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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 May, 2003, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
US Army game set for the shops
Full Spectrum Warrior
The game is set in a Middle Eastern city
Fans of war games will soon be able to get their hands on a version of the software used by the US Army to train its soldiers.

A combat simulator developed to train grunts in discipline and manoeuvres is being adapted for the Xbox games console.

The game, called Full Spectrum Warrior, is due to hit the shops early next year.

Last year, the US military released its own computer game, called America's Army, in an attempt to attract young people to join its ranks.

Full Spectrum Warrior is based on a game used by the army to reinforce military doctrine and squad tactics among troops.

It places players at the head of two infantry teams caught in a running firefight in an Middle Eastern-looking city.

Fictional setting

US games developer Pandemic Studios spent three years working on the game, which was on show at the Electronic Entertainment Expo gaming extravaganza in Los Angeles.

It seems to me that they're using the army's involvement to legitimise the violence
Joanne Cantor, University of Wisconsin
"Our work with the army produced a compelling and unique game that authentically captures the life of a US army soldier operating in an urban war zone," said Pandemic President Josh Resnick.

In the commercial spin-off, the developers have been careful to fictionalise details of the game's setting, though it does reflect recent military operations.

"We can't ignore the fact that we are in Afghanistan. We are in Iraq," said Wil Stahl, a game designer at Pandemic.

The game is due to be released in early 2004 for Microsoft's Xbox console.

This is not the first time the US Army has been involved in computer games.

Glorified violence?

Full Spectrum Warrior
Players control soldiers in an urban war zone
Last year it released its own game called America's Army, which allowed players to go through a virtual army enlistment and basic training.

The US Army has said that more than a million people have gone through the "basic training" offered in its game.

But the military's dalliance with games has its critics.

Last year, America's Army was attacked by some parents who were worried that it glorified violence.

The news about Full Spectrum Warrior has raised similar concerns once again.

"It seems to me that they're using the army's involvement to legitimise the violence," said Joanne Cantor, a professor who researches issues concerning violent games at the University of Wisconsin.

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