UK Politician “Shocked” By Medal Of Honor

By Jim Rossignol on August 23rd, 2010 at 11:06 am.


And not just by the spelling. Yahoo news are reporting that British defence secretary Liam Fox has urged retailers not to stock the next Medal Of Honor game, due to players being able to take on the role of the Taliban in the game’s multiplayer. “I am disgusted and angry,” said Fox. “It’s hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.” EA have apparently responded by telling The Sunday Times that the game simply reflects the fact that there two sides in the conflict.

Personally I’m more uncomfortable with a politician urging a blanket ban on anything than I am with the any tastelessness or insensitivity presented by the game (which neither I nor the British defence secretary have played), but I doubt his words will make much difference in the face of the cold hard cash to be made from the forthcoming shooter. Also, I do wonder whether Dr Fox has been made aware of the game simply to provoke this kind of reaction.

UPDATE: EG reports that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is distancing itself from Fox’s statement, saying that it’s a “personal view”.

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201 Comments »

  1. Jason says:

    Since when is being able to play the opposing force in poor taste?

    • Torqual says:

      Perhaps because there are british soldiers dying in afghanistan now. Its some kind of advertisment for the taliban forces too. So not a very clever move of the publisher to use a raging conflict in the cause of money making.

      Have a nice day

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Oddly though no one gets upset about playing NATO forces occupying Afghanistan who have killed hundreds if not thousands of Afghan civilians. But its not exploiting a raging conflict to make money if you only play as heroic western troops!

    • RaveTurned says:

      @Torqual Any publicity is good publicity, or so they say. As such, fostering press coverage by moral outrage could be seen as a pretty shrewd move by some. With any controversy over a game there will be people out there who will buy it to see what all the fuss is about, and I suspect that’s as much as the publishers care about.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      @torqual I honestly can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or insane… I’ll assume insane because its easier to be wrong that suffer nonsense. An advertisement for the Taliban? Who sits in front of their computer playing counter strike and thinks “you know what? I think I’ll don a ski mask and go do some terroristing”, no-one, Torqual, no-one. No one will if its fictional terroristing, no one will if its real terroristing. And if they do, well… then thats one more aggressive arsehole who wants to kill people doing it somewhere other than where I’m standing.

    • Tom o'bedlam says:

      Now then, a tasteless Afghanistan game would have the player taking the role of polish troops mortar shelling a wedding or American troops murdering a Reuters camera crew. Then in the next level you could play a department of defense official tasked with covering up your soldiers atrocities.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Tom: Can I be controversial here and say that the killing of the camera crew wasn’t murder?

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Since being a racist is somehow OK, if what you hate is called evil by the media parrots.
      Right an wrong is undefined in absolute terms, since absolute terms are themselves undefined.
      Yes, I disagree with the crazy shit the extremists amongts them say. But that’s just as much true for the US/UK side. Nutjobs are nutjobs.
      So in my eyes, Liam Fox is a Taliban fundamentalist with terrorist tendencies, who massively hates himself.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      @ Tom, Have you actually watched that footage of the reuters crew getting killed?

      I have, and I can tell you now, they were near armed Insurgents, one with what appeared to be an RPG-7 and Various ones with Rifles(Assault or otherwise) And the cameras that the crew were holding, DID look quite like Rifles etc etc etc.

      They were killed via an Apache Gunship… And the image is not real clear.. Granted the Civi who got out and tried to help the wounded cameraman shouldn’t have been fired upon, as he was evidently unarmed, although who knows what was in his Van? Stinger Team?

      It’s warfare… It ain’t pretty I guess is the best I can come up with, the only way is to stop the wars altogether. But That won’t happen, it’s in human nature.. etc etc.

      Peace.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @Tom: Every killing is murder. No exceptions. Everything else is newspeak propaganda: Ooh, if you call a random person evil, put a Jew star on him and make that “general consensus” trough the media, then suddenly it’s not murder anymore.
      Okay then, I’ve got a sticker for you Tom. And I just bought some TV stations. :P

    • Dominic White says:

      @Corrupt_Tiki – so, your argument is that it’s okay to kill whoever you want in a warzone (that would be the entirety of Iraq, a country with a sizeable civillian population) so long as you think they may be a potential threat to someone or something at any indeterminate point in the future.

      Because that’s human nature, right?

      Well, no, it fucking well isn’t.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      @ Barefoot.

      I disagree, self defence, is different imo. and nothing will change that, we are made for survival. Although Chem weapons, H-Bombs and nukes + Irrationality will more than likely end that…

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      @ Dominic

      I didn’t mean it to come across like that, but imo, casualties are to be expected… it is warfare afterall..
      Shouldn’t be fighting in the first place, but in any kind of warfare there will be casualties..

    • Steve says:

      @Barefoot. Hating the Taliban does not make you racist, anymore than hating Nazis does.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Yes, Jsmith that is the footage I have got, its like 16mins long…
      still the best I can come up with is ‘that’s war’ or ‘shit happens’, and it always will as long as we fight each other..

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      @corrupt tiki, yes, I have watched the footage in question, I’ve got a policy not to mouth off about things I’ve got no idea about :)

      The fact that the cameras _sort of_ look like guns and and thats pretty tricky to tell from a helicopter x-hundred feet above the ground doesn’t excuse the crew of causing unlawful deaths, it does make a startlingly good argument that helicopter gunships can’t be trusted to distinguish between ‘legitimate’ targets and civilians.

      ANY civilian casualty at the hands of a soldier is murder, simply that they ‘might’ be an insurgent is a bullshit reason to take a life.

    • bill says:

      whatever the deal was with the initial attack on the camera crew / insurgents – the follow up attack on the clearly unarmed guys helping the wounded was disgraceful.
      There was zero reason to think that THEY were armed or insurgents – and many reasons to think that they might have been civilians.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Tom: You need to look up the definition of murder.

    • Tom o'bedlam says:

      a unlawful deliberate act aiming at and resulting in the death of another?

      What point are you trying to make?

    • Alex Bakke says:

      Ah, sorry, I was getting confused. I thought a definition of murder is to decide that you’re going to deliberately hurt someone when they’ve done no wrong. A quick search reveals that to be false.

      I do, however, disagree that this was an unlawful killing. First, they were cleared to engage by (presumably) the Forward Air Controller on the ground. The Forward Air Controller is responsible for guiding the jet/helicopter onto the target. If anything, the blame lies with him. Either, for failing to properly identify the target, or for failing to actually seek one out.

      At the time, as we can clearly see in the video, the Pilot and Gunner in the Apache saw people near a US patrol which had come under fire. They positively IDed weapons, and the reporter/photographer could have been carrying another. They then see the photographer peeking round a corner, camera [suspected RPG] visible, in the direction of the US position which had just been fired upon.

      Furthermore, they weren’t wearing a press vest, and Reuters didn’t inform the US forces that there were reporters working in the area, which is standard fare.

      This may be murder, but I don’t blame them for what happened.

      Firing on the van, however, was too far.

      Captcha: EEEE

    • Barman1945 says:

      @Tom

      The man was a reporter, reporting in a war zone, embedded with an insurgent cell., without wearing a journalist vest and without Reuters letting the US military know he was in the area. It’s not like this was unexpected for him. He knew the risk when he went out there, and the worst happened.

    • le poo poo says:

      I sure do love me some murder apologism

    • le poo poo says:

      @Barman

      I guess all those civilians who get killed in warzones shouldn’t have been there, right?

    • psyk says:

      @collateral murder comments

      That vid is from IRAQ you numpties

    • TeeJay says:

      @ psyk

      Noone said this real-life event was from Afghanistan. Tom o’bedlam just suggested that “a tasteless Afghanistan game would have the player taking the role of … American troops murdering a Reuters camera crew” – a theoretical example referencing an event from Iraq.

      FWIW 18 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan since September 2001 (11 foreign) plus 3 Afghans since 2007 alongside journalists they were assisting and 15 journalists were kidnapped in 2009 alone. However all of these deaths seem to be attributed to insurgents or bandits with only 2 arising (possibly?) from ‘friendly fire’ during a rescue attempt. (source = Reporters Without Borders, June 2010: http://en.rsf.org/afghanistan-hostages-journalists-peace-06-06-2010,37680.html )

  2. Scuzzeh says:

    I’ve also heard there are some sick games out there that allow you to urinate on our proud military heritage by letting you kill British soldiers while dressed in the guise of a German national-socialist.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      You call that shocking? Haven’t heard of “KZ Manager” then, have you? ;)
      That is a rare example of a game that deserves banning. (Although I generally and without exception condemn censorship.)

    • Kinglog says:

      Barefoot:

      of course your censorship ‘without exception’ lead at least me to investigate KZ Manager, though my Deustch isn’t up to it. Also opened up my eyes to such gems as ‘Niggaz Doom’ and ‘Shoot the Blacks’ – would never have known this stuff existed if it weren’t for you!

      This, at least in USA, is exactly what the free speech amendment is about – not the crap that everybody can agree with.

  3. Drew says:

    Too soooon ;)

  4. Daniel Rivas says:

    Y’know, I had thought this game was a bit weird, but now I know Liam Fox doesn’t like it I think I’ll buy two copies.

    “Un-British.” Good grief.

    • RedFred says:

      Haha that’s what I was thinking. I never realised being British involved invading countries on a whim and killing huge numbers of their innocent population.

    • RedFred says:

      Actually historically my joke may be more accurate…

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      @ RedFred..
      =D Gj on correcting yourself, for such a small country It has been involved in most conflicts in some way or another hehe

    • torchedEARTH says:

      Agreed. Was going to leave this one alone, but it’s a must buy now.

      I just hope I get to pre-order the non-existant WMD but let’s invade anyway DLC.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      @RedFred
      you should see RTS I’m designing, Cromwell in Ireland : To Hell or to Connaught.
      It’s British as fuck.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Wait, we took what you guys were doing and made it dumb. Why are you trying to be us?

  5. CyberPowerUK says:

    About time, I’m sick of being forced to play as a generic western special forces operative. Hopefully being limited to guerrilla tactics will add a bit of a challenge and longevity to titles like this.

    • Nallen says:

      This is multiplayer only as far as I know. Single player is still generic western special forces.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yeh, this is purely multi-player. The Developers have been pretty clear on that – indicating that that there is a huge difference in how players engage mentally with single player and multi-player. IE Multi-player doesn’t really matter who their playing AS because it’s very obviously a game. Or something along those lines.

    • Bobsy says:

      OH MY GOD! Acclaimed PC Retailer Cyberpower Systems has come out in favour of the Taleban and radical Islam*! CALL THE DEFENCE SECRETARY AT ONCE!

      *allegedly

  6. Ambassador Udina says:

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! *fist clench*

  7. Chris Evans says:

    If you were able to play as the Taleban in single-player mode, then I would see people having more right to get up in arms. It still can be considered a bit tasteless that you can play as the Taleban in mulyiplayer, but nothing to make the Defense Sec make comments on something he hasn’t even played yet!

    • Stephen says:

      It sounds like it’s a bit like how you can play as both RED and BLU in Team Fortress 2. What kind of message does that send to our young people?

  8. rocketman71 says:

    He should be shocked that you’ll have to pay for your own dedis. And no LAN. And full price for what is a BC2 mod.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      If only it was a BC2 mod, then it would have destructible scenery. I could not play a game of this type without it anymore. I’m still happy with BC2 until Battlefield 3.
      I vote Israel verses Hamas for BF3. Easy and Hard mode.

  9. Evil Otto says:

    You Could also play taliban in MW2 and battlefield 2 I believe, the only difference being that they weren’t actually called taliban. I don’t think a small name change should be the catalyst for an enormous controversy.

    • Nick says:

      It was the BF2 Special Forces addon that had one of the sides as Insurgents, yes. (with RPGs and head scarves and whatnot).

  10. Alchenar says:

    Way for Fox to show that the Tories are in touch with anyone between the ages of 18-29.

  11. Kid B says:

    It always seems to be First person shooters that cause this kind of controversy. Wonder if a 2d taliban point and click game would cause so many issue. “Use backpack on group at Civilians” etc.

    • TeeJay says:

      Command & Conquer Generals had the GLA faction using suicide bombers – it managed to upset the Chinese (banned) and Germany (restrictions led to a redesign).

      I seem to remember the review in PCGamer (UK edition) did have a few comments questioning some of the content… I can’t find a link or quotes, however:

      PC Format: “It graphically depicts some very horrid things, and on a fundamental level, trivialises the kinds of international, cultural and religious issues which affect us all. Apart from that, it’s ace.”

      Eurogamer: “The dull gameplay, horrible interface flaws and cringe-worthy political message of the game mark it out as a wasted opportunity, and a very black mark on the copybook of the C&C franchise.”

  12. JackShandy says:

    Jesus christ, does EVERYONE say that? I know our polititians down under are always using the keyword “UnAustralian” like a missile, and America obviously has it big. First I’ve heard “Unbritish”, though.

    “UnChinese” “UnIndian” “UnHimilayan” “UnNewZealandian” “UnMexican” “UnIranian” “UnAfrican”…

    The whole idea behind the word puts a bad taste in my mouth. It’s like saying “This person doesn’t conform to the ideals of our society! Get ‘im!”

  13. Gap Gen says:

    If he were lambasting GTA or another British-made game, this would actually be a good ploy to encourage young people to buy the game. Sadly, I guess his reverse psychology won’t really work given that the money will go to a US publisher and Swedish developers.

    • Stephen says:

      “And dow does money spent on exports show up in the bank?”
      “Exactly the same, my friend”

      It’s a good ploy to get anyone to buy any game. It doesn’t need to be British (or unBritish) to mean that if people spend money on it that money goes to the developer, publisher and so on.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Oh, sure, but if the government is looking for ways to bump up the tax receipts it gets… (although, yeah, it gets VAT on games sold, and probably other import stuff as well. It just can’t tax the publishers directly).

  14. Metalfish says:

    Someone tell him that videogames are the new rock and roll/horror films/crossbow/small pox vaccine* and then tell him how history has judged people who were quick to dismiss such innovations. He had absolutely _nothing_ to lose from not commenting on this game. Fool.

    *Comparisons made for humo(u)rous purposes, crossbows are obviously better than videogames.

  15. Tetragrammaton says:

    Just wait till it comes out Liam. There’ll be blood in the streets I tells ya’.

  16. Kerotan says:

    Ugh, the phrase, “un-british” has always bothered me, does it really mean anything?, and if so is suppressing freedom of choice “British”?

    Also, I’ve never bought the argument of sensitivity, plenty of BRITISH men and women have died in car crashes, but people don’t boycott game companies over that.

    • misterk says:

      Is… is there a game where your goal is to frequently crash your car? I mean I’ve played some driving games that FEEL that way.

      I don’t like politicians getting involved in commentary on something they haven’t played, and it may be MOH is a tasteful comment on the war, or at least an artistic one, something I think call of duty managed a few times over wwii. I suspect, however, that the game might be a little tasteless to be honest.

    • MrPyro says:

      @misterk Burnout Revenge had a variety of game modes that were more about damaging and destroying other cars than racing them: Takedown Mode (knock fellow racers into walls), Traffic Check (crash into non-racing cars, trying to cause the most cash damage), and Crash Mode (pilot a truck into an intersection, crash into something big causing a mass pile-up, then detonate your truck).

    • westyfield says:

      The recent trailer for the new Need For Speed game (was it ‘Hot Pursuit’?) rewarded the destruction of police vehicles. I remember seeing a crash and the words “WRECKED COP!” appear on screen and thinking “WIDOW, FATHERLESS CHILDREN! +5XP!”.

    • Xercies says:

      Surpressing freedom of choice si very british..remember Video Nasties? And its not like in America we have a piece of paper that can grant us it…

    • misterk says:

      Fair point, actually had forgotten about burnout. I think the difference is still obvious though- those games are bloodless and it doesn’t really feel like a crash- I’m not sure if i’m right, but I don’t even remember any drivers being animated (this was in burnout 2 maybe, however), which obviously won’t be the case with this game.

      I do believe that we should allow freedom of speech in all but the most extreme of cases- i.e. if its footage of something illegal taking place, then fine, but I also think this game might be in exceedingly poor taste. I say might because, of course, I have yet to play the game, so maybe this MOH will surprise me with its astonishing taste.

      [incidentally, my most disturbing moment in gaming comes from MOH, possibly the first or second game for the playstation, where the nazi's would surrender and throw down their guns... only to pick them up and shoot you if you let them be. So effectively the game penalised you for sparing prisoners. That was a wee bit distressing]

    • Stephen says:

      It doesn’t feel like a real crash? This is naturally in contrast to how realistic and accurate Medal of Honor is as a simulator for shooting people in a war. You play it with a gamepad or a mouse and keyboard on a computer. You respawn when you die. It’s not anything like war in reality.

      Please recognise this as a glaring double standard.

    • misterk says:

      Ookay there are two points here.

      One: not like a real car crash in that there are no drivers, blood, death, just property damage. Indeed your score is explicitly based on property damage. Thats very different from most shooty games, which try to pretend to be like you’re there. Obviously there is suspension of disbelief required for both, but call of duty is trying to be a lot more real than burnout is. Thats just blatantly obvious.

      Two:No, the contradiction would be if there was a game based around simulating a real car crash- lets say Princess Diana to get emotive, and scoring points based on it, and I was fine with that and not fine with this one in Afghanistan. So its several bits of different! I’m obviously fine with most shooty games, but find one based on something that people are living through right now potentially in bad taste. Now, if it had something artistic and interesting to say, I’d have no issue with it, but its MOH. Its an action game, and just as an action movie set in Afghanistan right now would be in bad taste, so is an action game.

      Once again, I’m not calling for it to be banned, because I don’t believe in doing that, but I am saying that I don’t think its a tasteful or sensible idea.

      The based on a current conflict thing matters. If counter strike was based around the isreali’s and the palestinians then it’d be a lot less tasteful than an unnamed conflict existing in a strange world where everyone buys their weapons just before fighting….

      Also…

    • misterk says:

      I uhh… don’t have an also. Not sure what happened there.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      misterk: you either have freedom of speech for everything, or you don’t have it at all.

      That’s just how it works.

    • misterk says:

      Way to miss my point. To quote me:

      “Once again, I’m not calling for it to be banned, because I don’t believe in doing that, but I am saying that I don’t think its a tasteful or sensible idea.”

      Believing in freedom of speech doesn’t mean I have to like everything! I think the daily mail should be legal but I find it an appalling publication.

      So yes, this shouldn’t be banned, but I still think its poor taste and a poor move by the publisher.

    • misterk says:

      Also, freedom of speech can’t cover libellous material, profiting from illegal activities, or causing a genuine risk to public health

      (e.g., a game which seriously suggests x politician is corrupt without evidence, a game which contains real footage of illegal acts or .. ok for the latter I can’t think of a game example, but the cliched example is shouting fire in a very busy room.)

    • misterk says:

      Not that this game is any of those. Just felt like clarifying myself. I’m done now….

  17. DrGonzo says:

    Wasn’t interesting in this until I found out it makes Tories angry. May have to buy it now. Plus I hate the idea of ‘British-ness’.

    • tim7168 says:

      I have about as much interest in defending the game as I have in playing it. I just object to almost everything about Liam Fox’s jingoistic shit. Appealing to citizenship and British-ness? It’s pathetic.

  18. pinbag says:

    Politics is so full of Poppycock …

  19. Stormtamer says:

    Odd how it’s taken the December 2009 announcement, 2 (or is it 3) months of Multiplayer beta playing as the Taliban, for it to be noticed by the 2 biggest military/political/intelligence gathering nations, so they can get up in arms about it nearly a year late…

    • TeeJay says:

      They save stuff like this up for “slow news weeks” … or at this time of year (August) in the UK a “slow news month”. It gives a government minister a “reason” to get their face plastered in the newspaper – they probably all take it in turns to pranch on a Monday morning and then spend the rest of the week waffling while all the others go off for their summer holidays … plus the newspapers have nothing else to write about either.

      MPs are ‘back to work’ on 6th September – for all of 10 days – but then they takle a break again from 16th Sep until 11th Oct for the “conference season”, where the wannabes from each party in turn mouths off to anyone who will listen and everyone gets drunk and gossips and bitches about each other.

      After that we will have the whole fake drama of the Labour leadership election. It’s all heavily stage managed.

  20. airtekh says:

    I always wonder what the governments of the world will be like in a few years time, with a generation of people who grew up with videogames in charge.

    As usual, the winners here will be EA; who will be laughing all the way to the bank with the free publicity they are getting.

    • TeeJay says:

      “a generation of people who grew up with videogames”

      Unfortunately there always seems to be a new set of self-appointed politicos popping up in student union politics, wiggling their way via public relations firms and ‘MPs reseachers’ and mouthing the necessary rubbish, shovelling their quota of leaflets and doing time on deathly local council committees to eventually be selected for some safe westminster seat.

      Sure these people might play a videogame or two so that they appear vaguely ‘normal’ to the people around them but from my own knowledge of this kind of person it doesn’t really fit into their lifestyle or self-image and they usually fill their time with things that will either benefit their career or that they deem ‘worthy’ or ‘useful’ – or that appear so (plus alcohol, adultery and filling in expenses claims).

  21. Kharnevil says:

    @ Tom Bedlam… I believe there is no such country as Holland, that’s common mistake, in reality North and South Holland are both provinces/counties/states/cantons of the Netherlands, and the possessive is Dutch

  22. Kali says:

    I wasn’t going to buy this, but just to piss of Liam Fox, I’ve preordered it.

    Fuck you, Liam.

  23. Gunsmith AKA NanosuitNinja says:

    Im english and I dont care what side i play on, even if BLU are facist bastards.

  24. LewieP says:

    Clearly a game where virtual people get killed is worse than sending real people to be killed.

  25. deejayem says:

    I’ve always thought Liam Fox is a failure of a human being, but … I also find myself very uncomfortable with the idea of real-world conflicts being played out on computer screens, no matter which side you play from. We play games for fun, and it’s at the very least magnificently bad taste to take fun from such a horriffic situation (not to mention pretty cynical of games publishers/developers to profit from the suffering of others).

    That said, I would never support a blanket ban. But I do wonder if a certain amount of examining of conscience is required here …

    • deejayem says:

      Balls – “horrific”, sorry!

    • Dolphan says:

      This. I’ve no respect for Liam Fox whatsoever, but the whole thing makes me deeply uncomfortable. Turning wars from history into entertainment I can understand, though I sometimes wish we thought about it a little more. Turning a war that’s going on right now into entertainment is another step entirely (not just because you can play as the Taliban, btw – I find the assumption that it would all be fine if you could only play as our troops pretty irritating).

    • cliffski says:

      Well said. I enjoy a good FPS as much as the enxt gamer, but I’m not keen on treating a war we are currently fighting, as entertainment.
      There are thousands of people in the UK right now who have loved ones and friends out there, in the desert with a hell of a lot of people trying to kill them. We can argue the rights and wrongs of the war all we like (I was strongly against the iraq war, and would bring our troops home immediately from both countries), but the fact remains that the British and American soldiers out there getting shot at tonight don’t have any say in the matter, and are prepared to put their life on the line.

      Maybe in 2030, or 2040, we can not worry about portraying this war in an entertainment context. Maybe by 2050 we get the taliban version of allo allo, but while people are out there fighting and dying, i don’t think it’s the wisest choice for a game. Gaming is a scapegoat for the worlds ills at the best of times. Stuff like this doesn’t help our case.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      the fact remains that the British and American soldiers out there getting shot at tonight don’t have any say in the matter

      This is a bit of an aside, but the above is not actually the case. Every soldier out there has a choice.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ cliffski

      You might be pleased to know that there are currently only c.150 British military personnel in Iraq.

      100 at Umm Qasr at the request of the Iraqi Government, helping train the Iraqi Navy (also Royal Navy ships are allowed in Iraqi waters in to protect oil pipelines and platforms).

      40 personnel at the Baghdad military academy training Iraqi military officers.

      The rest are assigned to the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) and the Defence Attaché at the British Embassy in Baghdad.

      source: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInIraqBritishForcesinIraq.htm

  26. Tusque d'Ivoire says:

    I wonder if it wouldn’t be even slightly more controversial, if everyone in the multiplayer played on the – umm – western side… wouldn’t that mean brits, french, germans, americans etc shooting each other? Did someone ask the above fellow if he’d have preferred that?

    • RaveTurned says:

      Or they could have always depicted players on your team as western troops and players on the other team as Taliban. IIRC America’s Army did this. It stirs up it’s own amount of controversy, but nothing that would make it into the mainstream press.

  27. int says:

    I am shocked by this, but also that you can play as Italy and Germany in RUSE. That’s extremely offensive.

  28. Alexander Norris says:

    Someone please inform Liam Fox that we are shocked and disgusted that a member of HMG could be this ignorant and still be in power.

    Oh, wait. Tories.

  29. Cooper says:

    That guy’s right.

    We all know that virtual killing in virtual simulations of possibly, but not exactly, recreations of Afghanistan or, more often, Madeupistan, is ONLY distatsteful if the victims are virtual British soldiers.

    Killing virtual brown people with beards or or virtual slitty eyed yellow people. That’s fine.

    Heck, we built an empire on killing those that looked slightly different.

    Rule Britannia!

    • Deuternonomy says:

      Lol there’s nothing more pathetic than a self loathing westerner. Too bad you haven’t shed any tears at the subway bombing, 9/11 or the fall of Constantinople.

      Do you think the Mughals in India or the Mongols in Europe were ugly racist beasts as well? At least the legacy of British Empire more than just rapine and destruction. Although in your eyes democracy, freedom of speech, and rational inquiry are all suspect as inventions of the great satan (or possibly they are not invenions of the evil Europeans at all, instead stolen from tribes living in harmony with nature right? RIGHT?)

    • TeeJay says:

      “we built an empire on killing those that looked slightly different”

      Not really. “British troops” included a vast number of troops from India who fought in Afghanistan, China, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and inside India itself for 300-odd years.

      Even today c. 7,000 soldiers in the British Army are foreign nationals (eg Fiji, Jamaican, Ghanian), another 3,500 are Nepalese Gurkhas and 16% of Northern Ireland recruit are from the south. Total = c.10%

      It would be more accurate to say the British built an empire by opportunistically making friends and trading with many people who looked ‘slightly different’ and recruiting them to help kill the French, the Spanish (and their ‘recruits’). Also while there was violent genocide in places, far more died from diseases like smallpox which raced ahead of the Europeans themselves.

  30. Sobric says:

    I suppose technically it is “un-British” (lol) since it’s developed and published by Swedish/US companies and doesn’t feature British soldier’s in it. Ban this sick filth!

    My view:

    1) I know a guy in 40 commando who’s out there atm, and I must admit to feeling slightly uncomfortable about playing the Taliban. However, when I thought about it a bit more I suspect that said Marine would probably really like the game anyway.

    2) This is a lot of hullaballoo about a game that is complete shit anyway.

    • Stephen says:

      My personal reaction to having friends in Afghanistan was just not to play games about fighting in the country in general. You wouldn’t have your actual real life mate in the game to shoot at so the difference between shooting at one skinned model and another skinned model is just an Us v Them issue.

      Although, to dear Mr Fox, note how I’m just not playing the games rather than calling for them to be banned. What a massive idiot that minister is.

  31. Mac says:

    @Torqual

    How about a game where you have to create a fictional story to convince parliament, and the general populace that you need to invade another country to ensure that they do not launch chemical weapons, when all along you are planning a land grab for oil?

    • Mac says:

      Gah – reply failure …

    • Torqual says:

      90% of all videogames are about killing, destroying or hurting things. So what. In Master of Orion i could destroy whole star systems. You are right. I like grand strategy games, because of the blood and gore factor in them.

      It has bad taste to use a raging conflict for marketing purpose. No one would be offended when Russian and Korean Soldiers would be fighting in the new Medal of Honor. Its just a very cheap way of EA to get some attention.

    • Torqual says:

      90% of all videogames are about killing, destroying or hurting things. So what. In Master of Orion i could destroy whole star systems. You are right. I like grand strategy games, because of the blood and gore factor in them.

      It has bad taste to use a raging conflict for marketing purpose. No one would be offended when Russian and Korean Soldiers would be fighting in the new Medal of Honor. Its just a very cheap way of EA to get some attention.

      I am not against videogames at all. Perhaps against videogames where you pilot reallife predator drones and bomb civilian cars and homes in iraq or afghanistan. But thats another story.

      Have a nice day

    • Torqual says:

      Sorry for the double post.

  32. Shodan says:

    Ban this tasteless/sick filth etc.

    If they’d have simply called the Taliban something else the game, i.e Middle East Team, Insurgent, nobody would have cared. All this is doing is creating some brilliant advertising for the game.

  33. Guildenstern says:

    Isn’t it the case that he can’t actually ban anything?

  34. Taillefer says:

    There’s no way anybody would possibly buy this! Therefore we need to ban it so I can’t be proven wrong…

  35. Markachy says:

    I’m with deejayem on this one. There are 2 sides to this arguement, and throwing up the “at least they don’t send REAL soldiers to their death like our government!!11!!!” is counterproductive, naive and immature.

    The fact is this is a war still being waged, with real husbands, sons, fathers, brothers etc out there dying at the hands of the Taliban, and vice-versa. It is completely unnecessary to make a game about this specific war while it is being waged, and the decision has been consciously made by the developers(/publishers?) simply to make cold hard cash via public outrage giving it column inches.

    I wouldn’t buy it simply to give 2 fingers to the makers, who are UNDOUBTABLY exploiting this raw war just to make more money for themselves. Anyone pre-ordering this because of Liam Fox’s comments are simply doing exactly what the publishers hoped, like sheep.

    In theory, it isn’t any different to making a game based on WW2. In reality, the fact that a solider could die there tomorrow makes it a different matter. A much more sensitive matter.

    • choconutjoe says:

      Well said. All the “postmodern cultural relativist/I’m so clever ’cause NATO soldiers and terrorists are all the same thing” mumbo-jumbo saturating this comments section is blind to the very real suffering of people who’ve lost friends and family in this terrible conflict: British, Afghan or otherwise.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I do think there’s something a bit weird and exploitative about this game, and turning a contemporary war into multiplayer Team Deathmatch.

      What’s irritating about this is not so much Fox’s reaction to the game, but his attempt to define what’s British and what is not. Always guaranteed to stick in the craw, especially when it comes from someone whose worldview and moral frameworks are so repulsive.

      Also, his desire that it be banned. His ilk are always keen to cut back on the state until they want to use it to assert themselves.

    • deejayem says:

      Daniel Rivas, agreed entirely – Fox is an opportunistic toad, and the notion of a ban is entirely offensive. But the choice of an ongoing conflict for the setting of the game is also opportunistic, exploitative and (to my mind, at least) pretty offensive, and it’s the kind of thing gamers should consider a little more critically. If gaming is going to grow up, it needs to start thinking of current events as more than fodder for another balls-and-bullets whizz-bang shooter, and genuine controversy as more than a means to grab cheap publicity.

      Now, if only we knew a collection of respected, award-winning games journalists who could be persuaded to bring these concerns to a wider gaming audience …

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Markachy: “real husbands, sons, fathers, brothers etc out there dying at the hands of the Taliban”
      …and women like Corporal Sarah Bryant

  36. Bobsy says:

    I wonder if Empire: Total War is potentially Un-British? In that game you can play as the Islamic Ottoman Empire, invade Britain and convert it to Islam.

    More to the point, is Doctor Fox aware of Counterstrike, in which players routinely take on the guise of terrorists and shoot at the British SAS? If Doctor Fox is NOT aware of this game, and does not ALREADY take a similar stance towards it, then his arguments against Medal of Honor is baseless and lacking in research.

    In order to make such strong comments against a product, and call for it to be banned, it implies an intimate knowledge of either the product in particular (which we can safely assume he has not played, unless EA’s policy is to send pre-release versions of their games to prominent UK politicians ahead of journalists) or the product’s genre in general. I challenge him to produce prior knowledge of the games industry. Prior knowledge, mind you.

  37. Malagate says:

    I am bemused by the idea of “Un-Britishness”, especially as I have a tendancy to associate Britishness with being kind of rubbish. Is this tory from the 19th century or something?

    It is funnier to think that it would be a-ok with Liam Fox if you could only play as British troops, which by extension means that each country should only be able to play as their troops. At least that would mean more WW2 games without an American player character, although WW2 games in Germany would be very different.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I associate Britishness with Antiques Roadshow so clearly any game that does not star Michael Aspel is very much not very British at all.

  38. itsallcrap says:

    I really don’t think we should pay any attention to this sort of crap any more – it’s a shame that so many like to use computer games as a pantomime baddy but nothing ever comes of it.

    For “I am disgusted and angry,” read “I anticipate that a majority of the lowest-common-denomitator voting public would like me to be disgusted and angry.”

  39. Dean says:

    The idea response: Mr Fox, you are absolutely right. We are changing the multiplayer so it features two teams of British soldiers shooting at each other instead. Then no-one has to play as the Taliban!

  40. Dreamhacker says:

    1. Immediately resign from your post.
    2. Apologize to world.
    3. Proceed to live in exile.
    4. Spend the rest of your life repenting your stupidity.

    You have your work cut out for you, Dr Fox.

  41. bill says:

    If there are British and Americans in the game, surely that’s all you need for shooting – generally with the americans bombing the brits from a distance.

    More seriously, I personally think this is a dumb game, which is too soon, insensitive and heartless, and will upset some families.

    But I don’t think it’s “un-British”, and I never support retailers deciding to “ban” things that they don’t happen to agree with. I personally have no intention of buying it, and I can’t see why many others would either – but in the end it’s just a game and it’s up to the individual.

  42. Eagle says:

    haha! In the video, the player is so fond of killing the taliban soldier, that’s why he died ;) Medal of Honor Taliban Assault should be loved by british soldiers I think as it is against the Taliban, I wonder why they’re against!!!

    Eagle.

  43. el Chi says:

    Someone should tell Liam Fox that “un-British” is different to “un-American.” Un-British is skipping queues & being at ease with public displays of emotion.

  44. Mavvvy says:

    EA dont have the maturity or the sensitivity to portray this with taste. When its all about kill streaks and monster kills in a game about a war going on currently (and using Linkin Park), the subject matter and the relatives of those who have lost a loved one’s are not being treated with respect.

    They have simply missed the point and are exploiting all sides to make a pretty penny. Its too soon when people are still getting bits of their flesh blown off.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Agreed, if you want the game to be over the top nonsense, give it a Sci-Fi setting. It would be the exact same game underneath but in much better taste.

      It is clear EA are only doing this for the controversy and I would urge anyone to think twice before buying it, particularly if you are only buying it because an idiot politician told you not to, that is just doing exactly what EA want.

  45. Caiman says:

    What’s shocking is how utterly predictable this all is. EA knew exactly what it was doing here, calculating this for maximum negative publicity and hence maximum sales.

    “Smithers! It’s all going according to plan “

  46. l1ddl3monkey says:

    I was going to say that censoring ideas because they are distasteful is equally “unBritish” – then I remembered that we have hate speech laws and that we banned “video nasties” in the 1980′s and realised that actually stamping on freedom of speech is very British.

  47. The Tupper says:

    It’s one of those headlines that writes itself, ain’t it?

    ‘XXXX Politician ‘Shocked’ by XXXX game’.

  48. mbp says:

    In all probability this is a fine example of ridiculousness on both sides. A game company being deliberately controversial in order to get their name in the papers a foolish politician who is willing to play along and criticise a game he hasn’t even played for the exactly the same reason but what if…

    What if a game company made a genuine effort to portray both sides of a real life conflict with all of the conflicting motivations and confusing morality. What if they made a game that was genuinely controversial because it told the truth and not just because it was trying to be sensational. I am sure politicians would complain about that game too but perhaps it might help us all to better understand war and why we do it.

  49. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    @ Dominic

    I didn’t mean it to come across like that, but imo, casualties are to be expected… it is warfare afterall..
    Shouldn’t be fighting in the first place, but in any kind of warfare there will be casualties..

  50. de5me7 says:

    Liam Fox = facist scum

    conducts a defence review of all our armed forces, lays off lots of troops despite being currently at war. But refuses to put tridant in the review because its vital for its role of sitting in the atlantic sinking cash.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Sorry, is “facist” an accepted alternate spelling? I swear I see it more often than “fascist”.

      Fascism is – I’ll quote the big MW here – a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

      Liam Fox isn’t a fascist. He’s just a nasty, smug little right-wing politician. Save the word for people who deserve it.

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