Not only is Medal of Honor‘s single player rooted in the current conflict in Afghanistan, but the multiplayer component lets players assume the role of a Taliban soldier and gun down US troops on the opposing team. If that isn’t the definition of controversy then I don’t know what is (well maybe it’s capping innocents in a Russian airport).
It’s taken a while for the whole debate to get kicked into gear, but yesterday UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox called for retailers to ban game the after expressing “anger and disgust” towards the title.
Of course, EA had to pipe up on the matter and so company president Frank Gibeau spoke to Develop, saying: “We respect the media’s views but at the same time [these reports] don’t compromise our creative vision and what we want to do.
“At EA we passionately believe games are an artform, and I don’t know why films and books set in Afghanistan don’t get flack, yet [games] do. Whether it’s Red Badge Of Courage or The Hurt Locker, the media of its time can be a platform for the people who wish to tell their stories. Games are becoming that platform.”
“Games have been set in Afghanistan before. We anticipated this [controversy] when we decided on the concept of the game – this is about being a special forces solider.”
Clearly EA are standing by their product with pride. We’d expect this kind of action from a leading publisher, although even they can submit at times as seen with Konami and Six Days in Fallujah.
Gibeau finished: “The fact that it’s set in Afghanistan is the context, but the game is about you and your team going through a number of missions and feeling what it was like to be in a soldier’s position.”