Islamic State (IS) militants have released a jihadist video game trailer, styling itself as a Grand Theft Auto adaptation, in which the aim is to destroy Iraqi and US forces.
Entitled “Grand Theft Auto: Salil al-Sawarem” [which roughly translates in Arabic as “the sound of swords coming together”], the gameplay footage shows the playable character dressed as a rebel fighter, clad in a black bandana, loose black shirt, and camouflage trousers, while toting an assault rifle.
The recruitment propaganda video trailer aims to “raise the morale of the mujahedin and to train children and youth how to battle the West and to strike terror into the hearts of those who oppose the Islamic State,” according to the media wing of IS. The content includes all of the organization’s military tactics against its opponents/”
The video is loaded with explosions, combat scenarios and sniping, with jihadist calls being made throughout. Characters produce cries of “Allahu Akbar!” and – as is the case with real life – the characters slaughter and behead their victims, and blow up vehicles.
Throughout, the IS logo is displayed at the top of the screen, alongside the apparent ‘GTA’ styling. Pervasive themes include jihad and “the willingness to sacrifice.”
However, the video appears to be just that – merely a trailer, and an actual playable version of the possible game has not been seen. It was released shortly after new propaganda footage entitled ‘Flames of War’, which unfolds in a similar but movie-style vein.
“It’s ironic that they are using Western games to demonstrate their wrongly guided hatred towards them,” said Mufaddal Fakhruddin, an editor at the Middle Eastern branch of popular U.S.-based video games and entertainment site IGN.
The trailer is “clearly aimed” towards a young audience, who might be “attracted” by an “easy and consequence-free violence” shown in video games, Fakhruddin told Al Arabiya News.
“What I also fear aside from the terrifying consequences of what this video could do, is the media barking up the ‘video games is wrong for children’ chant once again,” he said. “It is wrong to implicate video games as the bringer of all things evil… it is how, and under what circumstances it is used is where the discussion lies, and not if video games themselves are the culprit.”