Copyright 2001 Media Guardian

[ September 20th 2001 ]

Eidos, the company behind the Tomb Raider computer game, will not scrap plans to release an all-action game featuring a war against terrorists in the Middle East, despite last week's attacks in the US. Mike McGarvey, the company's chief executive, said Eidos did not expect any problems with its latest release, called "Thunderhawk." "It is an action adventure game where you fight terrorism in the Middle East with helicopters, but we don't envisage any problems with it," he said.

Games manufacturers have come under pressure to tone down the content their more violent games, after the events in the US forced Hollywood studios to postpone the release of several action adventure films. But Mr McGarvey said there was nothing in the company's back catalogue to offend consumers, although it would continue to monitor the issue. "There is nothing that we have identified which brings up content issues. We are taking a position with our retailers, and our retailers will do their own reviews as well," he said.

He said there would not be a fundamental change in the nature of computer games, which have been criticised by consumer and parents' groups. "During the Gulf war, war games and flight simulations did very well. Violence in gaming is a very different issue, and our ratings systems and the ways we make the audience aware of our content are forging ahead. I don't think violence in gaming is something that is going to go away," he said.

Mr McGarvey made his comments as Eidos released first-quarter results for the three months to June. The company reported a pre-tax loss of 15.3m, against a loss of 22.3m for the same period last year. However, turnover fell from 16.8m to 12.2m because Eidos released fewer titles during the spring.

Eidos expects the company to accelerate its move towards profit with the release of the Microsoft X-Box in November in the US, which should spark an upturn in demand for new games. Computer games makers have been in the doldrums due to the likes of Sony and Nintendo delaying the release of new consoles, but new products should mark a resurgence in the games market.

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