Medal Of Honour Renames Taliban Team

By Quintin Smith on October 4th, 2010 at 8:56 am.

Know what I'd love to play? Medal of Dishonour. I think that'd be fun.

Apropos of what Medal of Honour developers Danger Close are calling “Feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers,” (as opposed to feedback from all over the place) the side fighting the US Army in the game’s multiplayer is being renamed from Taliban to Oppposing Force. Executive Producer Greg Goodwich went on to say that there would be no changes to the multiplayer itself, meaning the character models are staying unchanged and IEDs will remain a weapon of choice. Full statement after the jump.

It’s a fairly unsurprising turn of events, given that unlike Call of Duty or Medal of Honour’s traditional settings Afghanistan is still a warzone where people are still getting shot/gibbed/depressed. It means making a totally radical videogame featuring Linkin Park starts to seem like a bit less of a moral grey area, you know?

In the past few months, we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor. We’ve received notes from gamers, active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas. The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. For this, the Medal of Honor team is deeply appreciative.

However, we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our game. 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, and because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.

While this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay, we are making this change for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice – this franchise will never willfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service.

To all who serve – we appreciate you, we thank you, and we do not take you for granted. And to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines currently serving overseas, stay safe and come home soon.

Greg Goodrich
Executive Producer
Medal of Honor

, .

115 Comments »

  1. DSR says:

    “we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor. We’ve received notes from gamers”
    Yeah…

    “active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas.”
    Give me a break! They don’t give a damn about your VIDEO GAME!
    Geez, I’m sure they barely could operate anything more complicated than toaster.

    • user@example.com says:

      I’d make a joke about then being console gamers, but seriously, a lot of military people play games of all kinds. Console games, PC games, handhelds… every so often some pen & paper RPG or board game companies get together to send out a big batch of their games as well.

    • Snall says:

      I live by a major military base and I know 90% of grunts could give a crap about this and the families of the dead wouldn’t even know about it if not for the bad PR/news, but that’s life. I understand them changing it even if I think they shouldn’t of backed down. However MP beta is today so I’ll let the game try to win me over by itself.

      I’m glad a ‘generic’ force killing American polygons is ok anyway…

    • Starsun says:

      As a member of the military, I *do* give a damn about this. Not so much about what they call the bad guys, but that somebody decided for me what might upset my delicate sensibilities(i.e., the exchange services decided that it wouldn’t be sold on military bases). The few gamers I work with couldn’t really care less, but are more excited about the prospect of another fun game to play. I’m not sure who this vocal minority is that EA heard from, but it wasn’t me.

      As for the remark about not being able to operate anything more complicated than a toaster, you’re entitled to your opinion, eve if it is willfully ignorant.

    • hopper says:

      i imagine it’s friends and family of the dead ones..

    • BAReFOOt says:

      @Starsun: Oh I’m sorry if we called you dumb. We should have gone with the truth: Mass murderers, rapists, terrorists, and generally unspeakable-things-doers.
      It didn’t only happen in WWII or Vietnam. There’s no war without it.
      I just can’t have respect for your type anymore, when I had a lovely old grandma in front of me, who was in tears, because she not only had to see the whole neighboring town being driven to a hill, and left to dry out slowly in the sun until dead, but also a child, put on a spit alive, roasted over fire, and eaten.
      I wish I had just made this up. I didn’t. :(
      In this case, it was the Kosovo war. But there isn’t a war, where you can’t find tons of those stories.

      There is a worse thing than dumbness, that fits for people who actually become soldiers.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Starsun: Oh I’m sorry if we called you dumb. We should have gone with the truth: Mass murderers, rapists, terrorists, and generally unspeakable-things-doers.

      This is the funniest thing I’ve read on RPS in a while. Good joke post, barefoot!

    • Snall says:

      @Barefoot Troll: Your right, it’s always better if one side just gives in to the other. Fighting is crazy and never solves anything and of course there’s cannibalism and baby burning for sport in every war because once you put on a uniform or choose a side you become a blood crazed killer…

      …anyway…I can’t help but be a re…developmentally challenged to argue on the internet, luckily I have plenty of free time.

    • DarkFenix says:

      It’s pretty well known that the soldiers themselves aren’t the ones who give a crap about all these games and excessive sentimentality back home (on the whole). They’re the ones who made the choice to sign up after all.

      It’s always the families of the soldiers who incessantly bitch about anything they can find. Insensitive games, unnecessary war, insensitivity in other media, improperly equipped troops abroad. Anything the media feeds them, they snap up and make a lot of noise about it. It kinda makes me sick.

      I’m sure they knew they’d get all this press, I’m sure they knew they were going to change it, but now they’ve milked the moronic media for all it’s worth.

      Barefoot: War is terrible, but also necessary. Making ignorant bigoted generalisations about soldiers is frankly stupid.

    • rrgvwrcda says:

      “Barefoot: War is terrible, but also necessary.”

      That, my friend, is very – VERY – fucking relative.

    • Stu says:

      In my opinion, war is stupid. People are stupid, too.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      “In my opinion, war is stupid. People are stupid, too”

      And love means nothing in some strange quarters.

  2. GT3000 says:

    Oh lord. The very people who’s intelligence regarding the matter that shouldn’t be heeded to is?

    Whatever. It’s not like the Taliban is going to chalk it up as an ideological victory.

    “Looks, my brothers, we have curdled the very will of Electronic Arts’ into changing the name of our digital brothers to OPFOR! Their capitalist will is shirking.”

    O made myself lol.

    • Mr Dyslexic Face Head & Neck says:

      I lol’d because you lol’d. lol

      Also my captcha is hump

      lol

    • BAReFOOt says:

      I think, China raping them with their own medicine (capitalism), is fun enough for US-haters to watch. ^^
      What Soviet Russia didn’t manage in all those decades, China is doing in a few years.
      I’m just sad for the great and smart people that actually have to live in the US, China/NK, or Iran/Pakistan.

  3. CoyoteTheClever says:

    Seems pretty dishonest to me to not admit that they are changing the name for the sake of the US military because they don’t want to get left out in future endeavors with military support.

    Its questionable why it is any better to play as the US military in slaughtering generic soldiers of Afghani ethnicity as though these people don’t have families or loved ones who are saddened by their deaths. It isn’t as insidious as the whole America’s Army deal where you -always- play as the Americans no matter what side you are on, but it is still a pretty bad example of the sort of myopia and unintentional propaganda we receive through video games. There are humans on both sides of the war after all, and its a dangerous road for video game developers to go down, what with appeasing state and military organizations. Already Paradox has problems with appeasing Germany and China over historical issues (Its always a little strange fighting imperial Germany in WW2, and China was never happy with the whole portrayal of the warlords in the game). Appeasing the state by sacrificing parts of the developers ideal vision is a sad thing.

    • Kid A says:

      I really don’t think this is some kind of move to appease the US Military – these games traditionally use ex-servicemen, who often (if they’re from black ops units, certainly, as I believe a fair number of the people EA drew from are/were) have their identities kept out of the way. Not to mention the fact that the game still isn’t (yet) going to be sold in US Army stores on base.
      As for the whole “well, THEY wouldn’t call the Americans “OPFOR” thing – they wouldn’t, but I think that’s a point of view thing. From these guys point of view, we invaded their country. Getting a Killtacular! on some Western Ranger pigdogs would probably seem fairly justified to them. We’re only squeamish about it because that’s our culture these days – odd, given how readily we jumped into games about WW2 or Vietnam, considering the higher casualty rates in both those conflicts.

    • a.nye.123 says:

      I reckon it probably is to keep friendly with the (US) military. They knew the name would be controversial, but they kept it in anyway – however, now they’re faced with actual consequences, i.e. the military not allowing them to record gun sounds, interviews with soldiers, fact-checking with military personnel etc., they’ve backed down.

  4. bleeters says:

    Eh. Fair enough, really.

    Not that the more excitable moral panicing didn’t immediately frustrate me, entirely focused as it was on ‘players adopt role of Taliban and shoot Americans!’, rather than/as well as the other way around.

  5. sonofsanta says:

    Just undermines everything they argued for before, really, and weakens the position of anyone in the future who wants to tread a similar path.

    As others have said elsewhere, it’s the Voldemort effect now; fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.

    Of course, the whole damn thing was just publicity anyway, in the same way No Russian was. I’d be more bothered if I felt there was any sort of integral message at threat here, but when the message is “god we’re so edgy and controversial! Buy our game LULZ”…

  6. Philipp says:

    Haha, Freedom ey? Pathetic.

  7. Dawngreeter says:

    Well, of course. We can not have people act contrary to The Dogma. Although, really, Opposing Force? Why not Filthy Middle Eastern Towelhead Team, Members of Which Are All Deeply Sorry for Betraying ze Fatherland But Are Doing So Only to Allow Right Thinking Patriots to Shoot Them Up?

  8. Joe Martin says:

    So, are they going to change the name of the Allied Forces to avoid upsetting the Afghanistan populace too?

  9. mod the world says:

    They should talk to the families of the hundreds of thousands people killed by the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan and rename the US Army as “Aggressive Force”.

    • yves torres says:

      Signed.

      why get angry at the Taliban if someone you knew got killed in the Afghan (or better American) war? They’re pretty much playing by the rules laid out by the U.S. Army when they decided that Afghanistan needs to go down, even though they’ve been supporting them for a good while before that. People and soldiers get killed in wars, nothing new here. If you’re going to be upset about it, at least put the blame where it’s due, namely the military/government. But yeah, people protecting their lifes from an aggressive trigger happy military force is totally uncalled for.

      I so wish that in the near future some developer had the balls to develop a triple A military FPS where America is the opposing force, as in, the bad guys.

      No matter which side you’re on: war, war never changes.

    • Rinox says:

      “Hundreds of thousands” is a reach, but yes, this is a pretty sad display of dehumanisation of the ‘enemy’. American soldiers have families and friends who may be (understandably) irked at being shot at by the Taliban, but people from Afghanistan are just cardboard killing fodder without any relationships. That about sums it up.

      And yes, most people playing the actual game may not care whether the teams are called “Blu” and “Red” or X and Y, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is move displays a sad state of affairs.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      It isn’t a reach at all, if anything it is an underestimation, over a million people have been killed in Iraq since the US/UK invasion in 2003. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18765.htm But of course the media organisations that kicked up such a fuss about calling the Taliban what they are instead of using a generic name sadly can’t find the time to report accurate casualties figures for those brown people who live in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Rinox says:

      Yes but I wouldn’t exactly say that “the US army killed hundreds of thousands”. Indirectly caused the vast majority of the deaths by creating a spiral of violence and lawlessness, sure.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I see, well that certainly is a comforting technicality for the families of the dead, if indeed it is accurate.

    • Rinox says:

      Jeez, thanks for the sarcasm. I’m not trying to defend anyone here.

    • Rich says:

      It’s an important distinction. A military needlessly killing civilians, by say carpet bombing an area because there might be some hostiles there, is something we should hold the military accountable for. For that there should be courts-marshals, forced retirements and jail sentences. On the other hand, engaging in a war that will have a detribalising effect on the area and then pulling out because the military is unable to achieve their (impossible) task, is the fault of the politicians. They’re the ones who’re to blame for these wars and the resulting (hopefully unintentional) civilian causalities. They’ve got away with it because nothing they did is technically against any international laws.

  10. Xercies says:

    Tch these people have no balls. God Were not going to get that Taliban game are we…it could have been a good game where you play as guarilla fighters trying to tackle westerners.

  11. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    I think it’s strange how people got so worked up over this.

    The name doesn’t really matter to players of the game. It’s nice for a bit of ‘realism’ and context, but ultimately superficial. German players of Wolfentstein knew they were fighting Nazis, but weren’t allowed to see a swastika. For anyone else, why should they care? It’s the same sort of madness as when some crazies in the US wanted to ban Harry Potter, because magic is supposedly evil; “Suffer not a witch to live” and all that.

    Censorship and limitations to freedom of expression are bad, but this is ok if it shuts up those whingebags.

    This is just so EA can tell the press/people who will never play the game that it no longer has the Taliban as a playable option. They’re saying, “We’re sorry you got upset by the bad name, is it better now?”

  12. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    Actually, it has occurred to me that EA have really missed out on some great free publicity. They should welcome the controversy. Embrace it. Fan the flames. They are fools!

    • Drug Crazed Dropkick says:

      What, and do a Modern Warfare?

    • Brumisator says:

      Like this game isn’t a carbon copy of modern warfare anyway.

      *emoticon of a zombie headbutting a wall*

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      Precisely.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      You must be new to games…
      What you describe is the behavior of a real artist. He does not care for “focus group studies” and “cashflow”, but for inspiring people and doing something great.
      EA is the opposite of that.

  13. Drug Crazed Dropkick says:

    At the EG I missed the opportunity to ask difficult questions to various developers. I was going to ask Ubisoft if they’re planning on making me not buy their game (By leaving the Constant Internet in), and I was going to try and get something from EA about this. Sadly I didn’t get the chance to do either.

  14. Osama says:

    Expectable.

    Taliban members also protested against being portrayed in a game with Linkin Park in its soundtrack, anyway.

  15. Kobzon H. Rumph says:

    Hrumph. Last time something about this was posted on here I wrote a comment where I commended the people of America for building a nation where such things are possible. Good thing I decided to sit on it until it’s released then.

  16. Brumisator says:

    So invading forces are OK to be named, but whoever is on the other side is automatically the incarnation of an evil whose name must not be spoken?

    I know history is written by the victors, it’s a shame morals are seemingly too.

    On the other hand, it’s a videogame, why read so much into it…

    • yves torres says:

      it may only be a video game, but the fact that americans are always being portrayed as the righteous heroes who save the day for everyone and every other nation as the incarnation of evil, could very well help in manifesting a certain view of things, especially in the younger generation. in the end, it’s sublime propaganda. unfair as it is and always has been.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Indeed, how often do we see the Americans portrayed as the utter monsters who actually used nuclear weapons on cities. Or the British portrayed as historically the most tyrannical nation ever, conquering a larger empire than anyone else ever (well actually there are elements of that in Americans’ popularised history, but still).

  17. jamie says:

    I dont think they are automatically the incarnation of evil because they were invaded. I think they did some really bad stuff but I dont know…

    • Hikkikomori says:

      @jamie
      This has never been about “bad stuff” happening my friend. You think there is no abundance of ultra suppressive regimes in the world? The righteous America is not going about attacking/pacifying every dictator in the world because he does “bad stuff”.

      This and almost every war in history has been about controlling of the attacker’s (no, not the defender’s) population and money. Moneys, moneys, moneys. Oh so many reach bastards in America because of the war in the middle east.

      You really are falling into the trap of thinking America is righteous and is punishing the bad guys. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • Clovis says:

      Yeah, duh, Jamie, you forgot about all that awesome Afghan ??? that people in the US are rolling around in. We really cashed in on this one!

      Also, you cannot stand up to a repressive regime unless you stand up to every repressive regime in the world at the same time. I’m not saying the US has made great decisions here, but Afghanistan has hardly been a matter of grabbing some oil. Same with Iraq. Where’s all my oil money?

      Granted, this has worked out well for Haliburton, but I do not think these wars are a simple matter of greed.

      Also, nice job on assuming what Jamie knows.

  18. Aerozol says:

    Announce controversial feature. Get media coverage. Remove controversial feature.

    • Jimbo says:

      Change position every day until launch. Give a fraction of income to charity. PROFIT.

  19. Rick says:

    So all WWII games should have “Nazi” or “German” replaced by a title of “guys in snappy grey/green uniforms with MP40s” in respect for those who fought against them? Or perhaps we should ban any novels, films or TV programs that even vaguely deal with modern conflict, start with Occupation, Strike Back, or Green Zone. Its a game, for adults, about Afghanistan. Its the Taliban no matter what you call it.

    The media once again shows its pathetic and fickle nature towards the industry. This Karen Meredith in the first story is no different than the idiots who tried to supress theatre in the 16th century.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Actually it’s “Cyborgs in snappy brown/black uniforms”, and all blood and Nazi-artwork replaced.
      Or at least that’s what they told the German minitrue. ;)

  20. jalf says:

    Interesting, but unsurprising, form of censorship.

    Bit odd, of course, that we allow our games to portray Americans killing people, and Nazis killing people, and Russians killing people. But a game with Taliban killing people is unacceptable.

    Then again, these days the USA does seem more like a warrior cult than a country in any case.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Hmm, the whole censorship thing always reminds me of a certain, hand-raising, brown-shirted, and very evil group of people anyway. But hey. I can’t count how much I head/read a politician (US, German, UK, French, etc) say, that if China does it, then we can too.
      I just wait for the first one to do this but referring to the Nazis: „But totalitarianism worked so well until 1945. It is proven to be successful. Let’s do it!.“

      I can’t stand this world anymore, without seeing people as some form of mindless easily-controllable resource / cattle. I don’t want to. But they seem to like it.

    • teliach says:

      My toughts exactly, US has a for me extremely weird worship towards their military, they can do no wrong, do no evil,are always right and there can’t be critics or they are not patricotic. Is becomng a country build to fuel a warmachine and the warmachine is always hungry.

    • Rinox says:

      It’s not just the US, although they are clearly the extreme case. When I was in the UK a while ago I read in newspapers that British soldiers who had fallen in Iraq or Afghanistan were consistently referred to as ‘heroes’ – not because they had done anything heroic, but because they had died as soldiers.

      In a similar vein, anyone in the US who fulfilled a single service term is named a ‘veteran’, even if they have never seen any real combat. In most of Europe the term veteran is reserved for someone who served in a war afaik.

      Of course, these are all necessary means of propaganda in countries that want to sustain large standing armies. Being labelled a hero if you die and at worst a veteran if you just do service time is a lot more appealing than just reading about deaths and maimings for the youngsters.

    • Misnomer says:

      Veteran is a legal status and yes it is used to apply to anyone who served in the military. The U.S. has a Veteran’s Administration in the government to help provide services and benefits to those who have served in the military. It is not a word like hero and while it gets you some respect in the United States it doesn’t mean the same thing as Purple Heart recipient (even if some of those are questioned).

    • DarkFenix says:

      You’re completely right Rinox, pretty much all the media here in Britain refers to dead soldiers as heroes. Is it particularly heroic to be blown up by a roadside bomb while doing nothing more than driving down a road? No. In my mind the term ‘hero’ is reserved for someone who does something unnecessarily brave. A soldier killed in action was just doing their job at the time. A soldier who runs back into enemy fire to rescue an injured mate is a hero, whether it gets him killed or not.

  21. no says:

    Don’t be silly. The game comes out in one week. The game went to be stamped on discs WEEKS AGO. They didn’t just decide last week to cave in to censorship (a censorship that only applies to games, but no other media).

    THEY PLANNED THIS ALL ALONG.

    Seriously. The people who read this site aren’t stupid. Most gamers who give this much thought at all are far from stupid. We know how the media works and we know how public relations and marketing work. Say that you’re going to use the Taliban so that you get lots of attention and press about your new game that would otherwise be ignored by much of the gaming community who are already occupied with COD and then at the last minute, undermine the whole discussion by caving in (which you planned to do the whole time) and looking like good (or good enough) guys.

    Anyone who thinks this was just a last moment change of heart that “calling the guys doing the killing Americans and calling the guys they’re killing something made-up is totally different than calling one side Americans and the other Taliban” is naive as hell. I bet such people never see the connection in such blatant things as your local ABC television news broadcast doing a five minute “news” segment about “behind the scenes” of a show that . . . just happens to be on that same network, earlier in the evening.

    • Rinox says:

      Perhaps. That doesn’t make the idea behind the switch any more insidious though.

    • bob_d says:

      You’re giving EA far, far too much credit. Given that game developers have never had any problems allowing players to take on the opposing role in every other war game (including some set in Iraq), I really don’t think they expected the shitstorm that was stirred up. It *was* rather unlikely – there were front page articles about “the controversy” which frankly never happens with video game-related stories. Certainly obscure multiplayer features of video games don’t get national attention, normally. Some media outlet decided this was a “major story” and other outlets followed their lead. If that hadn’t occurred, I suspect this change wouldn’t be happening.

    • Stu says:

      Don’t be silly. The game comes out in one week. The game went to be stamped on discs WEEKS AGO.

      That in itself doesn’t necessarily prove anything; it’s something that could be tweaked in a release-day patch (which would of course be mandatory in order to play online). Someone will inevitably examine the on-disc code to check whether this is the case anyway.

  22. John Peat says:

    Rumour has it they’re patching all WW2 games to replace “Nazi” and “German” with “Forces of Doom”.

    Their leader will be renamed “Moustache Ninja” as well…

    Meanwhile, in reality where no-one gives a flying fuck…

    • BAReFOOt says:

      You may be kidding, but in Germany, this was/is the case! Since even drawing a swastika is forbidden here. (It’s seen as being a popular thing for Nazis to draw them on Jewish tombstones. Which happens about once a decade, but is blown up so much, you think it would happen every day.)

      In Wolfenstein and RTCW they removed the blood and made the national censorers* (who don’t seem to notice, that they are the ones acting more like Nazis) actually believe, that all the ingame Nazis were cyborgs. (From outer space, or what?) I kid you not.
      Of course, Austria, as usually, did not care, and sold German-translated copies with full blood and everything uncensored. Everyone with some experience knows this, and usually buys such games from there. :)

      About forbidding everything Nazi: I just call it denial and repression, but they think that actually stops neo-Nazis. Riiight. Two words: Streisand effect.
      Someone should tell them, that you have to understand them, instead of pushing them away, to make them change their mind.

      * Sorry, my English is not good enough to know if this is correct. Looks weird.

  23. Yes says:

    I think it’s 100% wrong to be able to play as a taleban.

    We are at war with this dudes. It would be like being able to play as a nazi as wwII was still unfolding.

    Talibans in this kind of game should only be the enemy, and they should be portrayed as unfavorably as possible.

    • Tei says:

      “We are at war with this dudes. It would be like being able to play as a nazi as wwII was still unfolding.”

      While the war was unfolding, a lot of actors made the german side. Also, german!=nazi, some people where nazi, but big group of the german side where just… german.

      “Talibans in this kind of game should only be the enemy, and they should be portrayed as unfavorably as possible.”

      You don’t want the truth about the “enemy”? you want to be lied about what theres in the real world?, thats maybe Ok for you, but other people want something else.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      How ’bout you people who are at war go do your war shit, eh? And what the fuck are you doing on the goddamn Intarwebz when there’s warrin’ to be done? You chicken, son? You ain’t got the head-lard to go git the war thang done, Timmy?

      You screenshotted now, boy. You done got the mess a-sprayin’. Best not let the sarge see.

    • Rinox says:

      …I think he was being sarcastic.

    • Tei says:

      I think the whole rename thing is a sarcastic joke.

      Can’t be real. No one is that stupid.

    • bob_d says:

      The EA spokesperson went on to say, “Anyone who’s lost loved ones in previous wars can suck it, however. We’ll still be making games where you can shoot Americans in every other conflict, even if it’s only been over for a week. This is because Americans apparently have the attention spans of gnats and don’t care about anything that’s already happened. Also, if you’re a civilian who has been traumatized by any of the conflicts we so flippantly portray in our games, we *really* don’t care, because as far as we’re concerned, you don’t even exist!”

  24. BAReFOOt says:

    Right… because mass-murdering, raping and torturing is just aww-riight, if it’s done by the side you are brainwashed to believe is “the good guys”.

    In war, there isn’t a “good” side. Ever.*
    In this case it’s “greedy motherfuckers who walk over dead bodies, supported by brainwashed cattle” against “power-hungry motherfuckers who walk over dead bodies, supported by mentally ill religious schizos”.
    Pick your side. But don’t ever dare, to call one side better, good or even acceptable!

    And now cue the brainwashed cattle, and religious schizos mooing and blabbing away…
    (And if I weren’t just in the process of becoming a professional… let’s say “cowboy and psychoterapist” [if you know what I mean]… I’d hate them too. But I’ll just wait, smile, and make them do whatever I want later. :)

    ___
    * And from people personally telling me about what they saw in the wars in WW2, Kosovo, Korea, Vietnam, and hearing about others, one thing is for sure: There always is Gulag-style horror. There always is rape and torture and unspeakable things. No exceptions. Not a single war. Because humans are (just) animals too.

    • GT3000 says:

      @BAReFOOt

      * McGowan’s War
      * Aroostook War
      * Pig War
      * Dodge City War
      * Red River Bridge War
      * Turbot War
      * Cod Wars
      * Anglo-Swedish War (1810–1812)

      Feel free to stand corrected at any moment.

      Morals are like plans, they’re the first casualties of any war.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Barefoot, do you support absolute pacifism in all contexts?

      Is your view of humanity such that you think it is impossible for anyone to stick to a moral framework even in the face of absurd and horrible conditions?

      Or indeed, as you say, if humans are “just animals,” are they the sort that cannot make moral decisions, as such talking about a “good” person or an “evil” person in any context is as non-nonsensical as talking about a good or evil tree, or a good or evil rock?

      If the first is the case, then you’re the sort that thinks that it is everyone’s duty to, if they see someone about to be stabbed and killed by a mugger to stand by and let him do it.

      If the second is the case, I feel for you that you’ve had such a life that has left your faith in humanity in such tatters.

      If the third is the case, then why are you upset at all?

      If none are the case, then I’m not really sure what you’re on about.

    • PureUncut says:

      Barefoot:

      Ah yes, insulating yourself from any form of criticism or counter discussion by putting your fingers in your ears and boldly claiming that all who disagree are “brainwashed cattle, and religious schizos mooing and blabbing away…”

      Bravo, you have the whole world figured out and you cannot be proved wrong. I’m sure if you talked to people liberated by opressive regimes they would have a different opinion.

  25. MacCoy says:

    theyve been renamed….but we all still know who the opposing team really are……so does it really matter?

  26. Tei says:

    I have learned a new word “Voldermorted”. Wen you are voldemorted, your name sould not be mentioned by anyone of the tribe.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      Wouldn’t that be a bit tricky if your name actually was Voldemort?

      “Hey, where’s Voldemort?”

      “Shh! don’t say that name, he’s been Voldemorted”

      Good thing the Harry Potter series has concluded…

  27. Rich says:

    I can understand why they did this. I may not agree with it, but I can understand it.
    They could’ve picked a better name though. Opposing Force is just like saying The Enemy, completely dehumanised. Something like Insurgents or Guerillas wouldn’t be a lot better, but it’d be a start.

    • GT3000 says:

      OPFOR is simply the military designation of any enemy force. Be it islamic insurgents, Soviets, Zombies, Nazis, or Alien Invaders.

  28. Rasputin's Own Bear says:

    I demand they remove all guns from the game. Guns are phallic and therefore deeply offend lesbians and feminists.

  29. snake says:

    I think this is a prime example of how modern politics are able to extend their interests even to irrelevant leisure activities such as computer games. It is perfectly acceptable to have an audience play as an american soldier commiting all kinds of unspoken attrocities on groups of frequently stereotyped enemies, usually portrayed with funny accents, sporting ak-47 machine guns, and most of all a certain anti-christian set of immoral values represented by a cruel façade of cliché super-villain actions left without any contextual or social explanation. A faceless dummy to direct your hate towards, without having to concern about an individual identity or a set of particular, different, yet not downright wrong, human values. In fact even official entities such as the US army not only endorse, as they also fabricate similar promotional products that would fall on the same cathegory. But as soon as you’re able to see things on the “enemy side”, suddenly the same people who couldn’t give two shits about the portrayal of senseless acts of violence commited upon an ethically wrong representation of a real or close to reality cultural entity, be it russians, north koreans or afghans, will become very angry and will rush to brand the said product as immoral and against their values, completely disregarding the fact that the original premise was probably insulting to a lot of people outside and inside their own society. This reflects a complete lack of sensibility and plural vision on the higher spheres of power that postumously infect the lower social strata with their own distorted view of reality. All this to ensure a futile idea of economical supremacy and cultural superiority.

  30. JackShandy says:

    So this is literally just a name change, then? No change in the models or the way they’re represented? Wow.

    Censorship is an idiot. This is clearly just covering their ass. Who would be offended by fighting american soldiers as the Taliban, but then be fine and dandy with killing americans as “Opposing Force”?

  31. coldwave says:

    When was last time a major firefight even happened in Afghanistan? It’s all IED’s and mortars against UAV’s and artillery. Choppers also crash once in a while. Taleban is also not a real “teamplay” fighting force and their depiction ingame is wrong. All in all this game have nothing common with reality at all, so I don’t really know why “soldiers” or “soldiers relatives” give a damn. Relatives of fallen soldiers however… now that makes some sence, but by that logic we should just ban word “Taleban” alltogether and call them OPFOR.

  32. teliach says:

    Is only me getting tired of the anglophone games, everything about how great america is while you play a special forces american guy killing enemy of the week (Russia, China, Taliban, Nazis) and saving the world, sometimes there will be the token british guy helping the americans along while they save the world.

    About time some other culture/country makes games based on some different themes with different viewpoints, this insane propaganda is getting to much.

    • Rick says:

      I dunno, I quite enjoyed the bit towards the end of Modern Warfare 2 where the two SAS guys go on a rampage through a secret US special forces base. That was a nice change of pace from shooting Russians and the Talib-sorry, the Opposing Force.

      But yeah, I’d quite like to see some more games from places like Russia hit mainstream, where the Russians are the primary protagonists, not just neo-commies to be shot.

  33. Plopsworth says:

    They should just make a game of “Same” vs. “The Other”. Nudge-nudge to all the uni students out there with a basic understanding of philosophy. Or just Pink-Floydian Us and Them?

    • stahlwerk says:

      I would totally like to see a game that reduces the “us vs. them” motive to its absurd core. Not unlike this article on something awful. The very first level in Psychonauts had this vibe, but was there a whole game (okay, short game, the joke may run dry after a little while) based on it?

      ARE YOU A BAD ENOUGH DUDE TO RESCUE THE PRESIDENT?

      Oh, for simpler times…

  34. Kajar9 says:

    Well, if the people who have lost they’r loved ones to TALIBANI terrorists, i think they would be happy to shoot down a gang of them in a “SAFE” enviroment to relieve they’r pain.

  35. stahlwerk says:

    A game in a sub-genre I don’t particularly care about, namely modern run and gun shooters, changes the team name of its multiplayer component from blue to Taliban and back to blue.

    I don’t care about this change. I don’t even see this as a particularly worrying instance of self-censorship (it’s such a common thing that there’s even a german saying for this, “vorauseilender Gehorsam”), because – as they acknowledged – it really was a bad decision from the beginning.

    The main problem I see with this is that It wouldn’t even have made sense from a ludistic (sp?) standpoint: In the narrative of the MP FPS-genre, the team you are assigned to is battling the other to dominate either the score board, checkpoints on the map, or one has to subvert the other’s goals (protect the VIP, defuse).

    The war in Afghanistan is not a war of domination, i.e. each side may take Kabul, hold a province, gain access to opium fields for fundings etc. but in the end that will not “satisfy the victory condition”. (Cynics may even say that there seems not to be a victory condition in this war at all, the “Map” was lost even before the invasion in 2001, in the aftermath of the afghan civil war.) A pervasive viewpoint is that of a war of two completely different cultures, but I don’t quite subscribe to that. Yet others say “we need to win the hearts and minds of the afghan people”, but that is nigh impossible when the Taliban have such a strong grasp on the rural (and urban) afghan society.

    So, how do you bring all this into a competetive First-person shooter game?
    Answer: YOU DON’T! WHY WOULD YOU EVEN TRY, FOOL?!

    Make the game mechanics “fun”. Make the levels good and diverse. Tweak the controls until “casual gamepad players” and “hardcore kb+m guys” can have a fair match on even ground.

    Innovate! If the game is set in such a bleak and gritty realistic world, why not put in a third team, the UNFOR that constanly needs to protect the destructible level geometry and civilian NPCs while Big Brave Nation Army and OPFOR unleash hell around them.

    Because in the end, “fun” is what matters, and every bit of cultural subtext is just there for PR shock value, or – in the absolute worst case – makes your players uneasy.

  36. bill says:

    Team America!!

    • Juror #9 says:

      F*** YEAH!!! Coming today to save the Mutha F***in’ day YEAH!!

  37. ScubaMonster says:

    So, “Feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers” is what they are calling their marketing department nowadays?

  38. Premium User Badge Oozo says:

    Ian Bogost’s take on ot over at Gamasutra is well worth a read, with insightful sentences like these here:

    “Crucially, Goodrich entreats the public to note the following: “this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay.” This one statement should cause considerable distress, as it suggests a troubling conclusion about Medal of Honor as a work of public speech. To wit: it suggests that the Taliban never had any meaningful representation in the game anyway.”

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6158/persuasive_games_free_speech_is_.php

    • Wilson says:

      @Oozo – Yeah, I think that’s the key thing here. I was never expecting the game to be innovative in that sense anyway (it’s a standard AAA shooter after all) so I didn’t feel the Taliban/OPFOR thing was an issue. They were never seriously going to make a multiplayer mode where you have any kind of asymmetrical warfare, or any real context to the fighting, so it never mattered what the teams were called beyond the most basic references to a real world war.

  39. Misnomer says:

    This thread has just beome anti-American raging and conspiracy theories hasn’t it? Glad to see the readership of RPS showing they are actually no better than Kotaku….actually worse on this issue.

    Ever think there might be a difference between Nazi and German/Axis? That maybe a team identified by ideology is a bad idea to put in a game since it is not representative of the conflict and players are not actually taking on the ideology but a red or blue faction? (Yes contrary to this thread, U.S. Marines or Army are a faction and an ideology).

    Well that would require thinking and this thread is mostly based on anger and bile.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Yes contrary to this thread,…

      Uhm, it would greatly help your argument if you could at least quote the post you find offense with, instead of indiscriminately calling everyone stupid. The reply system may be sketchy and broken, but most of the times it’s a helpful tool in discussion.

      This thread has just beome anti-American raging and conspiracy theories hasn’t it?

      No it hasn’t. The majority of posters try to see this in the political context of the game industry and the game itself. If there’s someone at fault for trollbaiting it’s EA for dragging real-world politics into this, kicking and screaming.

    • Rinox says:

      I thought the thread was generally pretty even-tempered.

    • Deuteronomy says:

      Yeah with this thread RPS has pretty much jumped the shark. I sincerely hope the anti-americanism is confined to eurotrash who lament the fall of fascism and communism and resent having to learn english to communicate with people from the next country over.

      People who believe in the moral equivalency of fundamentalist islam and western democracy, what can you say to them? The US, Britain and Canada would never have been in Iraq or Afghanistan were it not for 9/11. We were attacked. 3000 people died. Yes Iraq may have been a war that might have been avoided for a while, and the invasion was probably a mistake, but things like that tend to happen when a superpower gets hit with a massive terrorist attack. No it’s not about body counts on either side, but yes, there is a clash of civilizations going on.

      The military is a voluntary force right now, but wait until a nuke goes off in New York or Brussels. Then you snide remark makers and self righteous pricks will get a very quick intro to the reality of what it means to be in the armed forces, and what does or does not constitute a hero.

    • coldwave says:

      What the hell did I just read.

  40. Misnomer says:

    and not an ideology* …grr edit.

  41. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    Can you also play as blue shift?

  42. Urthman says:

    And here I was so looking forward to being called a fag by the Taliban.

  43. Juror #9 says:

    Simma down now, Simma down…

    this forum just got a bit kooky…I thought i came over to read about gaming news and all of a sudden i feel that im over at Yahoo reading their forums. I just had a bit of vertigo, knock it off you wipers of other peoples bottoms, lets get your games on!!!

  44. deejayem says:

    There were two arguments against using Taliban in this game: the Liam-Fox-”it’s-unpatriotic-to-attempt-to-show-the-other-side’s-point-of-view” argument (which for reasons of brevity I shall refer to as the “nobber” argument), and the “it’s-simply-bad-taste-to-depict-a-current-and-controversial-conflict-as-light-entertainment” argument (which for reasons of brevity I shall refer to as the “right-minded” argument).

    They’ve managed to simultaneously appease the nobbers and render the game even more objectionable to the right-minded.

    I despair, I really do.

  45. FunkyBadger says:

    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak.

  46. noobnob says:

    Medal of Dishonour would make a neat game.

  47. The Hon. Reverend Fred Gherkin says:

    Can someone please spare a thought for the poor, maligned OPFOR? They get such a bum rap.

  48. x25killa says:

    Gordon Freeman is going to be pissed off. Now he has to fight “Oppposing Force” carrying AKs.

  49. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    It’s really quite pretty amazing how easily directed public opinion is. The Taliban(and to a lesser extent Osama Bin Laden and his associates) were given huge amounts of aid in the form of weapons and training throughout the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. At this time the “rebels” were called things like “the Brave Mujahideen” “Holy Warriors” and of course our favorite; “Freedom Fighters”.

    Hopefully it won’t surprise any of you that these exact people were the basis for the Taliban government that we, the west are supposed to hate all of a sudden. No reason beyond “They hate our way of life” “They hate FREEDOM” and other tripe is given to the general public. Could it possibly be that they felt abandoned or betrayed by the U.S. government that had promised them ongoing support against the Soviets?

    Personally I think the Allied governments are chickenshit for not admitting (or revealing, to those who didn’t know) just how badly we screwed these people.

    I watched Rambo III a few days ago, don’t ask why, and the entire film is wall-to-wall irony. It even has a dedication “To the gallant people of Afghanistan”. Seeing something so head-hurtingly pro American talk about the very people they are NOW trying to wipe out was pretty goddamn funny in a bitter sort of way.

    My point- do I have a point? I guess it would be to be aware of subjectivity.

    To reveal my own bias I’m a US citizen, by the by.

  50. Andrew says:

    yeah but that was a while ago…

    a) People who deny women the right to education are assholes
    b) The taliban deny women the right to education
    c) The taliban are assholes

    modus ponens biatchs…

    • the_fanciest_of_pants says:

      You’re missing my point. I’m not saying they WERE (or are) heroes. I’m saying it’s totally subjective.

      They were assholes when we supported them, they are assholes now. Does that mean we have the right to invade them? There’s plenty of places that are as-or-more assholish than Afghanistan but we don’t ever hear about invading them, do we?

      If anything I’m questioning our(the west’s, or western governments if you will) scruples, and the fickleness(is that a word?) of public opinion.

    • Yes says:

      denying women educations is an assholish thing to do, but surely it can’t be enough to justify a war