The Call of Duty games love to stick all sorts of interesting military figures and despots into their story lines but former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega didn’t think his digital portrayal was very flattering.
Noriega filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday against Activision over the use of his image in Call Of Duty: Black Ops II. He claims that Activision distorted his image by portraying him as a “kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state” in order to “heighten the realism in its game” and boost the game’s sales figures.
For those of you who flunked your military history class, Noriega was Panama’s self imposed dictator from 1983 to 1989 before a US invasion ousted him from power and led to criminal prosecution in the US on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering for which he served a 20-year prison sentence. The game features Noriega in the “Suffer With Me” mission in which the main character Frank Woods is tasked with smearing Noriega’s reputation in order to get to a higher target.
He’s also featured early on in several flashback scenes before his real life rise to power. Check out a scene from the game in this video…
It’s not likely that the court will rule in Noriega’s favor given his grisly and despotic history but does this mean that historical figures are no longer fair game for video games? Just imagine the kind of lawsuits that Adolph Hitler would rack up alone from the Wolfenstein games.