A NEW video game that “glorifies” the IRA’s bombing campaign for entertainment purposes has been branded “sick” by outraged unionists and has prompted calls for it to be pulled from shelves.
‘Mafia 3’ was released last week on consoles including Playstation 4 and X-Box One, and features a mission in which players steal cars that will be used by bombers in Belfast.
The blockbuster game is developed by US firm 2K Games, and allows players to build their own criminal empire in a fictional version of New Orleans in the late 1960s.
Among the characters players encounter is an Irish mob boss with connections to the IRA.
In a mission titled ‘The IRA Don’t Ask’, the player is ordered to steal cars for “heavyweights” in the republican movement.
Criminal character Thomas Burke, voiced by Irish actor Barry O’Rourke, tells the player the cars needed are top “keep the Belfast law guessing when things go boom”.
Upon completing the mission, the player is told “the brothers back in Belfast appreciate your help”.
Background graffiti in the adults-only game also features anti-unionist graffiti including a defaced Ulster banner.
The game – similar in style to the controversial Grand Theft Auto franchise – is already one of the top selling releases in stores and through online retailers including Amazon.
However, unionists have called for it to be withdrawn immediately.
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he was “very concerned” about the impact the game could have on “impressionable” minds.
“The IRA were a terrorist organisation that murdered very many innocent men, women and children in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK,” he said.
“Whilst this game may seem to be a work of fiction for some, it could be seen as trivialising the suffering of innocent victims and the evil that is represented by all forms of terrorism.”
He added: “I invite the makers of this game to come to Northern Ireland and meet some of the innocent victims of the IRA and then consider whether the contents are appropriate. I hope they can be persuaded to withdraw the game and think again.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said the entertainment industry had a “duty to avoid glorifying violence”.
The North Antrim MLA continued: “When they use the name of an actual terrorist organisation in this fashion they are being even more insensitive as victims were directly impacted by actions such as those portrayed in this game.
“This game would appear to treat the IRA in a fashion which is grossly offensive to the many people who suffered as a result of IRA bombs.
“This may be viewed as another clever way of earning money by some but it is most insensitive to victims. I would urge all involved in the production of this game to consider how they would feel had they lost a loved one or a limb in a Provisional bombing.”
Mr Allister added: “The sick glamorisation of terrorism should have no place in a world where people well beyond Northern Ireland have sadly learned of its devastating impact on human life.”
Meanwhile, Belfast UUP councillor Jim Rodgers said he would be contacting the game’s creators to discuss its content.
“We went through 40 years of violence in which many lives were lost and people maimed. I knew there would eventually be some who would seek to exploit that to make money,” he said.
The Irish News contacted 2K games for comment, but no-one was available.