Response by Mark Taylor
President, Tyndale House Publishers
Thank you for inquiring about the video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces.
Left Behind: Eternal Forces is a real-time strategy PC game created by Left Behind Games, Inc. (LBG). LBG is an independent company that was formed to create a game based on the first few books in the best selling "Left Behind" book series. These are novels that trace the adventures of those left behind after the Rapture.
Tyndale House extended a license to LBG to create a video game based on the storyline and characters of the "Left Behind" series. While LBG is the sole developer of the game, they have communicated consistently with Tyndale and the authors, and they have accepted our input with a spirit of cooperation.
LBG reports that the video game is scheduled to be released in late 2006. The game is intended for players age 13 and up. The game has not yet been rated, but LBG anticipates that it will receive a "T" (Teen) or "E" (Everyone) rating.
Tyndale House is concerned about the types of entertainment being offered to families. We are careful to guard the content of our own products, and we are working with LBG to ensure that the content of their game is appropriate. For example, there is no blood and gore in Left Behind: Eternal Forces. There is a certain level of violence inherent in the story, just as there is a certain level of violence in the "Left Behind" books. After all, the period in which the game is set is a chaotic and dangerous time where the Tribulation Force is recruiting new members and defending itself against the forces of Antichrist and the Global Community. The game is designed to be a classic battle between good and evil, but it does not gratuitously depict violence or death.
The players' objective is to find "tribulation clues," which include Bible mysteries, codes, and fascinating clues to encourage gamers to think of matters of eternal importance. In the initial missions, there is little emphasis on physical warfare, and gamers are introduced to powers of influence that result in a battle for the hearts and minds of people. In more advanced missions, there is no objective to cause physical warfare. However, physical warfare does result when the player is required to defend himself/herself against the physical forces of evil, which are led by the Anti-Christ.
Recently, some people have criticized the level of violence in Left Behind: Eternal Forces. Frankly, we're surprised by these comments, because the critics have neither seen nor previewed the game, which is still under development. Several months ago there was a news story with erroneous information about the game. Unfortunately, some readers accepted the misinformation as being factual, and then the rumor mill and the blogs were off and running.
If you hear someone making negative statements about this game, we encourage you to ask if they have personally reviewed the game. If they are merely passing on hearsay, it falls into the category of slander and gossip. (See 1 Peter 2:1 and 2 Cor. 12:20 for a biblical perspective on that type of activity.) Left Behind Games, Inc. has a license from Tyndale House Publishers to produce this game, but they are an independent company. For more information about the game, we encourage you to visit their website: www.leftbehindgames.com.
Statement from Troy Lyndon
President, Left Behind Games
It's distressing to see such an egregious misrepresentation of our game. The recent comments posted on several blogs and websites are nothing short of gross distortions and total untruths. Comments by those writing/involved with these articles have been done without ever having seen the game! LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces is a game loosely based on the first few books in the best-selling Left Behind book series. These are novels that trace the adventures of those left behind when the Rapture occurs, a biblical event forecasted in the Book of Revelation.
The slanted blurb about our game is carried on several anti-evangelical blog sites with a clear agenda, written by those who clearly never saw or played our game. The bloggers have never contacted Left Behind Games to check any facts. Many highly respected news sources have seen our game and responded positively, such as The New York Times, LA Times. and ABC World News Tonight.
The description of our game in these articles are totally inaccurate. The player does NOT target Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, or any other group. The game is a good versus evil story, which in turn results in conflict. Players command battle scenes raging in the streets of New York City between the Tribulation Forces and the Antichrist's forces—the Global Community Peacekeepers—during the End of Days. The Antichrist's forces are on the warpath, actively hunting down and exterminating all resistance to his one world government. This includes the good guys—the Tribulation Force—defending themselves against Satan. The game is intended to prompt gamers to discuss important questions about life and death.
The game does not reward killing, but rather results in loss of Spirit points which are essential for winning. Yes, physical warfare is offered, but it's not bloody, graphic, or horrific. Additionally, spiritual (i.e., non lethal) warfare plays a larger role than physical warfare. The player's goal is to save as many people as possible from the clutches of the Antichrist—not to kill them.