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When Your Video Game Gets You Branded a Spy

A former Rockstar Games developer’s new project about the Iranian Revolution has gotten him labeled a spy.

By Anne Ishii

Evan Narcisse over at gamer blog Kotaku interviews Navid Khonsari about his real-world political action game—set in Iran in 1979, on the eve of the Iranian Revolution—for which a conservative Iranian paper has branded him a spy:

There’s huge ambition driving 1979 and that ambition comes from Khonsari’s belief that mainstream commercial games have a great way of getting their message across, but their stories lack depth. “They’re weak content,” [Khonsari] states. “Audiences are sick of pseudo-worlds; they want real-world places and stories. The things I learned at Rockstar have not left me. I’m trying to carry those lessons on in slightly different ways. So, it’s about creating a level of detail and using it to drive the story and the gameplay.”

And Khonsari doesn’t just want to make one game about the political flashpoints of his homeland, either. Through iNK Stories, he’s hoping to use this documentary-style template for tentatively-titled follow-ups 1982 El Salvador1988 Panama1992 Liberia and 1995 Bosnia. The plan is to have all these games come from personal experience.

Flag this guy. For awesomeness.