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 multiplayer mode.
Greg Goodrick, executive producer of the game, announced the decision in a blog post Friday morning, citing feedback from military families as the reason for the move.
“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.