Under the Radar

Osama bin Laden: Cash Cow



We're about to find out just how much money Americans can make off the War Against Terror.

Last week, we learned that Medal of Honor Warfighter, the latest release in a game series that prides itself on authenticity, has hired retired Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette as a consultant on the game. Bissonnette is perhaps better known as "Mark Owen," author of the runaway bestseller No Easy Day, the awesomely written but legally problematic account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Today we find out that Medal of Honor will partner with Zero Dark Thirty, the new Hunt for Osama movie by Kathryn Bigelow, who won the Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker. They're releasing a DLC  inspired by real locations from the movie. For our non-gamers: a DLC is downloadable content, usually a map pack that you add on to the original game. The Zero Dark Thirty map packs include two settings in Pakistan: the Darra gun market and the Chitral region in the far northern part of the country.

If you preorder the Limited Edition, you get the DLC pack for free. Otherwise, it costs $9.99 and will be released the week of December 19th to coincide with the movie. Manufacturer Electronic Arts will donate $1 from each sale to their Project Honor charities.

We saw Medal of Honor Warfighter at the E3 convention and met with executive producer Greg Goodrich.  The game looks really promising and these guys really are trying to inject a level of connection to the real world that just might be missing from Call of Duty. Our review of No Easy Day has led to some pretty heated conversation in the comments and we already know how some of you feel about both The Hurt Locker and the idea that its director and screenwriter have taken on the bin Laden story.

But here we are: Osama's demise is about to become mainstream popular culture in a way that most history gets exploited by Hollywood and the book business (with the added bonus that the video game industry has matured to the point that it feels ready to get in on the action) and also in a way that the moviemakers have yet to take on the events of 9/11.

No one who's the subject of a book or a movie or a magazine article ever really likes the finished product and one of the most tightlipped and secretive groups in the U.S. military is about to have the Hollywood spotlight turned on full force. God help us all if the gossip kids take an interest. I'm not sure that U.S. intelligence can withstand a full-on assault from TMZ.

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