Piracy is not a new topic for video games - but usually it's the peg legs and bottles o'rum pirates you see depicted in pixels, and not the modern equivalent.
With Medal of Honor: Warfighter, however, that's all changing.
As has been revealed in the E3 trailer for the game, which is released on October 23 in the UK, some of the action takes place in Somalia, and directly deals with modern piracy. And it looks brutal.
If action and violence are what you're after from MoH this can only be good news.
But make no mistake - after two decades of civil war, Somali piracy has become a serious and deadly fact of life in the Arabian Sea. It affects real lives. And while there has been a drop in the number of attacks recently - 69 to the start of July, according to Nato, down 32% compared to 2011 - it's still a huge problem which is consuming a massive amount of Nato's attention and private security resources.
The debate over realism versus authenticity in video games is well picked over - especially when it comes to Warfighter.
But ahead of hearing more about Medal of Honor at Gamescom, we caught up with Jay Bahadur, a journalist and piracy expert who has spent extensive time in Somalia and written several books on the subject.
Speaking from Nairobi, Jay told us about his own experiences in Somalia the possibility of a new breed of pirates armed with heavy weapons and bazookas - and what retirement looks like for a modern pirate.
But first we wanted to know if, knowing Somalian piracy like he did, whether it was a good idea to put it in a video game…
How did you first come to write about piracy?
It had been my plan to come to Somalia for a long time, first to cover elections in the north west. Then when piracy broke onto the scene and I was fascinated. I think like a lot of people I was drawn in by the romanticism of the idea, just heading to Somalia and stepping off a plane and going to meet pirates. My original plan was to do just that - which would have ended in me being in the papers for other reasons!
So what about the presentation of piracy in popular culture? Are you comfortable with this being in a video game?
A couple of portrayals come to mind. The South Park episode, for instance, where the gang goes to Mogadishu and they're viewed as so insane that somehow they end up taking control of a gang! That certainly had more violence than a video game, that episode. I've heard that there have been portrayals of Somali pirates on Korean sitcoms! So there have been some…
I think most of them are based on this incredulity that we actually have modern pirates, and most are throwbacks to 17th century buccaneers and so on, I think that's how it's mostly portrayed in the media. And I can't count the number of times people have told me to put Johnny Depp on the cover of my book.
I did see the release clip of the game. It takes place in a town near Mogadishu. There are certainly several bombed out buildings which you wouldn't see where I was, which are just villages.
But a lot of criticism gets put towards violence portrayed in video games, but to be frank the most offensive - if I were a Somali - the most offensive portrayal of Somalis has been Black Hawk Down. They didn't case one Somali actor, I think. And they were speaking some sort of gibberish. And just basically portrayed them as cannon fodder for American troops. I guess you don't see the same sort of criticism for that.
Nato has taken credit for 'winning the war on piracy' recently. How true do you think that statement is?
They are taking credit for private security, which is really what's turned the tide in the last six to eight months. After the monsoon season ended last year piracy dropped off significantly. Attack success rate is down from about 35% to about 12%. And it's pretty much continued on that trajectory, because every major shipper now going through that area is employing private security. Nato has still has only about four or five ships. … The war may be being won but it's certainly not primarily due to Nato's efforts, I don't think.
What form does that private security usually take?
Sometimes the local coastguards hire themselves out to provide escorts, and private security can be hired out to do the same. But primarily it's just trained guards with small arms on board vessels. You might have a team of three to five.
This is just an estimate but they thing now that about 30% of vessels trying to go through the Gulf corridor employ private security. It's really become an accepted thing.
Is there a risk that the rise of armed guards protecting ships could lead to an arms race?
That's a very good question. That was one of the questions asked by the anti-militarisation lobby which was saying that bringing armed guards on board was only going to escalate violence and lead to loss of life, and huge insurance costs. Maybe even destruction of a vessel in an extreme case.
To date that largely hasn't been the result and the consequence is that the consensus has shifted in favour of armed guards. But I wondered why - for example there is plenty of heavy weaponry available in Somalia, that would enable pirates to take on a vessel. Assuming that it's defenders are only carrying small arms. Things like bazookas, Soviet anti-aircraft guns which are everywhere in Somalia. They cost about $20,000 but that's well within the budget of a well established pirate financier. And mounting one of those on a mothership and going after a vessel - you might not be able to get the speed necessary but in any case it's a possibility. Luckily we haven't seen it yet but I wouldn't rule it out.
Another consequence you might see is these so-called swarm attacks - where your typical pirate team of two gets augmented about seven or eight skiffs swarming from all sides. While there has been some reports of this happening nothing that's been really conclusively proven, because often when mariners are traumatised and give conflicting reports.
Who are the people taking that risk still?
Since 2010 you've seen pirate numbers drop off dramatically. It's estimated that from around 1,500 to 2,000 pirates operating it's now about 400 to 600… Some of the attacking commanders have earned enough money to become financiers. There's a great opportunity for upward mobility. But the foot-soldiers, the guys actually on board guarding the vessels, will make in the range of $16,000.
Do they ever retire?
I asked them that and the pithy response was 'we only retire when we die'. But I found that wasn't the case at all. Generally - it's a very fluid turnover. They only form around financiers, people they're generally related to, or have some connection with, then dissolve… In many cases pirates are on board for one mission and then quit.
Have you ever come across a woman doing it?
Just by rumour...
What about that word - pirate? Has that harmed the fight against it, in that it's quite a romantic image?
Some of the people I've met, they would bristle at the word pirate. Their response would be, they would call themselves 'Saviours of the Sea', which I thought roughly translated was 'coast guard'!