Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

New Narcos mobile game hopes to be more addictive than Pokémon Go


Hoping to tap into the mobile game market, Gaumont Television has teamed up with FTX Games to develop a game based on the Netflix series Narcos. Yes, the show about the real-life hunt for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura) will now be a fun little game called Narcos: Cartel Wars. Set to launch in September, the app is tied to season two, which hits Netflix on September 2.

Players start as a burgeoning cartel lieutenant guided by characters from the show. You can then work your way up the ranks, build out your business, and form alliances, which are all pretty nice ways to say kill your way to the top, sell a lot of drugs, and form cartels. Look, Pokémon Go is undoubtedly totally insanely popular right now and will likely usher in other augmented reality games over the coming months, but maybe turning the very real, very violent, very fucked-up world of drug cartels into a cell phone game isn’t the right move? Catching Jigglypuffs is a cute and innocent form of competitive gameplay. Joining cartels and then declaring wars on others sounds a bit more serious than choosing between Team Mystic, Team Valor, and Team Instinct.

Narcos is about a lot more than violence, money and power,” said Aaron Berndtson, FTX Games’ head of business development. “We really wanted to explore the moral ambiguity from the show, where right and wrong are subjective. We’re very excited to put these choices into the player’s hands.”


That all sounds very fine and good, but have FTX Games and Netflix considered that we shouldn’t be putting the general public in the mindset of drug lords? That maybe that’s taking things one step too far? Letting a bunch of people pretend they’re Pablo Escobar or Joaquín Guzmán or Walter White doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for fun, let alone the kind of discourse on moral ambiguity Berndtson suggests this game will inspire. It’s worth remembering that Narcos is about real people and real events, which you can soon virtually be a part of from the comfort of your own apartment. (Great, less than a month after the Pokémon Go launch and mobile games are already taking a turn for the worse.)

Unlike the real drug world—which, again, is a very real thing that destroys and ends lives—Narcos: Cartel Wars will be free to play.

[via Variety]

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