Besieged from all sides, Electronic Arts has capitulated and
made a last minute change to its upcoming reboot of “Medal of Honor,” removing
the ability for players to assume the role of the Taliban in the game’s
“Friends and families of fallen soldiers … have expressed
concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our
game,” he wrote. “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 … we have decided to rename the opposing
team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.”
It’s a minor change, but EA hopes it will quell the
controversy that has threatened to grow out of control surrounding the game.
(By the way, don’t think that the decision was made solely at the request of
military families. Retailers, including Wal-Mart, were reportedly putting pressure
on EA for changes as well.)
Addressing the controversy might not be enough, though. “Medal
of Honor” is scheduled to ship on Oct. 12. That puts it squarely between “Halo:
Reach” (which generated sales of $200 million in its first 24 hours) and “Call
of Duty: Black Ops” – expected to be the best selling game of 2010. Industry
observers worry the blast zone of those two titles will be hard to overcome.
EA downplays those fears, noting that pre-orders for “MoH”
have bested records for previous entries in the series.