While Electronic Arts' upcoming Medal of Honor reboot is copping flak for the fact that players can assume the role of Taliban troops, Electronic Arts contends that the game will release unchanged as scheduled.
Speaking to Develop, EA Games president Frank Gibeau confirmed that the controversial content will remain unchanged when the game releases on October 15th this year. "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."
The comment is in response to a number of criticisms recently leveled at the game, particularly those from Britain's Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who has attempted to rally support to ban the game. Dr Fox told the BBC that it's "shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban against British soldiers". It has since transpired that British soldiers will not feature in the game, although Fox is correct that players will occasionally take control of Taliban forces in its adversarial multiplayer.
"At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands," continued Fox. "I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product."
EA's Gibeau, however, argues that games should be afforded the same creative licence as other artforms such as books and movies. "At EA we passionately believe games are an artform, and I don't know why films and books set in Afghanistan don't get flak, yet [games] do. Whether it's Red Badge of Courage of 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."
"The fact that it's set in Afghanistan is the context," continued Gibeau. "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. That's always been a Medal of Honor concept - we put you in the boots of a soldier, whether it's in the Pacific, Europe, Afghanistan; it's always been the story of the soldier."
The Medal of Honor saga is but the latest in a string of controversies centred around modern-day shooter games. Last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 came under fire for its controversial 'No Russian' mission that saw the player assume the role of Russian terrorists gunning down civilians in an airport. More recently, Konami also dropped the title Six Days in Fallujah after the game was heavily criticised by UK war veterans for being too close to home for those involved in the Iraqi conflict.