Afghan Wig-Out: Medal Of Honor Beta

By Alec Meer on September 24th, 2010 at 12:30 pm.

I’m not sure what the fine array of gentlemen, gentlewomen and gentleothers who frequent this site of ours think of EA’s upcoming Medal of Honor reboot. However, you may put your opinion, whatever it is, to the test in ten days’ time. On October 4th, EA are holding a three-day open beta for their Call of Duty rival. They appear to have two intentions:

1) To make you buy the game
2) To clear up “any misunderstanding about the patriotism”

Woah. Woah. Woah. If you’ve clicked ‘read the rest of this entry’ because you think I’m going to head off on some sprawling rant about whether or not letting folk play as Taliban troops in MOH’s multiplayer is a boo-boo, you’re greatly mistaken. I may have played a lot of shooters, but I ain’t no soldier.

What I do think is that both the mainstream reporting and EA’s attempted defence of the option haven’t done anyone any favours. EA looks bad, the press look like slavering, story-hungry parasites, and most of all it encourages non-gamers to think games and the people who make and play them are vile.

The question to answer is whether the game manages to justify including something that incited so much uproar and hype, whether it was intended or not. We’ll find out on October 4, basically. Here’s EA boss Frank Gibeau’s hilariously carefully-worded statement.

“We also hope that by offering the Multiplayer Open Beta, we can clear up any misunderstanding about the patriotism and respect that are the foundation of this game,” he said.

“The Medal of Honor franchise has always shown extraordinary reverence for American and Allied soldiers — this game is no exception.”

We’ll link to the beta once it’s up, presumably on the official site.

It’s PC-only (for now), and includes two maps and two modes: Kunar Base in Sector Control and Shahikot Mountains in Combat Mission.

So yeah.

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63 Comments »

  1. Wipa says:

    They could have gone for an America’s Army style thing. Where the opposing team appears as terrorists, and your team looks like the army.
    Or even just called them Terrorists instead of taliban.

    Two simple things that wouldn’t have caused a shitstorm. Makes me think they wanted it for the media coverage.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      The management? Maybe…but I believe designers wanted so accuracy. And maybe they are tired of this whole “light treading” MC/PC fever as much as I am. People used to have BALLS.

    • Consumatopia says:

      They could have gone for an Ingsoc style thing. Where the white pieces always win.

    • A-Scale says:

      It always seemed a bit strange, the AA system, in that both sides see the other as the terrorist. Sort of tacitly justifies the claim that Al-Qaeda is as legit as the US army.

  2. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    It’s just a game…that’s the only argument needed.
    Man, could you imagine the uproar if you could play the opposing side in SP? But all in the right time, I’m still waiting for a FPS that let you play as a Wehrmacht (not SS/SA) soldier in SP.
    If we can play as a Red army soldier, why not a Wehrmacht one? They were both serving a totalitarian regime.

    On that note, I’d probably never want to live next to metro station called “Stalingrad” like in Paris. This whole axis vs allies is a load of binary bull.

    • Risingson says:

      “It’s only a game”. “It’s only fiction”. Those are very dangerous reasonings – independently of the Medal of Honor game, which I don’t know and therefore I will have no opinion about it -, as you can obviously reflect topics as child rape (as exploitation, not as “Mysterious Skin”, I mean) or violent xenophobia from the main character and excuse their use for being just fiction. You have to put a limit, a line, somewhere.

    • Latro says:

      Dunno Risingson (hi!), I normally put the line on me and my wallet.

      Fiction/game looks like it is about or depicts something I dont agree with? No money from Latro. Probably rant from Latro saying how it is disgusting.

      The kind of uproar this thing and others generate are about putting the line on “lets censor”, either self-censorship or after the fact. And, no, thanks. That ends up with self-righteoust cretins enforcing the most vapid, stupid or conservative point of view as the only one possible.

      Everybody has the right to be as disgusting and idiotic in fiction and opinion as they want – and receive the criticism due to their disgusting idiotic opinion, I think.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Could be, but I don’t think the line lies anywhere near in preventing a game to have a opposing force in MP named and portrayed after a real life terrorist org. It’s bad when it’s Afganistan and Taliban, but it’s ok when it’s some anonymous country in the Middle-East and generic bearded men with AKs…That’s not right.

    • Wipa says:

      Day of Defeat lets you play Wermacht.

      Captcha: CSSK lol.

    • adonf says:

      hey, i live near the stalingrad metro station in paris and it’s quite nice actually. thanks for reminding me that it’s named after a battle the russian people won against nazism, cuz i never think about that.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      The battle was a Pyrrhic victory, and besides Communism winning again Nazism… Meh, there would be no difference if Nazism won, except for parties directly involved.

    • Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

      The battle was a Pyrrhic victory, and besides Communism winning again Nazism… Meh, there would be no difference if Nazism won, except for parties directly involved.

      I believe Western Europe would beg to differ with that analysis.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Major turning point in the war, shmaw.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      @Risingson An interesting one. Im curious to know where exactly you would draw that line? Personally I think that this leads us down a dangerous path (censorship of fiction) How can you censor something that doesn’t physically exist? and who decides? Personally I believe that in fiction, anything goes if it serves a purpose and is relevant to context.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      @Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says: “I believe Western Europe would beg to differ with that analysis.”

      I believe they would be mistaken. Hitler idea was to assimilate Western Europe but not to kill them off, and preserve some of their culture. And he wanted peace with British and US, of course if they allowed him to keep the spoils. He wanted to kill people of Eastern Europe and Southern Europe (or made part of them slaves) and completely destroy their culture. And initially he even didn’t want to kill Jews, only to remove, but it changed in 1940 after failed talks with West. Stalin idea was to conquer as much as he could, at least Germany and states next to it. And actually he got almost all he wanted in the end.

  3. Lambchops says:

    Patriotism and respect, eh?

    So I guess we wont be seeing “You were killed by Osama with an IED” then.

  4. Shadrach says:

    oooh very nice band reference there :)

  5. Leelad says:

    Modern Warefare is the new WW2

    Boring.

  6. Andrew says:

    @Risingson

    I vehemently disagree! I for one applaud any attempt to realistically render a character whose inner workings or moral compass might differ grossly from that of the culture & mind from which he springs. Lolita, for ex, is a brilliant work first and foremost because of the richness and humanity of a character readers are nevertheless going to condemn.

    That games have now evolved to the point where we might realistically inhabit these characters in a literal sense almost REQUIRES that the characters themselves grow more complex and in some cases contemptible. Otherwise what’s the point?

    • Risingson says:

      Heh, wrong example mister! Lolita is not only incredibly elegant in its matter (i mentioned another example, Greg Arakki’s “Mysterious Skin”, which is MUCH more problematic), but also has, inevitably, some moralizing. I mean, it’s a really wonderful wonderful book which trascends its kind-of-pulpy story, but there’s an end to it and it’s not precisely happy for both main characters, isn’t it?

      And anyway, it’s a book, and two movies, and there’s something which we have not said: it does not matter what is told, but how it is told. Remember the Witcher 2 “big attributes” discussion here some weeks ago, and how exploitation treatment can turn to be just annoying and really inmoral if you don’t take care of the context. After all, it’s all those little details what matter in those kind of discussions. MW2 didn’t give you a choice in that level, and, mild spoiler, the terrorist died, so there was no problem at the end.

      Anyway, don’t take myself too seriously. I’m terribly dickesian at life, and though I enjoy exploitations (Savage Streets, one of my most favourite movies), I usually get very upset at porn movies. I mean, the other day I was watching one, where a male latin-like housekeeper was cleaning the kitchen, the house owner came in the kitchen, started to make the obvious approaches, they had the topical porn movie sex and when that was all over, he ordered the housekeeper to keep on cleaning! Leaving him nude! I mean, how can you do that, you twink? It’s because he’s not a blond german like you? Really annoyed me. There was other one about teachers and pupils where the teacher made all the boys pass having sex with him that also annoyed me. I mean, fantasy is right but. This! This! This is not only illegal, it’s… do you really want this kind of education? What can we expect of our youth when they are taught, in porn movies, that being young, cute and, let’s say, sexually active, is enough for having a formation? What kind of future do we expect with this? Intolerable!

      Ok, I’ve just come from vacation and having a bad day.

  7. Lars Westergren says:

    I’m genuinely surprised every time I’m reminded that in some parts of the world “patriotism” is a word with mostly positive connotations. Personally I’m partial to this proverb:

    “Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them! – Albert Einstein

    • Okami says:

      There’s a nice german proverb used by the radical left:

      “patrioten sind idioten”

      I don’t think I have to translate this.

    • Okami says:

      I’d like to point out that I have nothing against patriots in general, some of my friends even are patriots!

    • Deuteronomy says:

      Lars, I think you confuse patriotism with what is commonly called nationalism. Without individuals willing to put their lives on the line for kin and country, there would be no stable civilization or infrastructure so you can post your erudite thoughts.

      Dulce est decorum est, pro patria mori <—- not an old lie but yes, often abused.

    • rei says:

      Actually, there’s a very thin line separating patriotism from nationalism, and it’s more or less just semantics. Patriotism is ugly, just like anything that draws lines between people and suggests that the people living on this side are different (invariably better) than the people living on that side. There’s only people, regardless of what your government would like you to believe.

    • Deuteronomy says:

      Rei,

      So how do you propose how we should decide on moral norms? We don’t have a world government, and there is none coming soon. Patriotism is nothing more than faith in foundational institutions and ideas. Even if people are not fundamentally different, the “firmware” they are running, ie Culture, is. Drawing lines is acceptable and even necessary. Again, yes you can have both false true lines, it’s up to citizens in a democracy to decide for themselves.

      Without the feeling of patriotism, there is no way anyone would be motivated to fight and die in war, or give up the personal benefit of corruption in peace.

  8. clive dunn says:

    ‘the patriotism and respect that are the foundation of this game’

  9. Bowlby says:

    “The question to answer is whether the game manages to justify including something that incited so much uproar and hype, whether it was intended or not.”

    I think the safe money is on no.

  10. qeloqoo says:

    Hope some day world society will understand that there are no ‘good guys and bad guys’ in wars.
    (Yeah, I know that my hopes are too high).

  11. joe balls says:

    No one wins a war.

    Here endeth the lesson for today.

  12. mavvvy says:

    @ qeloqoo,

    You read my mind was about to post something along similar lines . ATM the media would have us believe we are living in a Star Wars universe…… except without the force :(

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      If its a Star Wars universe then should we support tha Taliban? I mean they’re a plucky band of rebels facing off against a vastly more powerful empire that has star destroyers (super carriers) and a death star (America / Russia each have enough nukes to make the planet uninhabitable).

      That sounds a bit hostile to you but that is not my intention, it is just worth thinking about how reality contrasts with what Hollywood portrays as good and evil tropes.

      As for the controversy about the Taliban being named instead of still being in a game with a more generic name its all very silly. The US and her allies have killed far more people in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Taliban ever managed to.

      Plus yesterday I caught The Living Daylights on telly yesterday, a James Bond film set in Afghanistan where the Taliban are the good guys (back when the west was arming them against the Soviets) and yet no one was offended by that at all.

    • mavvvy says:

      No man I dont find your post hostile at all.

      You hit the nail on the head with what I was saying. From history, the bombing of Dresden, the firebombing of Japan 100,000 civilians burned to death in a night. Were these the things that “rightious” nation’s should do?

      There is no black and white, only shades of grey.

      What does have this to do with the game…… I think if a game was developed in which you could play as a civilian trapped in a conflict zone, that would not be an exploit of the conflict for cash and sensational publicity.

      Because right now with “kill streaks” flashing up on a screen, while 2,000 Kilometers away people on all 3 sides are dying, just seems a tad distasteful.

    • Lambchops says:

      Don’t forget Rambo III!

    • mavvvy says:

      Best last 20 minutes of a movie EVAR!

      Or the “hello sir I believe I have your throat in my hand”

  13. I3LiP says:

    Not only do I think it is excusable for fiction to explore controversial topics, and potentially offensive ones, but also incredibly important. I think we forget that many people play games because they want to explore areas and ideas that they cannot, or would not feel comfortable doing, in real life. It allows them to assess the morality and implications of a given scenario in an environment that is safe, and without the high consequences of the real world.

    The belief some people have that just because someone wants to play as an evil character, or indeed play with questionable ethics, means that they are aspiring to such acts in real life or are inspired in some way by it is rediculous. As gamers we are aware that there is a break between reality and fiction. Playing GTA does not turn us into psychopathic criminals, and in much the same way playing as the taliban will not turn us into terrorists. Infact I would even go as far as saying that playing as the oppressor can sometimes help us to abhor their real life counterparts even more. I think playing as a Wehrmacht soldier would highlight the horrors of the Nazi regime much more potently than simply gunning down a thousand nameless Nazi’s.

  14. Tei says:

    Please, everyone, forget that stupid idea about what side of the war you are able or unable to play.

    We live in modern democracies,and this include do things that some people will not like. Theres always something some people will not like. I am ateist, and I don’t like the religions people and the religion people ideas, and practices. The religions people don’t like my ideas and practices. Is all cool, and I have some religion minded friends. Is not a problem.

    If you remove the taliban side from a game, why not remove the usa one? maybe some taliban friends or taliban family will play the game. It would be insensitive to these people. So you end making games devoid of any present cultural reference, what is bad.

    We want games to show the world, the factions, and the conflicts. Is important and interesting, and If some people don’t like it, tough luck.

    Tolerance is another name for Intolerance. What If some dude don’t like jews? sould we remove jews from all movies and books, to make that dude happy? No. I say no.

    So Talibans must be *IN* these games.

  15. Spinoza says:

    Patriotism is excuse for violence. Violence is a method of ignorant and the weak. My self-righteousness is slightly nauseating. So there.

  16. Spiny says:

    “Patriotism is the belief that your country is superior to all others because you were born in it.”

    -George Bernard Shaw

    • Saiko Kila says:

      This. Patriotism is way overrated.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      True.

      But in the U.S.A. patriotism is inherent in the culture, and taught in the schools, in a way that many other people either wouldn’t understand or would find horrifying. And that fact is essential to understanding the context of this discussion – Americans suddenly realised that war games allow players to choose a side, and to pretend to do things which really aren’t very nice.

      Throught the sleet and drizzle you can hear the sounds of soldiers
      The Kalashnikov and splutter on a sunny day
      From the East of Middle to the North and South of Nowhere
      People earn their bread and butter in some funny ways

  17. dustygator says:

    “What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can’t all be worth dying for.”

    -the old man from catch-22

  18. Tengil says:

    I really can’t see why playing a Taliban fighter would be more offensive to anyone’s sensibilities than playing a soldier in the American army.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I actually think this is less offensive than say Arma’s enemies. Oh we’re fighting Takistani’s are we? That just seems a bit racist. ‘Oh yeah we’re fighting some middle easterns coz they are always starting wars!’ Or we’re fighting the Taliban, a real enemy, because ya know, we’re actually fighting them.

  19. The Juice says:

    I’m not exactly sure what EA hopes to accomplish by this.
    Whether you agree with it or not, I haven’t seen too many news stories that inaccurately portrayed the MP. I played the Beta and there really isn’t much more to it than either playing as US forces or the Taliban. So unless they pulled an America’s Army after the controversy and the opposing side now always looks like the Taliban and you always play as the USA, I’m not quite sure why they are bothering to do this.

  20. hamster says:

    Well MOH depicts armed conflict between the soldiers of one nation and (not strictly) the soldiers of another. I wouldn’t consider something like that to be in bad taste. I think you could only make the argument that the thing is discomforting when you have Taliban planning missions on bombing civilians or whatnot.

  21. DrGonzo says:

    It seems people don’t want to let us play a real enemy, though I can’t figure out why. Is it because people don’t like to be reminded that it’s human beings we are responsible for killing out there?

  22. Fabian! says:

    We humans sure are simple, simple animals. The majority of people reading this blog – all gamers, I expect – ought to be used to the odd deranged politician denouncing video games as something dangerous and inherently immoral. Yet we see the same people in this very comments-section, about ready to start burning books and calling for censorship the second they come across something that does not directly coincide with whatever set of morals they personally subscribe to.

    I’m talking specifically about people here who imply the only reason the novel “Lolita” is acceptable, is because everything goes horrible in the end for everyone, and the moral of the story satisfies the readers’ private, little revenge fantasy. That shit is just not right. “We have to put the line somewhere”, is a very, VERY dangerous sentiment. – Not to mention, it goes hand-in-hand with the “Violent games causes people to kill each other in real life” -argument. Censoring fiction, can, by its very nature, err dangerously close to Orwellian style thought -policing. It is NOT okay.

    Back to the comments EA made about their attitudes towards Taliban, the Afghan war and all that. This probably says a lot about me, but when I read they wanted “to clear up ‘any misunderstanding about the patriotism’”, I thought: “Oh, that’s nice. They wanted to make sure people didn’t think they were militant-nationalist, jingoist cunts who treated American troops with almost cliché-ridden dignity and respect, while at the same time having the player massacre baby-eating, liberty-hating evildoers by the bucketloads. They want to make it perfectly clear that they are going to treat people on both sides of the conflict with humanity and a degree of respect.” Then, of course, I read their actual comment and my faith in the human race dwindles just a little bit more.

    “The Medal of Honor franchise has always shown extraordinary reverence for American and Allied soldiers — this game is no exception.”

    But all those other soldiers, though? Germans, Afghans and just about all other peoples this Glorious Nation has tussled with, in the past? Evil, inhuman orks, all of them, with not even remotely as much right to live as we have.

    Sometimes I see what’s going on in the world, and almost forget this is 2010.

    • Nallen says:

      “The Medal of Honor franchise has always shown extraordinary reverence for American and Allied soldiers — this game is no exception.”

      Yes this was the bit that made me especially nauseous. How far removed from saying “The Medal of Honor franchise has always shown extraordinary reverence for white capitalists — this game is no exception.” is that statement, really?

    • Fumarole says:

      Amen to that.

    • Risingson says:

      “I’m talking specifically about people here who imply the only reason the novel “Lolita” is acceptable, is because everything goes horrible in the end for everyone, and the moral of the story satisfies the readers’ private, little revenge fantasy. That shit is just not right.”

      If you really want to discuss, first, reply saying my name, second, try to understand what you read – my opinion, which is not what you say here -, and third, put your prejudices away. And I’m being polite.

      I really hate people that, when you say that not everything is black or white, puts you in a stereotype and grabs morality and sensitiveness as their flag.

  23. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    @adonf:
    It is a city named after a war criminal, totalitarian dictator and horrible public figure nonetheless.
    And Russia was surprise-attacked by their former ally they were helping to get to power, remember?
    They may have been on the same side in the end, but the blood of millions can’t be washed away easily…if ever.
    @Saiko:
    yep…how many lives were lost in gulags even after the war? In political processes? Far too many and we shall never know the final number.

    @Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA:
    Well, EASTERN wouldn’t. Maybe some modern countries would benefit from having a taste of totalitarian oppression to learn a thing or two.

    • ToxicDeepeyes says:

      Firstly, Stalin never trusted Hitler, he knew eventually Hitler would turn on him, He used the Nazi-Soviet pact to buy time for the soviet union, well before the Nazi invasion the Red army was undergoing massive reforms to be able to counter a German attack and after the Success of the Germans in Poland and France this program was accelerated. However Bolstered by their Victories the Germans invaded much sooner then Stalin anticipated.
      Seriously as well, the Stalinist era while terrible really was nothing to what would have happened had the Nazis won. Hitler had designs on marching all the way to India and beyond,and of turning the Slavs into a barely literate slave race. Stalinist communism while bad was a million times better then the alternative.
      Also regarding the regime having the blood of millions on their hands, what about the cold war period and American interference in Bolivia,Chile,Argentina,Honduras,Uruguay, Iran, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. Hundreds of thousands of people died and were tortured because of US supported puppet regimes to promote and make safe American interest regardless of how the local people democratically felt. Like an earlier poster said, all the world is varying shades of gray.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      It is not grey. It is the colour of old dried blood.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      The whole “Stalin was just being crafty” thing might be more sympathetic if he didn’t invade Poland, too.

  24. Lifebleeder says:

    I’m in the United States Army. I returned from Iraq a little over a month ago, and I played the first MoH Beta while I was there and I see absolutely nothing wrong with the game whatsoever. It’s a game friends, it’s not advocating killing people. It’s a game about a conflict, in that conflict these two sides are fighting, here it is. The whole patriotism thing is mind boggling as well, as someone said AA uses Terrorist instead of Taliban, I think MW2 uses what, Russians? So it’s okay for those two groups to shoot U.S. Soldiers, but you put a turban on someones head, make him look middle eastern and call him the Taliban and your suddenly unpatriotic, I don’t understand.

  25. Mr Chug says:

    Predictions:
    - It will be 0.00003 seconds before an [Al-qaeda] clan forms with names consisting entirely of real life terrorists.
    - There will be an average of 5 Osama Bin Ladens on any given server.
    - This story will surface again and again until 2 weeks after the game is released, at which point everyone will get bored and go protest against something else.
    - It may be a little similar to MW2.

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