Resignations at Left Behind Games: New Co-Chairs Appointed

All is not well at Left Behind Games:

Officials from controversial Christian game developer Left Behind Games (Left Behind: Eternal Forces) have announced that senior management at the company have accepted the resignation of senior vice president Jeffrey S. Frichner, with CEO Troy Lyndon also demanding the resignation of the company’s other three board members.

Left Behind Games, which has a peculiar corporate history, exists primarily to develop video games based on Tim LaHaye’s apocalyptic vision of the Last Days, following the rapture of the faithful. The books centre on a group of late converts to Christianity, who form a militia against the anti-Christ’s UN; critics complain that the Eternal Forces game promotes this rather paranoid worldview, and that the game’s violence is inappropriate for a Christian product. Reviewers have also claimed that the game contains spyware, and that as a game it isn’t much good anyway. Despite massive sales of the novels, the controversy has been seriously bad for business:

In February, the developer reported a $4.1 million loss for its third quarter ended December 31st, 2006, on revenues of $2.2 million for the first six weeks of the game’s sales.

In a bid to recoup ground, the company has been spamming blogs that discuss the game with puff pieces – I got one of these, which includes a rather unconvincing quote from Lyndon:

“Our game does NOT teach the pre-tribulation theology of the book series, except that this worldview is utilized as a FICTIONAL backdrop of the game”.

Lyndon and others connected with the game have argued that the game deals with “spiritual warfare” rather than real violence, and Left Behind Games has hired a consultant named Gordon Chiu to promote the idea that the game favours “non-violence” in a way that “connects very strongly with ancient Asian philosophies”. LaHaye himself, however, complains that the groups attacking Eternal Forces “don’t attack other violent video games”, while his co-author Jerry Jenkins tells us that the game is “not more violent than the Old Testament”.

The new co-chairs of Left Behind Games are Michael A. Knox and Leslie N. Bocskor, who are both successful business insiders:

Michael A. Knox was a former partner with CEO Troy Lyndon for five years while they built Park Place Productions from an initial investment of $3,000 into North America’s largest independent video game development company. Mr. Knox is currently the CEO of V2P Communications, one of the world leaders in the new Internet audio advertising industry.

“I am excited about the company’s future as it extends its presence as a leader in the family values, faith-based and inspirational media and entertainment marketplace,” said Mr. Leslie Bocskor. Leslie N. Bocskor is an entrepreneur and managing partner with Lennox Hill Partners LLC, a New York-based advisory firm and the co-founder of two arts & culture philanthropic organizations as well as numerous computer software, entertainment and technology companies.

Some of Bocskor’s companies and interests are listed here. Interestingly, Bocskor is also involved with the annual “Burning Man” event; he acts as its New York regional coordinator, and he founded the “Society for Experimental Arts and Learning” for New York enthusiasts. Further, a list that he created for Amazon suggests an interest in the New Age and esoteric.