For awhile, EA has been taking some serious heat for the inclusion of the Taliban in their upcoming Medal of Honor game. Sure it was only in the multiplayer portion, but that didn’t prevent people from throwing hissy fits.
On the official site for the beta that starts today, it was announced that EA has indeed caved and changed the name of Taliban to Opposing Force. No, I’m not making this up either.
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. Because of this, and because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.
While this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay, we are making this change for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice – this franchise will never willfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service.
To all who serve – we appreciate you, we thank you, and we do not take you for granted. And to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines currently serving overseas, stay safe and come home soon.
The announcement came straight from Greg Goodrich, Executive Producer, and while his statement gives us some heartfelt reasons for the change, I’m not buying it. That’s not to say that I don’t think that the reasons he listed above factored in to the final decision, I just don’t believe that’s the full story.
Sure the inclusion of the Taliban was controversial, but what isn’t nowadays? If you’re a celebrity and decide to wear a dress of meat, it’s like the world is coming to an end. People will always find something to bitch about, and sadly the problems in New York over the Ground Zero Mosque probably didn’t help the Medal of Honor team either.
Fact of the matter is, when gamers were able to shoot Nazi’s left and right, or destroy the Japanese, did anybody give a shit? No. You didn’t hear the descendants of Nazi’s or WWII Kamikaze pilots say stuff like “Oh, I don’t know you guys. Somebody might be offended by your portrayal. I know I sure am.” People didn’t care. They just wanted to kick ass and take names, regardless of the ethnicity.
I personally feel it’s absolute bullshit that, whenever anything regarding the Middle East is used, we all have to walk on eggshells. Besides, don’t parents continuously tell their children “don’t give in to peer pressure” on a daily basis? What kind of message does that send? Millions of children, and even teenagers, look up to the gaming companies and the big names like Hideo Kojima, Shigeru Miyamoto, and others because those people are their rock stars. They are their Freddie Mercuries, their David Bowies, their Robert Plants, and their Beatles. To give in now, after the gaming industry has pushed the envelope so much already is just sad.
How will this impact the sales of the game? I don’t know. Had they kept the Taliban name in there, I have a feeling it would’ve sold more copies because people will want to see what is so horrible about it. On the other hand, those same people might still pick up a copy of the game because they’ll be curious to see what all the fuss was about and end up disappointed.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is this: EA, you guys don’t have to do shit like this and cater to everybody else. Having the Taliban as an enemy in a game is not only realistic and keeping in theme of the previous work you’ve done so far, but it’s something that people need to see. We shouldn’t have to keep being afraid to do things like this, or to continuously censor ourselves, because that just means that those guys win. Maybe you’ll have another change of heart and decide to put the Taliban back in, and I really hope that you do for all of the reasons I’ve already mentioned.
So what do you all think, dear readers? Do you think EA did the right thing, or do you have some other opinion about it like “who gives a rats ass what the enemy is called?” We want to know!