Spec Ops: The Line (2012)
"Spec Ops: The Line" follows Captain Martin Walker, who is sent into a post-catastrophe Dubai with an elite Delta Force team on a reconnaissance mission, where they find dead American soldiers. Upon the finding, Walker declares that the team's mission has changed, and that they will search Dubai for survivors. The writers stated that the premise of the game is influenced by various novellas, including Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," with Konrad replacing Kurtz. "Spec Ops: The Line" won several industry awards, including Best Narrative at Machinima's Inside Gaming Awards
Six months prior to "Spec Ops: The Line," the worst series of dust storms in recorded history began across Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai's politicians and wealthy elite downplayed the situation before evacuating in secret, leaving countless Emiratis and foreign migrant workers behind. Colonel John Konrad (Bruce Boxleitner), the decorated but post-traumatic stress disorder-troubled commander of the fictional "Damned 33rd" Infantry Battalion of the United States Army, was returning home with his unit from Afghanistan when the storms struck. Konrad volunteered the Damned 33rd to help the relief efforts, then deserted with the entire unit when ordered to abandon the city and its refugees. As the storms intensified, a massive storm wall engulfed Dubai for miles, disrupting surveillance and communication, air travel, and all but the strongest radio broadcasts. The 33rd declared martial law, and struggled to maintain order amid 80 mph winds, riots, and dwindling resources. The last communication from Dubai stated that the 33rd was attempting to lead a caravan out of the city. The caravan never arrived, and soon afterwards the UAE declared Dubai a no-man's-land. All travel to the city was barred, the 33rd was publicly disavowed for treason, and no further news left the city.
Two weeks before, a looped radio signal penetrated the wall. Its message was brief; “This is Colonel John Konrad, United States Army. Attempted evacuation of Dubai ended in complete failure. Death toll: too many.” The United States military decides to covertly send in a three-man Delta Force team to carry out reconnaissance. The team, consisting of Captain Martin Walker (Nolan North), Lieutenant Alphonse Adams (Christopher Reid), and Staff Sergeant John Lugo (Omid Abtahi), are told to confirm the statuses of Konrad and any survivors, then radio for extraction.
The story starts with Walker, Adams and Lugo traversing the storm wall through to the outskirts of a mostly-buried Dubai on foot. They come in contact with a group of hostile armed survivors speaking in Farsi, referred to as "insurgents", who have captured a squad of 33rd soldiers. Contradicting his orders, Walker elects to follow the insurgents and try to find out what has happened in the city. Throughout most of their journey, the team hears broadcasts on homemade speakers by the Radioman (Jake Busey) a.k.a. Robert Darden, a former journalist turned DJ who was once embedded with the 33rd in Afghanistan and now speaks on their behalf.
As the journey progresses, the squad finds evidence of what had happened in Dubai over the preceding months, indicating that after the failed evacuation, the 33rd returned to Dubai as an occupying force and committed atrocities against the civilian population with the intent of maintaining order. ...
Did You Know? Walt Williams, lead writer of "Spec Ops: The Line," has stated that its events are open to interpretation. "For me, everything after the crash is Walker kind of reliving the hell of what he had just done," said Williams. "You can even interpret Konrad as being not necessarily a delusion inside his mind, but some kind of external projection of his guilt in this purgatory or hell or afterlife, or however you choose to view it." Many other theories and interpretations had been discussed by the development staff.