EA Defends Medal of Honor's Taliban Faction Change

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EA Defends Medal of Honor's Taliban Faction Change

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An EA spokesman doesn't think the decision to rename Medal of Honor's Taliban multiplayer faction is that big of a deal.

When it was revealed that EA decided to include the Taliban as a playable faction in the upcoming Medal of Honor reboot's multiplayer mode, people were upset. It's not surprising that Jack Thompson jumped to bash the game for this feature, but even military bases banned the game from being sold on their property. The resulting controversy caused EA to rename the Taliban to "Opposing Force," much to the ire of those believing in free speech, but EA defends the recent change by pointing out that it's incredibly minor.

Starting on October 4, EA will be holding an open beta just so that everyone can see that Medal of Honor's gameplay hasn't changed one bit. EA spokesman Jeff Brown told Kotaku: "The reason we're posting the multiplayer demo next week is so people can judge for themselves. Does changing one word in the menu screen have any impact on the actual play of the game that takes place in Afghanistan?"

"The only thing that has changed is one seven-letter word in the menu screen," he added. "There is not a single pixel or frame that is changed."

However, Brown is confounded over the controversy. He continues: "If you could place a fiction in Afghanistan in a book or in a movie or in a TV show or other contemporary work , then why draw an artificial distinction of 'but not in a video game?'" Despite the name change, he says it's "pretty clear who is fighting who" due to the game's location.

It seems like Medal of Honor developer Danger Close just can't win. Including the Taliban led to a huge controversy. Removing the Taliban led to another controversy. The studio created a game with a story about a realistic modern conflict, but also wanted to include a multiplayer feature that has made titles like Modern Warfare 2 so popular, so what were they to do, feature a multiplayer mode with only American soldiers killing each other? Would that have been okay with those upset over players being able to play as soldiers labeled "Taliban?"

I've got to admit, to make such a recent conflict into the "fun" of a multiplayer game does feel a little weird, but just because it's modern I'm not sure it should be off limits to game developers. After all, it's not an American soldier murder simulator, it's a game based on a real, ongoing conflict. It's immature to say that any piece of media can't explore both human sides of a war.

Medal of Honor will be released on October 12 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.

Source: Kotaku

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Honestly, I think the reason people are getting so upset it because it IS such a minor change. I can't really blame them for doing it if it works, but you're still playing as the Taliban really. Really, it's not a bad move to make, and they really shouldn't have gotten so much garbage from people for it in my opinion. But they shouldn't have had any garbage from most the people who were complaining about the Taliban being playable in the first place. The only people I can understand and respect complaining about it are the people who've fought or the families of those who've fought against the taliban. Most these politicians are just trying to complain about something is how I see it.

Tom Goldman:

Starting on October 4, EA will be holding an open beta just so that everyone can see that Medal of Honor's gameplay hasn't changed one bit.

Last time I checked that wasn't a good thing.

Seriously: Cop-out. Seriously.

I still don't get how a simple name change satisfied all the protesters.

I agree. It shouldn't matter what the name of the "other group" is. Taliban or Opposing Force you still are fighting the same exact people. It's a terrorist cell with an extreme hatred of the US.

If it was just seven letters they should have left them on it. Forgetting who's side they should be on. Those seven letters have cost at least one sale.

"An EA spokesman doesn't think the decision to rename Medal of Honor's Taliban multiplayer faction is that big of a deal."

That's why they spent months defending the decision then.

I am so pissed off about this: how is the medium supposed to get anywhere if the major companies cave in to every ill-informed bit of anger aimed at it?

Its just stupid. Nothing changed but a word. They didn't really remove them at all. Yet I'm sure everyone who doesn't play games won't care.

Times like this, I am sad.

And I thought they were doing the multiplayer beta to show them how insignificant the Taliban inclusion into the multiplayer really is. Funny how things change like that. Buckled even before showing everyone its really not as bad as they thought.

All they've done is changed the name and they expect people to stop complaining about the fact that you can kill american soldiers while dressed as taliban, even though the taliban isn't called taliban? That's like expecting someone to believe the apple in their hand is an orange just because you've written it on a piece of paper, or told them that's what it is, no matter what you call it, it's still an apple.

Kapol:
Honestly, I think the reason people are getting so upset it because it IS such a minor change. I can't really blame them for doing it if it works, but you're still playing as the Taliban really. Really, it's not a bad move to make, and they really shouldn't have gotten so much garbage from people for it in my opinion. But they shouldn't have had any garbage from most the people who were complaining about the Taliban being playable in the first place. The only people I can understand and respect complaining about it are the people who've fought or the families of those who've fought against the taliban. Most these politicians are just trying to complain about something is how I see it.

Funny thing is, from what I've read/seen/heard, most soldiers are fine with having the Taliban included. Its pretty much just politicians, and their families, that are protesting it.

Fair enough, but I don't agree with the change just because it was the product of people complaining about something that offended them. I'm somewhat sick of people getting into a whiny mood over stuff like this. Guess what, lots of things offend me, and I complain about them, but I'm on the ban-wagon (oh, that pun hurt) about it. I know my views are different from others, so I'm not going to try and force the subject. But oh well, EA made their choice, the only thing that really annoys me about this is it further proves that video game companies refuse to stand up for their games when political and public outrage is present.

blakfayt:
All they've done is changed the name and they expect people to stop complaining about the fact that you can kill american soldiers while dressed as taliban, even though the taliban isn't called taliban? That's like expecting someone to believe the apple in their hand is an orange just because you've written it on a piece of paper, or told them that's what it is, no matter what you call it, it's still an apple.

Well it worked for Modern Warfare. Instead of fighting the taliban you fought "Op-For", which funnily enough is short for "opposing force" and people didn't seem to mind. They were too busy complaining about the airport scene.

Tom Goldman:
I've got to admit, to make such a recent conflict into the "fun" of a multiplayer game does feel a little weird, but just because it's modern I'm not sure it should be off limits to game developers. After all, it's not just an American soldier murder simulator, it's a game based on a real, ongoing conflict. It's immature to say that any piece of media can't explore both human sides of a war.

Don't give the game too much credit. It's people shooting polygons, some skinned like americans, some like the taliban. To say it "explores both human sides" implies that there is some deeper intellectual meaning to the game, when in fact, that couldn't be farther from the truth. None of these games examine the motivations or stories behind both sides of a conflict, you simply shoot bad guys. Multiplayer FPSes are the pinnacal of de-humanization when it comes to war because there's no context for the fight at all. Blue Team. Red Team. Bunch of buildings. Go shoot each other.

Or they make the Americas Army move, by having the engine always be YOU, the US SOLDIER, fighting the evil OpFors, whichever team you play on XD

Irridium:

Kapol:
Honestly, I think the reason people are getting so upset it because it IS such a minor change. I can't really blame them for doing it if it works, but you're still playing as the Taliban really. Really, it's not a bad move to make, and they really shouldn't have gotten so much garbage from people for it in my opinion. But they shouldn't have had any garbage from most the people who were complaining about the Taliban being playable in the first place. The only people I can understand and respect complaining about it are the people who've fought or the families of those who've fought against the taliban. Most these politicians are just trying to complain about something is how I see it.

Funny thing is, from what I've read/seen/heard, most soldiers are fine with having the Taliban included. Its pretty much just politicians, and their families, that are protesting it.

I can understand listening to the families of people who've served myself. The politicians, not so much. For the families, they have/have had to live with the knowledge that their son/daughter/father/mother/etc might not be coming home. And the multiplayer could remind them of that fact, as the concept is American soldiers being killed by Taliban could make them worry more or remind them that that family memeber is dead if they lost someone. But then again, the other option is having soldiers killing other soldiers of the same country, which would be worse.

Again, while I think that they should have kept it in, I can understand why people who've actually had to deal with this should have some say in it. Like you said, the majority currently active soldiers seem fine with it. But their families should be considered too.

"It's not such a big deal".
If it was only a minor change, and it isn't a "big deal", why the hell did they do it anyway?
And because of all this, people are gonna still know they're The Taliban, and people are still going to call them The Taliban.
"What time are you on?"
"US, you?"
"Taliban"
"Oh right, there's space on your side so I'll swap before I spawn".

And also, the people who play the game aren't gonna care if they're American or not, they just want to shoot the other team.

Now maybe I'm missing something out here, but if they have changed the name of the Taliban in the multiplayer to "Opposing Force", where does that leave the singleplayer? Clearly, the name change was to avoid the situation where they would have the Taliban killing US soldiers (I doubt the people protesting have a problem with the reverse), but in the singleplayer isn't the same thing happening?

Maybe they see it as different as one has people controlling the Taliban while in the other case, it's just AI controlled characters. Nonetheless, the fact that the singleplayer content is still there makes it rather clear who each side will be in multiplayer. Perhaps they ought to just go one step further and rename Afghanistan "Opposing Nation" in the singleplayer. One way to make the game feel even more generic.

True, nothing has actually been changed about the gameplay itself. However, when you add something controversial to a piece of media and then completely remove it, you make yourself look like selfish twats who just want attention. At least stick to your guns.

Cmon EA, You could have made a difference! you could have shown the media, the politicians, Everyone that you were making a conscious decision, and that since this was YOUR game, you could do whatever the hell you wanted with it, and tell everyone who had a problem with it to Go screw themselves. I realize you may not think this is big deal, but now, people like Good ol Jack Thompson and any other idiot protester out there think that when something they dont like is coming, if they whine and bitch and complain long enough, they'll get there way.

Tom Goldman:

"The only thing that has changed is one seven-letter word in the menu screen," he added. "There is not a single pixel or frame that is changed."

I'm parsing down the article into this one quote simply because it best demonstrates the whole problem we're facing.

#1 In all seriousness if the issue of one seven letter word was so unimportant why did they change it in the first place? Your actions belie your words here.

#2 It's clear that they are either not understanding why this issue has gravitas or lying about understanding. It's obvious to anyone that this was never about the game is was about the politics. If they're too oblivious to know that this subject would be politically critiqued perhaps their studio was the wrong choice for this game.

I could go on for pages about how the Taliban is not Al Quaeda or that the US military has suffered actual losses against the Taliban while invading a country they have every right to defend. But that's not the case here. The case is that representatives of EA and/or the studio who produced this game don't have a clear understanding of Freedom of Speech rights or why they need desperately to be defended.

That's bad. That's oh so bad.

Sure, it's a minor name change, but if it was so minor then why change it at all? It's like EA's balls just shrivelled up and they lost their nerve. You saw what happened with six days in Fallujah, and you knew that people wouldn't like this in the first place. Changing the name to Op For probably won't even stop the protests and complaints. Oh wait...

It probably will. It's like this medium will forever be treated like a child. *sigh*

You know what would be news? "[massive corporation] admits it fucked up."

Yeah, the government can't have anything that would go against their indoctrination regime. We can't have an unbiased view of anything.

The only way I would buy this game is if I can play as Bin Laden.

Personally, I never saw the big deal with the name either way. Knowing how controversy blows up with anything video game-related like a powder keg juxtaposed to a burning building, some backlash was inevitable though. From the get-go, I don't even see why "playing as the Taliban" was even necessary or even related to the game's authenticity and respect for soldiers when the multiplayer was concerned.

"The only thing that has changed is one seven-letter word in the menu screen," he added. "There is not a single pixel or frame that is changed."

Now here is the caveat; they openly admit it's a name change and nothing more. The "Opposing Force" is still the Taliban and we all know it, and everyone that probably is not going to be even buying the game had any issue with the name in the first place will still know it as well. If a WWII game had one side with vibrant-red swastikas and even held a love-letter to Hitler, but were called the "Care Bear Affair" instead of "Nazis," we'd all know that they were really the Nazis regardless.

Way to pussy out I don't think this fixes anything it just makes both sides angry.

As many others have said....if it's such a minor change, why bother changing it in the first place?

I guess they are just unwilling to take the heat from the general public to do what is right. Sigh...

Sigh. I was almost excited about this game, it looks alright and it probably plays alright but I was thinking that if EA is willing to stare down the US military to have the Taliban in THERE game then I think they deserve my money as an encouragement to do things more controversial in the future. But now they have hung there tails between there legs and changed the Taliban to the Op for, chickened out at almost litteraly the last minute all I can say is that im dissapointed, and will most definatly only be renting there game at the most, and only then if I have a coupon for a free game. Oh well, maybe they'll do something really controversial with ME 3, that would make it up.

Gray Monk:
OMG TAILBAN OMGOMGOMG TAILBAN IN A GAME OMG OMG OMG GOD SAVE US PLEASE JESUS DESCEND ONTO THE EARTH AND RID THE EARTH OF THIS OF A EXCUSE OF A GAME. THIS GAME IS THE DEVIL!!!

Haha, oh how I love you.

I saw a great comedian last night who just talked about how fucking stupid people now are these days with being offended by everything. What ever happened to 'sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?' That's stuff we teach our kids, yet now OH NO THIS VIDEO GAME HAS A REFERENCE TO SOMETHING I AM IN FAVOUR OF, ITS AGAINST ME!

I wonder why the game is banned in military bases? Does the US Government really think it's soldiers are just going to jump ship and join the Taliban because they can play them in a video game?

This is the sort of thing that isn't a very big deal in of itself. It is more significant in the poor precedent it sets by having the developer fall under the pressure that, "you can't do that in a GAME" (regardless of how tasteless some might perceive it to be).

MinishArcticFox:
Way to pussy out I don't think this fixes anything it just makes both sides angry.

Here here! They've actually managed to score a double-fail with this one. :|

Brotherofwill:

Tom Goldman:

Starting on October 4, EA will be holding an open beta just so that everyone can see that Medal of Honor's gameplay hasn't changed one bit.

Last time I checked that wasn't a good thing.

Seriously: Cop-out. Seriously.

How so? Not quite sure what you're refering to. Copping out by changing the name?

MinishArcticFox:
Way to pussy out I don't think this fixes anything it just makes both sides angry.

Only because both those sides are equally immature, these guys are just trying to make a game, a game in my opinion no different than MW, but all the same people just need to chill out. If they've changed the name then great, people should just shut up. (or blame the other side instead of the game for trying to please people)

Sorry for double post.

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