It is ‘un-British’; therefore the game must be banned. Retailers should not sell Medal of Honor ‘to show their support for the armed forces’.
These were some of the words said by Dr Liam Fox our Defence Secretary back in August. His views were that Medal of Honor should have been banned due to having the ability to play as the Taliban and ‘kill’ our troops. It seemed that at the time there was some confusion as there were no British available to play in the game, only American and Taliban forces. Still I suppose he meant our Allied troops. The game has now been published and the media frenzy behind the calls for a ban have all died down. Electronic Arts (EA) changed the Taliban naming to ‘Opfor’ although they stated this was not due to the media outcry however I suspect this did have something to do with it.
What the media and Dr Fox didn’t mention was that you play as ‘Opfor’ only in multiplayer and against a faction called the ‘Coalition’. It is clear however that you are playing the Americans as the ‘Coalition’ and the Taliban as ‘Opfor’.What doesn’t quite make sense is why the call to ban a game has just been for this title. Yes this is a current conflict however why does the same not apply to the likes of Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty 2 or any other game of this genre based around war. They all had multiplayer which enabled you to play as ‘the enemy’ and kill your own side. The only difference being that those wars have finished. Yet what is the difference between supporting your troops now and those who died in a war many years ago? We forget that there are two sides to a war and as adults we should be able to make our own choices as to whether we wish to play a fictional game loosely based on real events designed for adults. It is after all rated an 18.
I would like for a minute though to take us back a year to when Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 was released. The opening level named ‘No Russian’ put you in the shoes of a terrorist and you went through a Russian airport killing unarmed civilians. There was a media outcry back then however you have to wonder why it was not as large as this one for Medal of Honor. The issue of terrorists still ranks as high as the war in Afghanistan because it is still a modern day threat.
My viewpoint in all of this though is that whilst we do like to play as the good guys it is sometimes great to play as the other side, it is also enlightening to play as the other side that we do not get to see much about. Medal of Honor doesn’t make a huge fuss about you playing as ‘Opfor’ or the Taliban as it is at the end of the day just a character skin designed to immerse yourself in the surroundings and the theme of the game. It could be comparable to any other FPS multiplayer. You have to wonder though how the multiplayer for Homefront will be taken when that game is released next year no doubt pitting Koreans versus Americans.