friends played "cops and robbers" and other imagination-based activities.

"But now it's gone to terrorism, and (video games) make it so realistic. ... I just wonder about bombarding young people's senses with this type of violence," said Young, whose department is dealing with the effects of 19 officer-involved shootings this year, including one that killed a 31-year-old man before scores of Strip visitors on Independence Day.

Las Vegas' high-profile status has long drawn media attention, often showcasing dangerous actions. Frank Sinatra's 1960 caper "Ocean's Eleven" was based on casino robberies, while the 1971's James Bond flick "Diamonds Are Forever" included a Fremont Street car chase.

A plane slammed into the Hard Rock Hotel in 1997's "Con Air," and CBS' hit series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" offers up a new Las Vegas murder each week. The Stratosphere tower even exploded in "Domino," a Keira Knightley film released in the fall.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will spend nearly $120 million over the next 12 months marketing and advertising the area as a fun adult getaway. That effort helps make the area one of the world's most-recognized locales, for better or worse.

"I'm confident that the general public can distinguish between what's reality and what's fiction," authority spokesman Vince Alberta said. Nevertheless, Alberta said Goodman has asked the authority's legal team to look into whether the game infringes on any Las Vegas trademarks.

Local casino companies will also monitor "Rainbow Six Vegas" closely.

MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said the company was unaware of the game until contacted by the Review-Journal Friday. Company officials will investigate the game's content, and take legal action "should we determine that our trademarks or copyrights have been violated."

Boyd Gaming Corp. wished Ubisoft had tabbed another city for the game's setting, said spokesman Rob Stillwell.

"We go to great lengths to present this as a safe and secure destination," he said. "To the extent that this portrays our destination as an unsafe place to visit, it's concerning."

Ubisoft, a French video game maker, has high hopes for the fifth title in its popular "Rainbow Six" series. The story centers on "an escalating terrorist siege in "Sin City" that threatens to take world terrorism to new heights."

Some Las Vegas icons were altered -- Bellagio's sign reads "Villagio," for example -- while others were made up altogether, including the nonexistent Calypso hotel.

But many local elements are precisely detailed, from Fremont Street's lighted canopy to the replica Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas.

"You will find lots of details about (Fremont) Street in the game," a Ubisoft artistic director wrote on a Web log detailing the game's creation. "In truth all the casinos, hotels -- lets face it, the whole damn city -- are magnificent and really absorbing to create in-game. We were so inspired we wanted to create the entire town to the finest details!"

Ubisoft's game designers set the game here to better showcase new technologies that allow for sharper-than-ever images, said Tim Cummins, Ubisoft's San Francisco-based corporate spokesman. Game designers toured the town to ensure their re-creations were authentic.

"Las Vegas might be the perfect location to show off next-generation console technology," Cummins said. "Not only is it a world-famous and recognizable city, it is iconic, action-packed and completely unpredictable."

Cummins did not respond to questions on local leaders' objections to the game.

But Liping Cai, director of the tourism and hospitality research center at Purdue University, said a video game-themed terror attack should have little short-term impact on people's willingness to travel here.

"However, if that video game becomes so popular that a whole generation is educated on that image, it will" affect people's perception of whether this is a safe destination, he said.

Branding expert Rob Frankel also doubts "Rainbow Six Vegas" will deter people from traveling here.

"I don't think it hurts Las Vegas at all," Frankel said. "If anything, it's going to come across as the unfortunate victim of the video game company."

Controversy surrounding the game, Frankel said, could hurt Ubisoft, much like recent criticism of Rockstar Games' popular -- but equally detested -- "Grand Theft Auto" video game series.

"The guys who are in for a lot of heat are the developers of the game," Frankel said. "We're starting to get to the point where people have had enough" of violent images.

(Source: Reviewjournal)

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