If you’ve read a story about Medal of Honor over the past few months, chances are it had something to do with the inclusion of playable Taliban fighters.
The storm of controversy around this design decision has provided publisher EA with plenty of free publicity for its game. Newspaper editorials have frothed, and misinformed politicians have waded in, all sounding suitably outraged.
Throughout this tiresome debate, I’ve been proud of EA for sticking by their guns and saying they wouldn’t drop the Taliban. After all, why should EA bow to pressure? Plenty of films have portrayed ongoing conflicts and attracted very little criticism. Why, I reasoned, should games be treated more harshly?
Well, scratch that, because EA just caved. In the final build of the game, the Taliban faction will be known as ‘Opposing Forces’. On the game’s official blog, executive producer Greg Goodrich explains the decision was taken in response to feedback from soldiers and their families:
“In the past few months, we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor. We’ve received notes from gamers, active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas. The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. For this, the Medal of Honor team is deeply appreciative. However, we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our game. This is a very important voice to the Medal of Honor team. This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about.”
That said, I can’t help but feel EA has milked this situation for as long as it realistically could, to maximise the hype it gained. Or perhaps I’m just a big Mr. Cynical Pants.