War Torn: EA Shouldn’t Have Cancelled Medal Of Honor

By John Walker on January 31st, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

This morning’s news that EA has canned the revived Medal Of Honor strikes me as a pretty sad one. Not because the last two games earned any merit – they certainly didn’t. They were truly horrible games. Not just because of their gung-ho, one-dimensional, army-recruitment-writ-large approach to current conflicts, nor just because of the both underlying and overlying racism to be found within, but also simply because they were poorly made. Massive explosions and enormous set pieces fail to carry any gravitas, as you’re dragged by your nose through its shoulder-width corridors. I certainly don’t want another one of those. But I do want another Medal Of Honor.

EA supremo Peter Moore’s words on the matter, as pointed out by Nathan, really smack of a troubling lack of perspicuity, and a mite too much hubris.

“We struggled with two challenges: the slowdown that impacted the entire sector and poor critical and commercial reception for Medal of Honor Warfighter. Medal of Honor was an obvious miss. The game was solid, but the focus on combat authenticity did not resonate with consumers. Critics were polarized and gave the game scores which were, frankly, lower than it deserved.”

It was indeed an obvious miss. But it wasn’t despite the game being solid, nor indeed was it the audience’s failure to understand the game. Lordy. The notion that the games contain even a quarter-teaspoonful of “combat authenticity” is instantly ludicrous. Unless combat is usually fought by one man spraying bullets over a large live-action target practice zone for infinity, until he realises he was supposed to step forward to make the nearby building fall over. I’ve not been in the army, I admit, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion that it’s not quite like that.

Critics absolutely weren’t polarised – that’s when a game gets a mad mix of 9s and 3s. Warfighter’s scores sat plump in the 4 to 7 range, with not a single reviewer going over 75% on any machine (even IGN broke the bottom of their own thermometer and gave it a 4!). And where too many gaming sites see 7/10 as their punishing score, there’s no ambiguity over the general reception of this one. Moore simply made that up. And why was it so bad. The simplest thing to do is link my review.

And then “frankly, lower than it deserved”. Well, sure, everyone thinks their own baby is beautiful, no matter how much of a troll it may be. But at a certain point, after a certain number of near-unanimous reviews, one probably should stop and wonder. However, I really don’t think the response to all this is to drown that baby in a river.

Just a couple of days ago, while chatting with some of the fine folks at Eurogamer, I joked that EA should demand I put my money where my mouth is, and get me to write a third game in the rebooted series. And then realised how much I would have loved to do that. Because in Medal Of Honor, even ignoring the occasionally decent editions of its WW2 incarnation (most of all the splendid Airborne), there’s so much potential.

It would be far too simple to take Medal Of Honor and make it into an anti-war rhetoric. Indeed, the result would likely be something far too clumsy like Spec Op’s hammering home of its point. And indeed to do so would be massively oversimplifying the enormous complexities of the role of international intervention when there is terrible human suffering. Frankly, having made one’s mind up about such a broad, intricate subject is, in itself, somewhat suspicious. And that’s why I believe the franchise is bursting with such potential – potential to explore these enormously difficult subjects.

A core element of Medal Of Honor was telling a number of stories from a number of perspectives, and it’s in this that there’s so much room to ask multiple questions about the state of contemporary warfare, to represent a number of viewpoints, to pit thesis against antithesis. For the last two games, MoH has opted for a one-track, un-introspective series of “WAR IS JUST BLOODY GREAT!” blundering, peppered with outright hatred toward enemy troops. This “shoot the brown ones” motif is extremely uncomfortable, and in Warfighter even those who’ve blithely ignored it in so many other shooters (of course including the Call Of Duty games) finally seemed to snap and say: just no. (Warfighter certainly deserved the kicking it received – it’s just, so did a number of games before it.)

But at the same time, Warfighter was extraordinarily egregious in itself. It’s opening moment, that wretched scene in which you’ve a reticule fixed on the back of a stranger’s head, with no ability to move your gun, nor your feet, and only the instruction to execute this man in the back of his skull for no given reason – at the time you wonder if it’s a powerful staetment, but minutes later you realise it was just setting the tone.

Imagine a Medal Of Honor that explores this. A number of viewpoints, a representation of different attitudes, with no informing the player of which is the “correct” perspective. A game that sees soldiers challenged in their previous convictions, whether they were blind patriotism or borderline pacifism. And equally a game that challenges the player of whatever their preconceptions might be. No moralising, no bold statements, no take-home message – instead questions, provoking scenes, and doubt.

I think there’s definitely room for a game to provide the opposing anti-war thoughts that would directly respond to the extreme pro- nature of so many shooters. But I don’t think Medal Of Honor would be the right place to do such a thing. I’m not sure that I’d want to play such a thing any more than its counterpart. And while I’d also love to see gaming create the far more sophisticated and ambiguous tone of its own All Quiet On The Western Front, I think the Medal Of Honor series would be the perfect place for something not neutral, but balanced in its opposing views.

And it certainly wouldn’t need to do this through its cutscenes. Warfighter’s ghastly scenes presented a moronic and sycophantic view of a soldier’s family life, patronising both its characters and its viewers, making the game feel only more stupid and offensive. But the early MoH and CoD games demonstrated that no cutscenes were necessary to portray the experience of soldiers. Simply letting you at least hold the illusion of choice made such a massive difference, letting you feel as if you were experiencing it, rather than angrily forcing you along its rails.

I wonder if one element of the significant shift in quality for both CoD and MoH since their early incarnations comes with the change in timezones, because of a loss of perspective. Those early games were often made after team members had spent time interviewing WW2 vets about their experiences. As market-driven as those games might have been, there was no doubt that at least some of the teams felt they owed it to those elderly soldiers to honour them in their creation. But when making a contemporary war game (and indeed far further when making a future war game), that’s not nearly as simple a task. Those still in active duty are in a difficult position to reflect on experiences, and indeed unlikely to be able to talk openly. In fact, it’s more likely that the problematic tone of Medal Of Honor would only be further influenced by the necessary rhetoric of those involved in current combat.

That’s a complicated thought. In fact, a game that honestly represented the perspectives of active soldiers would be entirely unlike the war-profiteering Medal Of Honor, which of course further underlines the nonsense of Moore’s claim of “combat authenticity”. The issue is certainly the combination of the idiotic super-soldier-target-practice-on-train-tracks along with the complete lack of cognisance. But the opportunity to address both – wow, what a thing that would be. The chance to have a team that talented, and explore an enormous subject with pellucidity.

What a massive shame it is that the series should be scrapped, instead of rescued. It needs new direction, not shelving until the next inevitable reboot in five years time, once Battlefield has run entirely aground.

, , , , , .

216 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. DaftPunk says:

    Ah op is speaking about MOH previous instalments as they were really something special..Only one good was first one which kinda new at that time,all others were really medicore.

    • Bhazor says:

      Pretty much.
      Remember when you had to repair a tank by shooting “repair barrels”? That said I did quite enjoy the air assault game if only because it managed to not be so linear and it still had some sense of fun.

      There is a reason Medal of Honour died the first time.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      By the first one, I’m assuming you mean Allied Assault and not the actual first one, which was a PSX exclusive?

      • RoAE says:

        The first one was still special, if only because the set piece moments were still pretty new and saving private ryan had been released about the same time. Then AA pretty much launched the WW2 video game craze at the time, which in hindsight makes the game seem less than stellar but it was still a lot of games trying to capitalize off of how successful MOH was. Then when we thought no one could impress us with a WW2 game ever again, CoD 1 came out and everyone was all hyped again…..

        hindsight, hindsight

    • roryok says:

      yes, he means Allied Assault I’m sure. I went back and played it again recently, and though the Normandy level was a real visceral experience at the time, now it seems kind of patchy and fake. And I did feel quite railroaded the whole way through

  2. Bhazor says:

    God that woman has a weird face.

    And no. Nope. No way. There is nothing about the game that deserves respect or celebration. It was a bad bad bad bad game and it won’t be missed.

    • Giuseppe says:

      Agreed.

      I wonder if they lost a lot of money on this. I truly hope they did.

    • gritz says:

      I have to say, my interest in these games is nonexistent, so I have no idea what context for those women in those screenshots, but it’s pretty refreshing to see female characters who look like actual women and not homogenized fantasy dream girls.

      You say “her face is weird”, I say “she looks like someone who actually exists in the real world”.

      • Bhazor says:

        You know many creepy robots wearing a dead woman’s skin?

        She is frickin’ terrifying in motion.

        Jump to 2:42

        She is the new pin-up girl of the uncanny valley.

        • Giuseppe says:

          The little kid is much creepier to me.

          • sinister agent says:

            Patient: “Bella?”

            Woman: “She’s right here.”

            Bella: “Welcome, new one.”

            All: “PRAISE THE UNITY. PRAISE THE UNITY.”

          • stiffkittin says:

            Egads! I wholeheartedly agree. That kid freaks the bajeezers out of me!

        • gritz says:

          Would you think she’s just as creepy if she had more Hollywood-ideal features, or does her plainness accentuate the uncanny valley?

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            A prettier model would be just as creepy. Bad facial architecture is bad facial architecture.

          • Kitsuninc says:

            I think that the plainness does indeed push it further into uncanny valley territory. If she looked more like a supermodel she would look a bit more fake, and while still gross I’m sure, less creepy, because we’re so used to seeing fake faces on TV and such.

      • John Walker says:

        You’re friends with zombies?

        • Phantoon says:

          Zombies are less creepy. He’s friend with Cthulhu monsters.

          • mainwxina says:

            Wow! Friends! What a good thing! Come take a look! ZOPO free people ZP500S the ultra-thin smartphone! The best! You’re not wrong! http://mmt.su/s/if

      • Lev Astov says:

        I agree with you completely on this, but unfortunately she also sits square in the middle of the uncanny valley. Terrifying.

        • Giuseppe says:

          Yeah… there’s nothing wrong with games offering more realistic portrayals of people. That still doesn’t change the fact that woman looks pretty darn freaky. I’m not very fond of the idea of the “uncanny valley”, but examples like this are make it pretty hard to argue against it.

    • Stromko says:

      Yeah even back in the day I felt like Medal of Honor was the unrealistic, arcadey and inferior counterpart to Call of Duty … of course that was a long time ago, and I think they’re both terrible series now. It sounds like the original Call of Duty (my opinion) and Medal of Honor: Airborne Assault (commentators’ opinion) were the only worthwhile things to come out of either series.

      • Phantoon says:

        Medal of Honor: Allied Assault predated Call of Duty by an entire year, with “Medal of Honor”, the PS game, having come out in 1999, meaning the series predates Call of Duty by four years.

      • siegarettes says:

        Call of Duty 2 I actually credit with getting me into multiplayer games. It also still had a sense of gravity, and seeing your soldier buddies getting gunned down next to you so matter of fact was a tad bit horrifying to my young impressionable self.

  3. Hazzard65 says:

    “We struggled with two challenges: the slowdown that impacted the entire sector and poor critical and commercial reception for Medal of Honor Warfighter. Medal of Honor was an obvious miss. The game was solid, but the focus on combat authenticity did not resonate with consumers. Critics were polarized and gave the game scores which were, frankly, lower than it deserved.” WHAT!? You’re a god damn moron! Your game was terrible and outdated. There was nothing solid about it. If your game had authentic combat maybe you might have found a market. You basically said the opposite of what the problem was and shows just how disconnected you are with your own products.

    • node says:

      Saying their games were scored unfairly seems to be a habit of some games execs. Because they’re such good and fair judges of quality.

      • Premium User Badge

        Llewyn says:

        All games are scored unfairly except those whose dev teams have Metacritic-based bonuses. Those games regrettably fail to reach the expected level of quality, and necessitate restructuring.

      • DK says:

        When publishers say their games were scored unfairly it means the reviewers displayed an unusual lack of bribeability and for once actually looked at the product they were scoring before doing so.

      • Brun says:

        You’ve got to keep the context in mind. This was a quarterly earnings call, anything he says on this call is going to affect EA’s stock performance. He’s going to try to deliver the blow as softly and with as optimistic of a spin as possible, because investors on the stock market are, believe it or not, even more clueless about the real world than the people on this meeting.

        I really don’t believe for a second that this guy has deluded himself into thinking Warfighter was actually a solid game. Although that notion fits nicely with the majority of RPS readers’ view on EA, I really think this guy was just talking things up for the earnings call. His internal meetings with the board of directors are probably much more candid.

        • Phantoon says:

          Well, most rich people are clueless because they were born rich.

          Don’t have to learn anything about the world when you own a portion of it.

          • Brun says:

            Well, most rich people are clueless because they were born rich.

            What a ridiculously cliched and naive view. I didn’t realize that the Occupy camps got internet.

          • Flavioli says:

            Hello there. I had to log in just to say that your comment was the stupidest thing I have read so far this year. Congratulations!

    • Premium User Badge

      FhnuZoag says:

      I choose to parse such obvious investor-speak positively:

      “The game was solid” = We aren’t going to fire the dev team

      “but the focus on combat authenticity did not resonate with consumer” = But they aren’t going to make a modern warfare style game any time soon.

      And honestly? That’s good news.

  4. int says:

    I feel they could always go back to WW2, maybe placed in Thailand or Burma to mix it up a bit. And why not WW1 or the Korean War?

    I don’t even know of a single Korean War game.

    • Bhazor says:

      Homefront.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      WW1 does not make for a good gameplay. Hours of sitting in the trenches and occasional gas attacks. Do not want.

      • bill says:

        People always say this. But i can think of a number of highly exciting and dramatic movie moments from WW1 games. And an equal number of ways to make an exciting WW1 game.

        Though I don’t know how it would work for multiplayer for college dudes. But i have no interest in that anyway.

        • Premium User Badge

          imperialus says:

          Yeah, you could do an absolutely epic game in the style of Call of Duty 2. Start the player off during the August offencive of 1914. Battle of the Saar Coalfields would be cool for the BEF, and the First Battle of the Marne would be a cool one to see from the French perspective.

          Then switch perspective to ANZAC in Gallipoli in 1915. Climbing up cliffs while artillery shells crashed around trying to capture the ridge.

          After that pick either British or French (whoever you didn’t pick before) and do either the Somme or Verdun. The Somme might be interesting just because you could focus on the mining operations that took place.

          After that pick up the Canadian Corps and do Second Passchendaele.

      • sabasNL says:

        Trenchwarfare is the stereotypical idea of WW1, it wasn’t like that in the beginning and the end of the war. Especially the introduction of many new methods of warfare (after WWII maybe the biggest revolution of warfare in history) make it quite interesting.

      • Soulstrider says:

        Goddamit people keep saying this, that was just a part of World War 1 not all of it. Out of my head I can think of enough significant battles to make more than 1 game.

        Actually this would be great setting for a multiple perspective fps, it hasn’t the axis “prejudice” of WW2 and it’s far away enough to not feel too close at home.

        I can already imagine it, play as a French Soldier in the Western Front, a German in the Eastern, an occasional mission as a Serb in Balkans front and then as a Turk or a British in the middle east/Gallipoli.

        God I just really want a game in WW1 I can only think of an handful set int it, and I just prefer this war much more over WW2

        • Askeladd says:

          Imagine a game about this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWuaSww3JnA with unlockable weapons and upgrades. Both sides playable, plus the white men get a button that makes witty racist remarks.
          This would totally fit into EA’s roster.

        • Chandos says:

          Speaking of Gallipoli, I am reminded of this inscription on the ANZAC war memorial in Turkey:

          “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.”

          Who says stuff like that about their enemies these days? It would be a great thing to have a WWI game that highlights the human tragedy, in contrast to today’s propaganda machine games.

        • Brun says:

          Trench warfare is the stereotype of WWI combat, but you’ve got to remember: lowest common denominator, hit-driven business. The cultural perception of WWI is overwhelmingly that of trench warfare in muddy European fields. Combine that with the fact that WWI has largely faded from modern cultural perspective, at least in the US, and any portrayal of WWI that doesn’t involve a lot of trenches is unlikely to resonate with modern audiences.

          Another thing to note about the perception of what WWI was – most people today have a very limited understanding of the causes behind WWI and the US’ involvement in it. The political casserole that was Europe in 1914 was very complicated. “Why are we shooting these guys? Because their country has an alliance with this other country but a detente with this third country, but since we’re in an alliance with a fourth country that is at war with the second country, we have to shoot them.” To put it bluntly, most people don’t understand WWI, and would find it difficult to follow any sort of story or to provide for themselves any kind of context to their actions in the game.

          Contrast that with WWII, which has basically taken on the identity of Armageddon in the Western World. The ultimate battle between good and evil. The political side of WWII is not terribly complex, both the Germans (invasion of Poland) and Japanese (Pearl Harbor) were unambiguous aggressors and that’s pretty easy for most people to understand. But even then the political aspect typically takes a backseat in WWII stories and the primary motivation for fighting is usually “because the other side is evil.” A battle between good and evil will resonate much more strongly with modern audiences.

          Personally I’d like to see more of the Korean War – it’s a subject rarely covered in mainstream media and it’s significantly less polarizing (and thus a safer bet) than something like Vietnam. As others have noted things like dogfighting (gun-based fights with jets!) and Incheon (one of the most brilliant amphibious assaults in military history) would be easy pickings for video games. You could even work your political bit in there if you like, since the war is technically still ongoing.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            “the Korean War – it’s a subject rarely covered in mainstream media and it’s significantly less polarizing”

            I’m not sure showing the Chinese kicking American ass would be met with much approval.

          • Brun says:

            Popular perception of the Korean War in the U.S. is as a resounding victory for the U.N. forces, and for the vast majority of the war the U.S. was dominant. I’d say that given South Korea still exists today the Chinese didn’t kick quite enough ass.

            EDIT: Moreover, my point was that the Korean War wasn’t nearly as unpopular as Vietnam.

      • Soulstrider says:

        I will miss this franchise despite it’s decline, I have fond memories of playing the WW2 iterations.

      • P.Funk says:

        You realize that all war is like that, just trade trenches for Humvee or Halftrack or Firebase or whatever.

        Every story of war from a soldier I’ve heard has usually at some point talked about how unbelievably boring the vast vast majority of it is.

        You ever watch Generation Kill? They spent half their war sitting in a Humvee waiting to go somewhere, then the other half backtracking cause somebody took a wrong turn. Trembley was whining for days that he didn’t get to kill anybody. Then things went crazy and nobody bitched about not having enough war.

        I think people have no clue what they’re talking about when it comes to the potential for a WW1 game. Picture this, you’re in a trench line, you’re in some sequence where people are talking, officer is steadying you because they suspect something is up, then you hear the distant crack of artillery, suddenly big yellow clouds explode over your head and your officer starts screaming “GAS! GAS! GAS!”

        You see everyone around you scramble, don their head gear, you get some prompt by the game on how to put your mask on, your character is breathing heavily, the mask comes over your face. Its tight, it blocks your eyes mostly, its claustrophobia defined. You can barely see anything around you the smoke, heavier than air, is dropping into your trench. Normal artillery now also starts to fall, you realize in the confusion that someone is going to attack, the officer’s now muffled voice is telling you to be prepared as the enemy is about come in. You go to the parapet, you’re told to stay down. Suddenly you’re told to stand up, and engage your enemy. You look out over the field before you now, suddenly, no preparation and all you can see is desolation, bleak earth churnned by endless war. A single chunked tree stump stands far in the distance the only reminder that life once existed here.

        In the haze of toxic gas and visible through the foggy glass of your eye pieces you see hordes of men charging, endless streams of them. You hear the chatter of machine guns, bullets whizzing over your head from the other trench line, your own machine guns begin their work, men are hit, they tumble to the ground, more of them still come, you’re yelled at to fire by your officer, you raise your sights, you try and pick a target, so many, some dead before you can fire.

        Soon they’re getting closer, somehow, all that fire, all those dead men, they’re still coming. Your officer yells “Affix Bayonets”, so you do this, you’re now holding a sword that was once a rifle, they’re coming into your trench, somewhere down your line you can’t see very clearly… etc etc I could go on all day with that.

        Interesting things you could do with this game is create a dissonance between the “Fight this way” and learning your own way to fight. Like soldiers rarely used bayonets because theirs weren’t designed for trench warfare, too long. So you could have opportunities in the game to pick up different weapons as you fight, create a customized loadout which real soldiers actually did.

        Also, other events that could easily be done are secret night trench raids, massive set piece attack, repulsing attacks, etc. If ever there were a game that would suffer less from having scripted battles this would be one. Just hope that it would have a respectful tone.

        • sinister agent says:

          Every story of war from a soldier I’ve heard has usually at some point talked about how unbelievably boring the vast vast majority of it is.

          This has been my impression, too. I think it might have even been Churchill who said something about war being very long periods of intense boredom with occasional bursts of terror and shock.

          Did you ever watch Jarhead? Not an incredible film, but an interesting one (and terribly, stupidly advertised as an all-action explosion fest). It’s not about exciting assaults on a fortification, or long patrols and ambushes and trying to survive intense firefights… it’s about a group of soldiers in the desert going slowly mad with boredom.

      • Premium User Badge

        Bitter says:

        Actually, a WW1 game based on Ernst Juenger’s memoir “Storm of Steel” might work along the lines of what John was musing about in the article. The book presents the war matter-of-factly – telling what happened in its glory and horror, letting the readers decide how to feel for themselves. The book’s been criticized for not being anti-war, but it’s not entirely pro-war either.

    • sabasNL says:

      Some franchises did try it, like Men of War (RTS). Most shooters prefer Vietnam, though.

      • SooSiaal says:

        Is that why I only know of 5 or 6 shooters based on the Vietnam war?

        • P.Funk says:

          Believable jungles elude game designers who need to work with consoles.

          • sinister agent says:

            Alternatively, Vietnam is pretty much the most reviled war in US history, and most of the country would much rather forget it than play a game about it.

    • cptgone says:

      which is a shame, as the Korean war has a lot to offer as a setting for games.

      it started with some impressive blitzing (North Korea took most of the country, then the South and it’s allies reversed that, only to run into a huge undetected Chinese army near the border). then there was the bit where the South held the line against human waves attacks.

      it ‘featured’ dogfights, a landing, trenches, troops from all over the world.

      Korea’s varied landscapes and weather extremes help, too.

    • Nim says:

      Talvisota maybe? But reviews would probably criticize any attempts at authenticity for missing polar bears.

    • ucfalumknight says:

      I believe the Korean war would make a great FPS. So little has actually been done about the Korean conflict. Here in the states, it is hardly ever mentioned. Vietnam and even the more recent Desert Storm conflicts are much more popularized. I think the setting of the first Soviet/American conflict could make for a great game. As growing up in the height of the Cold War, we were truly taught to hate the Soviets (indoctrination). Even Ronald Reagan (apparently the greatest American president) told us the Soviets were the greatest threat to America. I think fighting during the later period of the conflict (known as the stalemate period) could hammer home how futile war can truly be.

    • Trudel says:

      While I understand that people would like to see a different setting like Korea oder WW1, it’s kind of unsettling to read the comments in this thread.

    • armyofdan says:

      I’m tired of shooting games. This is why. The whole genre has become so stale, save a few exceptions (bioshock, Rage, etc) I can’t be the only one.

    • PedroBraz says:

      But they HAVE made games set in asia already: Rising Sun and Pacific Assault respectively.

  5. RogB says:

    imagine if you could talk to the monsters.

  6. caddyB says:

    I think it’s mainly trying to save face or whatnot. They can’t possibly not know why the game failed, they have far too many intelligent people working at their marketing going through reviews and customer reactions on forums.

    Even their most loyal fans weren’t satisfied by the same thing every year, probably because they got older.

    They probably don’t think they can risk spending so many millions on something that probably will not sell all that well after this even if they innovate a bit. They still have Battlefield anyhow, but I’ll give it 2 more games until it loses popularity as well.

    • Premium User Badge

      FhnuZoag says:

      Yeah, I think you need to read between the lines – ‘focus on combat authenticity’ seem to me a pretty clear signal that they are moving away from that style of game altogether. You don’t pull out the COO to communicate with customers. You do it to reassure shareholders that the company has a plan – at least it isn’t ‘more of the same’.

  7. BobbyDylan says:

    “Massive explosions and enormous set pieces fail to carry any gravitas, as you’re dragged by your nose through its shoulder-width corridors”

    Spot on.

  8. IDtenT says:

    MoHAA is still one of the most fun FPS games I’ve played.

  9. node says:

    I think two straight failures, after running the WW2 MoH games into the ground repeatedly, is plenty of chances. He’s right that the authenticity thing was a red herring to the average gamer, I’d argue it’s very much the right decision to put the team on something new instead.

  10. Drake Sigar says:

    A franchise dies and they learned nothing. Horray!

    • Askeladd says:

      I’ll gladly wait to read the historians point of view on that matter.
      Game historians.

  11. Shantara says:

    I wouldn’t mind playing the game that would explore ‘enormous complexities of the role of international intervention when there is terrible human suffering’. But I fail to see any reason why this game should have anything in common with ‘kill the guys not wearing your army’s uniforms’ Medal of Honor series.

    • spongthe1st says:

      ‘But I fail to see any reason why this game should have anything in common with ‘kill the guys not wearing your army’s uniforms’ Medal of Honor series.’

      What exactly is this supposed to mean?

      • Shantara says:

        It’s one of those things that sound much better in your head than when you write them down. The idea was that there’s no point to artificially force any kind of complex anti-war message in a game series which main concept is basically “war is fun”. Why not build an original IP instead?

        • Premium User Badge

          wengart says:

          Because new IP is dangerous IP. Better to leverage a brand name you already have.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          As pointed out in the article, exploring ‘‘enormous complexities of the role of international intervention when there is terrible human suffering’’ is not necessarily anti-war.

  12. InternetBatman says:

    If a game honestly reflected the views of soldiers, it would be sitting down and playing Call of Duty with the desert outside.

    • Askeladd says:

      Yeah driving around in your AV until you drive over an IED. At that point the game’s over; GAME’S OVER, MAN!
      No, really. I don’t think John meant that ‘viewpoint’.

    • RakeShark says:

      I can’t speak for anything beyond 2006, but before then most of our gaming in the sandbox was Morrowind, Mercenaries, Burnout (our “aggressive vehicle driving education program), GTA SA, Ratchet and Clank, Killzone, The Punisher, Halo, and various others that were forgotten after a few hours of playing. For me personally, I had KotOR shipped for my Mac laptop. Modern Military Shooters weren’t big then, I think Battlefield 2 was the biggest out there, but the difference between what we played in garrison stateside was pretty different from what we played in the combat zone. Escapism was a big need, and I don’t really remember anyone lingering on modern shooter stuff for long, when there was a high fantasy or sci-fi or cartoony game to distract us from the realism outside our walls.

  13. Dowr says:

    I still feel the best Medal of Hono[u]r game was the original Call of Duty.

  14. PopeRatzo says:

    Here in the States, we’ve got a whole lot of people who have seen overseas wars and are no longer on active duty. It might have been worth the time of EA’s MoH development team to talk to some of those. They could start by going to some of the veterans’ hospitals.

    Unfortunately, instead of a glorious man-killing epic, you’d get a game that would have to include poverty, depression, family breakup, PTSD, substance abuse and suicide.

    The United States, after the glorious “War in Grenada” when 7000 US military took on 50 Cuban soldiers, gave out 18,000 medals, including more than 600 Bronze fucking Stars for what was basically spring break. We’re not supposed to think about war in real terms.

    • Bhazor says:

      Reminds me of the old army recruitment videos back before “turrsts” made war stop being fun because now white Anglo/American people were dying.

      As a ten year old joining the army looked like a trip to Butlins but with more implied sex with women who lift off like rockets propelled by their own juices at the sight of a man in a green beret

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfp-jqJB81U

      “For the rush, for the excitement, for the action”

    • Askeladd says:

      Instead we have a bunch of games that get refurbished annually that claim to be modern warfare shooters, but in reality are a child’s fantasy about war. Getting your arm shot off, no biggy, just go hidey hidey and all good.
      It’s totally okay that games like this exist, but imo those companies should consider that they have a certain amount of responsibility with that many buyers. If the game itself doesn’t even hint at war not being something much more serious, maybe an unskippable cut scene could do the trick.

    • The Random One says:

      Heavens forbid an AAA dev actually does research and puts out a game that’s actually interesting instead of mindless bloody drivel!

    • Eddy9000 says:

      That would be an amazing game though. Perhaps at the end of every level you could be responsible for writing letters to the families of every companion-npc who died during the level; a short time-limit to represent the mundanity of it, picking from stock phrases such as “he died bravely” or “He will be fondly remembered by his squad” to represent the impersonalisation and mechanisation of war.

      I think death mechanics could be much better as well. Instead of a quicksave why not a short cut scene of a different soldier being flown to that point in the level, throwing their lives away to advance the mission before yet another fresh squaddie gets dropped in?

      For me the boot hill graveyard in Cannon Fodder is still unmatched in video games as a commentary on war. (although there was a brill free indie one recently about a drone pilot whose name I can’t remember)

      • The Random One says:

        That would be Unmanned.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Thank you! It was a really fab commentary on modern war. Most games seem stuck in WWII notions of infantry combat.

      • Askeladd says:

        Don’t forget to include a special DLC mission where you have to make economical decisions as an international weapon dealer, who to bride and what brand of super sports car you buy next.

  15. dgz says:

    EA did the right thing. They can’t afford to artificially keep em coming. Low sales mean they have to rethink the whole thing. It’s better to just skip a few years – either to make it right or just devote to something new. Original creators are with EA again so that was a teller. It would be really stupid to have 3 competing modern warfare franchises internally.

  16. SocraticIrony says:

    Every IP should be forced into retirement after the 3rd iteration. I’d rather play something in a similar vein but with the brand restrictions removed to allow experimentation, than another lazy continuation.

    • Shantara says:

      I’d agree with you, but Nintendo fans would tear both of us apart.

      • SocraticIrony says:

        There’s many more letters you can stick on the front of “ario”.

  17. Skhalt says:

    Out of curiosity, is there an explanation for that guy’s epic beard? I thought in most armies only a handsome moustache was allowed as far as facial hair go.

    • RogB says:

      he was ‘tier 1′ afaik, similar to delta and SAS where they get to bend the rules a bit more on account of bieing rock’ard (and frequently undercover)

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      I believe that rule is normally relaxed for “Tier 1″ or Special Forces for some reason. As soon as the rule is relaxed they grow full on beards because a) in a lot of environments a bearded man is seen as trusted and respectable, b) they then don’t have to bother shaving and as the military is very rule-oriented it’s great to relax, and c) it’s a badge of honour.*

      *= I basically made all of this up but it could be true!

    • Jahnz says:

      He’s so awesome that he doesn’t need to use a gas mask, so he can have an awesome beard.

      Really, I thought it was to blend in when going undercover or something.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      It’s part of the Special Forces selection process.

      In the dead of night they drag the candidate out of his bunk and force him to stand to attention on a rainy hillside. By torchlight they hold him in place and dry-shave his face with their deadly, deadly knives. Then the senior member present binds the candidate upside-down and naked to a tree with handcuffs, consults the omens, and gives the candidate a stupid nickname like “Boz” or “Soap”.

      Then, under the penetrating (and slightly awkward) gaze of the assembled Special Forces veterans, the candidate must prove his commitment to Special Forcesness by growing the thickest, most luxuriant beard and/or moustache he can. Then, using only his facial hair, he must pick (or, for bonus points, break) the handcuffs, then triangulate his position using the stars and his beard, and return to his barracks without alerting the guards. It is considered a faux pas, but not a disqualification, to kill the guards at the gate.

      By the first light of dawn the Special Forces members evaluate the candidate’s beard. Bonus points are awarded for size, luxuriousness of pelt, and impracticality. If the beard is judged worthy, his beard is inducted into the Special Forces, and the candidate along with it.

      In the interest of equality, women are not barred from this process, and are allowed to shave the beard off afterwards, whereupon they keep it in a ziploc bag in their survival kit.

    • Noburu says:

      I was wondering this too. I kept thinking about it the entire article after I saw it. I just kept thinking about Duck Dynasty :P

    • Misnomer says:

      This recently changed http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=130114&page=1

      But they were required to wear beards as a cultural thing (in places enforcing certain religious laws all men are required to wear beards.) So it is to help prevent them from becoming obvious targets and to respect local cultural values as best I understand.

    • Otter says:

      The gent is actually Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants, whose awesomeness is celebrated by millions. Unfortunately, Brian’s quirky utterances display far more creativity and spontaneity than is acceptable in any franchise sequel, so he is not given any lines in the game.

  18. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    World in Conflict pulled off the whole ‘multiple viewpoints’ thing really well with Soviet Assault.

  19. phenom_x8 says:

    The first and second MoH are the best among the other (on console especially). I remember having a tense feeling when going undercover as one of the NAZi’s officer. The enemy’s different animation when getting shot also quite amusing for a PSOne games at that time, they also wont die if we miss to shoot their vital points.
    I still dont know why they’re following COD’s trails while they have their own trademark like going undercover inside enemy base
    I guess its the first 3d wwII shooter after Wolfenstein a that actually succeed in sending a message about how scary war is (their video footage and letter before every mission are quite a drama for a teen like myself in early ’00.)

  20. Blackcompany says:

    You are doing great, EA!

    You were absolutely spot on here: Your game got far lower marks than it deserved. Rather than scrap it, you should make another just like it. And do the same for Battlefield (again.) You have masses of lemmings left to milk money from, so why stop now? By all means, EA, continue on EXACTLY as you are now.

    Btw, I really mean all that. After all, can you imagine the size of the vacuum EA will leave for others to fill when this ship finally sinks? And it is sinking, according to those sites like Forbes and Moneywatch, tho examine it from the standpoint of business and long term investment. Slowly, but a good number of market experts say it is indeed a sinking ship.

    So, while I will feel horrible for the rank and file developers, please EA….keep on keeping on. You are doing fine. Its the critics who are off. SO you go show them what’s what. Make us another Warfighter, exactly like the last one, and show those critics.

  21. maximiZe says:

    I don’t see the Medal of Honor franchise bringing anything to the table another established or new war IP couldn’t do. On the other hand I’m 100% positive that current day EA is neither willing nor able to make a game only remotely similar to what John is suggesting here.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Exactly, Medal of Honor is just a name. The ”franchise” has no recurring characters (that I am aware of), no unifying themes (other than war and manshooting), it’s just a title that used to sell games and has now become toxic in the eyes of the marketing department. They could quite easily re-brand as Badge of Courage, or something equally trite, and continue to throw shit at the dudebro audience until something sticks. I also agree that EA are incapable of producing anything with more quality and depth. The only way a decent war game might find an EA banner slapped on it would be through them acquiring a studio that had a product almost ready to ship.

  22. IceColdNed says:

    You know, there was a game in development a couple years ago (2009 I think?) that was going to be about the Iraq/Afghanistan War called Six Days in Fallujah, and it looked like it would be one of those war games that would be an accurate portrayal from the soldier’s point of view. The Devs were actually asked to make a game about it by the division of Marines they had been working with for some other things. They even recruited veterans of the war to actively help them develop it.
    Then of course Konami dropped it, and it’s been stuck in limbo ever since.

    • woodsey says:

      It’s pretty infamous, pretty sure it was was battered by Fox and co. around that time too.

    • RakeShark says:

      Yeah, it was a combination of select widows blasting the studio for not portraying their dead spouses as anything less than Herculean, Fox’s argument pandering, the studio’s own lack of preparation to make their argument stand up to scrutiny such as this, and Konami’s abandonment of the project that led to the game’s demise. The last two were the lynch pins that broke, and the ones most to blame.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jackablade says:

      If I’m remembering it correctly, there was a short, leaked video that made it look like a pretty basic and fast paced shooter. Not at all the realistic game that would be absolutely imperative to actually pull off a controversial title like that. I don’t think the fact that it was scrapped is any great loss.

      If you want something with some actual gravitas, I believe the game that the Australian war journo was developing about his experiences on the battlefield is still in development. Lord only knows what that’ll be like, but I suspect it’ll treat the theme with some respect at least.

  23. Scumbag says:

    Correct me if I am wrong in this, but do large profile releases relating to critique of the American military not tend to get ripped apart at home because of the “Unfair depictions” of “Our boys”? I’m sure at about the time The Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan came out the former got a whipping for not showing the Americans as pure heroic mans, while the later was seen as genius.
    Correct me on how wrong I am.

    • ucfalumknight says:

      I wouldn’t say it was ripped for portraying our troops as humans, it received mixed reviews mostly dealing with plot problems. Some critics thought the story was muddled and confused. Its truthful portrayal of US fighting men was generally applauded.

    • RakeShark says:

      Movies are kinda “absolved” from critique on war, because we consider them art and free speech, but that won’t stop the median of people from saying “this movie is a goddamned commie hippie towel-head-loving piece of trash”.

      On the other hand, video games will bear all of the scrutiny because our children play these games and we don’t want our children getting the wrong impression about their fellow Americans in the glorious armed services.

      Just shrug, it’s really all you can do for now.

      • Grape Flavor says:

        hahaha, “this movie is a goddamned commie hippie towel-head-loving piece of trash”, what a line. You really think that’s what it’s like across the pond, huh?

        You guys’ funhouse-mirror, primary school-level caricature of what Americans are like would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

  24. frightlever says:

    This reads more like why EA was right to cancel MOH, but a new franchise may be needed to counter-act COD. I’ve no interest in these “realistic” military shooters so I don’t have a dog in this race, but maybe people who like COD, ie the bulk of this particular market, prefer their games cut and dry. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why the franchise never reached the same heights that modern COD has.

    Also, look at the controversy you’ll stir up presenting a game from multiple viewpoints. You’re basically saying let’s hear what the terrorists want to say, and that won’t fly in the US which is still the largest market.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Actually it could fly. High.

      It’s the establishment that isn’t interested in hearing about the terrorist side. Public opinion, my guess, is dying to learn more about it.

      Certainly a game isn’t the right medium for that. Won’t deny it. But a game has the power to further a society natural instinct for the truth.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      Wow, you guys crack me up. Let’s hear the other side that’s been suppressed by the evil American establishment, lol. The other side in Afghanistan is called the Taliban, it’s about reducing women to the status of cattle and shooting 14-year old girls in the head for wanting to go to school, among many other incredibly backwards and reprehensible things.

      For all the braying that goes on around here about misogyny, you’d think you guys would be a little less eager to make excuses for and offer sympathy to a group that violently despises everything you claim to stand for.

      But I guess the “diabolical scheming American imperialists vs. poor oppressed brown people” storyline is too juicy to resist, huh? It just plays to your biases so strongly that logic goes out the window.

  25. Soulstrider says:

    I will miss this franchise, sure it has declined but I have fond memories of playing it’s WW2 iterations.

  26. woodsey says:

    So he decries the homogenisation of gaming by citing the failure of one of the single-most homogenised titles of the past year.

    That’s almost admirably two-faced and obnoxious.

    • ucfalumknight says:

      Did we read the same article? I thought John was basically saying how MoH could have been something more than a horrible CoD clone. It could have been a vehicle to raise questions about the nature and ethical implications of modern warfare.

  27. soco says:

    The position of wanting an old franchise to stick around and reinvent itself seems a bit odd, especially coming from RPS. Don’t we chant for new IP and complain every year as we get inundated with sequel after sequel? In particular with manshooters.

    There have been some good MoH games, but it has been a long time. The last in these series was so bad it was a joke. This series screams to be put to rest and room made for something new.

    I’m not saying old franchises should never get redone, but there are many that have far more potential than MoH. There are tons of other manshooters…the space is overcrowded with them. Let this old dog retire and hope for something different down the road.

    • frightlever says:

      To be fair I think JW is just throwing out one of his opinion pieces in an effort to turn the comments thread into a snarling mess of knotty hate. I say we rise above it and act civilly to one another.

  28. Totally heterosexual says:

    Aaaaaaaaaaaa

    Frostbite 2 faces

    It hurts

  29. D3xter says:

    So you want more Popamole, advance based, cutscene-filled: http://www.abload.de/img/bitmxn8fyf.jpg shooters with Day-1 DLC, Microtransaction for bullets, Mandatory Online functionalities even in SinglePlayer, Origin Requirement and possibly Always-Online DRM?

    At this point I wouldn’t much care if EA cancelled their entire LineUp of games period similar to THQ, I would probably even be a little happy.

  30. sophof says:

    To be honest, All Quiet on the Western Front was published in 1928 as Im Westen nichts Neues in Germany, just 10 years after the end of the war (as I assume the writer knows since he mentions it :P). The movie was made in 1930. This is a very short time for such a big, polarising event, especially, as we know now, since WW2’s causes were already visible.
    So, yes, I think it is reasonable to expect such a game, even covering recent events such as Bosnia, the gulf war(s) or Afghanistan.

    I expect that war nor politics hasn’t changed that much for soldiers though, so maybe just watching the movie again or reading the book is fine ;)

    • Brun says:

      I don’t think WWI was as polarizing as you might think. From the Allies’ perspective it had a relatively clear moral imperative. It was also a symmetrical conflict (great powers fighting each other). Asymmetrical warfare like Vietnam and Afghanistan tends to be a bit more controversial even in the presence of an imperative.

  31. Mario Figueiredo says:

    I like John’s game concept. A war game where you, the soldier, are faced with both the horror and thrill of war fighting. No pampering cliches, no moral high or low ground. Just war as it can possibly be experienced in a modern game. A game where a companion soldier can be seen emptying his machine gun on a disbanding enemy unit murdering them in his induced war rage, only to then witness him crying at night not knowing is he’s homesick or ashamed of himself. You the player will decide.

    Also a game where the player can choose to ignore orders or obey them to a certain extent. A game where the player is confronted with their own actions. No rewarding or punishing mechanisms. Simply the story shaping itself to the player actions, sometimes in ways the player couldn’t anticipate — How many of us didn’t feel a profound rage for that German soldier in Saving Private Ryan when Upham sees him murdering his comrades after having spared his life? How many of us didn’t drop our jaws when American soldiers in Letters from Iwo Jima who were babysitting two Japanese POWs, decided to kill them because of their trouble? Sometimes there’s a repercussion (a game consequence to an action), others it’s the players actions alone that will define him.

    …All of that, if I understood John’s thoughts.

    War is a the home for idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies. It doesn’t need to be depicted against pacifism or to be shown as a thrill seeking ride or an horror house. War can be shown against itself. Simply a game of war where we can better understand in an emulated environment what leads us humans to it and how it shapes us. But above all, a game that tells a damn good war story. Something we haven’t seen yet.

    A game that can also explore the relationship between enemies on the battlefield. The hate mixed with respect. The emotional links between enemies during both wartime and afterwards. The profound friendships that can be generated between two people that once held arms against each other and actively sought to kill the other.

    But not Medal of War, John. Not that franchise. Let it die. It’s unworthy of such a theme. Hope for a new game.

  32. Misnomer says:

    What a have your cake and eat it too post from John Walker here,

    RPS panned this game ruthlessly before it even existed and wanted it to fail. Pretending like you want the series to continue after what you wrote is completely disingenuous. You hated the game before it came out and then hated it after it came out by writing a review that verified your self -fulfilling prophecy.

    Now I don’t think that MOH:W was a great or possibly even a good game. Mechanically it failed at its own linear style quite a few more times than MOH 2010, the GUI was horrible, and the plot was easily lost between pretty samey feeling missions. But:

    The game was not racist in any sense. You teamed up with people from around the world to take on terrorists from around the world. In fact, (putting it in your terms of racism where apparently all “brown people” are the same) you team up with some soldiers FROM THE PHILIPINES while you are in the Philippines. It is a game that allows you to play as your nation in the multiplayer and includes many different races in its skins collection. But, none of this fits into your narrative about how all military shooters today are xenophobic because they aren’t about shooting Nazis.

    The EA ceos are right, you guys can’t handle authenticity. You would likely call a game where you play an Algerian soldier in the raid on the gas plant “racist” for killing the same old Arab/African Terrorist enemies.

    So…. you helped kill the series John. Probably not as much as poor quality control, horrible gui, and mediocre map design, but your comments from the moment this game was marketed were either flat out ignorant (Medal of Honour* or failing to recognize that Warfighter is a real word used by the U.S. military) or driven by your own political bias to find racism and misogyny where it clearly did not exist if you paid attention to the game.

    I am getting sick of RPS calling people racist and then describing all ethnicities in games as “brown people” as if it makes you clever. So stop acting as if you are sad that the series is gone. You actively campaigned to kill it. Get back to screaming WARFACE at each other and feeling proud of yourselves for being so enlightened.

    • Askeladd says:

      How do you ‘campaign’ against a game as a games journalist? I also don’t see the issue on the matter he ‘called it crap’ and now is saddened by the fact the series did end this way. Makes sense to me…

      • Misnomer says:

        Search Medal of Honor (and Honour) on this blog and read everything leading up to the game. He campaigned against it. There is nothing about the Danger Close products he respects and therefore the name means far more to him (despite abusing it for a long time).

        Certainly it couldn’t be the fact that it is a military shooter series, because one of the frequent criticisms is that there are too many of these. So apparently what he misses is the chance to take a series and use it as an opportunity to peddle his politics to the genre with a developed trademark instead of an indie title that will be ignored.

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          I think Mr Walker likes applying the MK Ultra approach to industry influence. He breaks a company with his endless withering scorn, and then when they burst into tears, he becomes fatherly, advising them how to mend their ways, rewarding good behaviour and showing them how they can at last meet with approval.

          See Ubisoft Vs Walker, 2009-2012.
          Look out for Open World game with simulation elements from EA sometime around August, and pictures of Mr Riccitiello with tears of anguished happiness in his eyes.

      • Shooop says:

        “Campaign” is definitely the wrong word, but John has had absolutely nothing nice to say about the two modern MoH games. Not many people do.

        This article really kind of confuses me too – isn’t a game finally being acknowledged by its own creators as a catastrophe a good thing? It means there’s a chance someone learned something.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Yeah, John, IF THAT IS YOUR REAL NAME!

      How did you do it? How did you write every single review of this game for all websites and magazines in every language across every platform to give a fairly unanimous “meh” to this game? Is there no limit to the depths of your depravity?

      You wrote about how you hoped it wouldn’t turn into a Call of Duty jingoistic bombast-fest and then you have the temerity to write about how it went and turned into a Call of Duty jingoistic bombast-fest and that it was a missed opportunity to do something different rather than try to be a second-rate imitation of the market leader! I mean, it’s as though you had a consistent set of thoughts and opinions and wrote about them before, during, and after!

      YOU killed this game, John! It was YOU, the RPS writer I happen to have a hate-on for! Oh, when I see John’s name at the top of an RPS article I get the most delicious tingles of angryinternetmannyness in my special place. One day I’m going to write a book about you, and it’s going to be called “Oh How I Hate John Walker”.

      • Misnomer says:

        Yeah, I didn’t say it was entirely John’s fault. I just think he is being disingenuous because he contributed to its failing with his constant political attacks on the game. To quote myself:

        “So…. you HELPED kill the series John. Probably not as much as poor quality control, horrible gui, and mediocre map design…”

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Oh come on, making fun of a game and calling it crap pre-release might affect its sales figures and attitudes towards it, but it won’t actually make it crap! Perhaps you’re trying to explain a process that I’m not understanding, what leads from a journalist calling a game crap during development and it actually turning out to be a middle of the road, badly designed piece of twoddle?

      • Askeladd says:

        If he knew the game’s bad he should have called it a day and not write about it then, because he knows his other franchise destroying journalist buddies, will get the job done?
        What you say is somehow awkward.
        Not John destroyed that game, but the developer/publisher did. They are so predictable with their games nowadays that I can almost safely say it’s shit before it’s released. Maybe that’s just my taste. I generally have to throw up from generic shooters nowadays.

        • Misnomer says:

          See that was the problem. John was too busy peddling his politics to actually write about how it wasn’t a generic shooter. It tried to be different and failed in many ways because it was not proficient as a game. For example, look at the screenshots of the women in the cut scenes. Those scenes tried to tell the tale of the impact of soldier deployment on families back home and make sense of the special forces lifestyle. That is bold and different, but the bad animation drew away from it and made the whole thing seem a bit trite.

          John ignored this because he decided the game was misogynistic for only talking about wives and not husbands (despite there being no women in American special forces). This was just one of many opinions that he had and wrote about the game that could have been written without ever playing it even though the game itself spoke on the matter. Like many here, the opinion of “this type of game” seemed to be more important than responding to the game itself.

          There was stuff to criticize here. The game did have issues, but it wasn’t a “generic” shooter. It tried to do something a little different and failed most of the time. RPS readers and John just seem willing to say that it is a cookie cutter game though even when it probably would have sold much better if it straight ripped off COD rather than going for authenticity, missing, and landing in the uncanny valley.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            Could you point out the article where John called it ‘misogynistic’? Or even where he was heavy handed with politics? I’ve just flicked through his articles on it and his main criticism seems to be of Linkin Park. Just thought I’d ask because there’s a bit of a ‘John is too political’ bandwagon and it feels a bit like you’re over-egging the pudding.

            The most I found was a criticism of the multiplayer flashing ‘KILLSTREAK’ on the screen after you’ve shot a load of Afghani’s, which I can understand.

          • caddyB says:

            So what you are saying is: ” He doesn’t think the same things I do, therefore he is wrong.”?

          • Brun says:

            It tried to do something a little different and failed most of the time.

            Doing something “a little different” is not enough when the market is as saturated as the modern military shooter market is today. Failing at what is supposed to set you apart just makes it worse.

          • Misnomer says:

            Eddy, read the review of Warfighter linked in the above article. You will see this colorful tidbit from John:

            “And then, as it to try to apologise for itself, it all finishes with a sickly treacle funeral, and a display of messages that inform us of the bravery of these men. Men, note. While it’s no surprise that yet another military game lives in denial that there are female soldiers, the closing message is a real kick in the face for anyone who’s lost a wife, mother or daughter.”

            The fact that the letter at the end was written from the perspective of a wife and may have even been an excerpt from a real letter does not phase John. He cut out the bit that offended him, those of us who played the game knew the context of the letter was very much specific to the experience of a wife and not just any gender spouse. John also ignored that the game is clearly about top tier special forces, which in the U.S. means, no women can serve.Only this week have American women been allowed into combat roles in the U.S. Military….with their participation in special forces still to be decided. His politics mattered more than either what the game actually said or what the reality the game tried to reflect actually is.

            So the EA Ceos are right, authenticity, in fact reality, matter little to the reviewers of the game. Their own politics colored the judgment and the review heavily. Flawed game very much so, but flawed review far more so.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      My heart wants to believe this game really is so despicable and all these comments are spot on, but my brain tells me that, genuinely-crummy game aside, the rest of this big to-do is probably just the same hysterical nonsense that’s come to define this site in recent days.

      Funny how pattern recognition kicks in like that. If this place wasn’t so consistently scraping the bottom of the barrel I’d be inclined to just hand over benefit of the doubt, but no.

  33. mehteh says:

    Leave it to a console focus publisher to take a good old PC franchise, dumb it down with console focus, and then shelve it because they tarnished its name.

    • Askeladd says:

      Hey, Syndicate!
      How about a Bladerunner?!

    • Premium User Badge

      Chaz says:

      Dumb it down and give it a console focus. WTF! are you talking about? Medal of Honor has hardly been the most cerebral series of games has it, and most of the past games have also been on console too anyway.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      As somone mentioned before, the MoH series were originally console games.

      So I’m not sure what you’re getting at here.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      This “good old PC franchise” you’re saying has been dumbed down due to a console focus, would that be Medal of Honor? The Medal of Honor which debuted on the PlayStation 1? That franchise?

      Yeah.

  34. Crazy Hippo says:

    Personally, i am happy with the decision to give the MOH series a bit of a sabbatical. take some time out and spend some time evaluating where they want MOH to go, take the time to design a new one and work on gameplay features and get it right.
    the previous 2 incarnations of MOH have for me been awful (and most other people). The IP has great history, which is fairly obvious as it wouldnt have had so many new games. I dont think there was an overarching agreement in what they wanted to do with the last few games, they were part battlefield and part COD and exclled at none. even BF3 is a watered down version of the battlefield franchise (not including Bad Company or Modern Combat in that comparison) in an attempt to make it appeal more to the COD crowd.

    i hope that in the next few years we get an announcement from EA that they are bringing MOH back and it returns to being a great game, well, one can but hope.

    • Misnomer says:

      What could the game be though?

      You claim BF3 is watered down, but it contains BF2 plus more of everything. (the only real BF2 things missing anymore are commander, voip and six man squads).

      The original MOH was an incredibly basic MP game by today’s standards. You want a game with 15 total weapons and a couple classes defined solely by those weapons?

      No, COD would crush that flat out. Either you do something new or COD crushes you. You can’t go back to the old MOH because that is content light by today’s standards. People would be bored with it within a day.

      I still think the worst thing about MOH:W in MP is the map design, followed closely by the GUI. It wasn’t that the game didn’t reflect MOHAA enough, it was that people couldn’t figure out what their next unlock was or how to customize everything about themselves (GUI failure) and gameplay was too fast for the mechanics in the game (every gun has optics on it, yet the maps are too small to make use of optics).

      Quite simply though it doesn’t matter. If you can’t do as much as well as COD, BF, or ARMA series in this genre today you are going to fail. It is the same thing as MMOs trying to dethrone WoW. People think that just tweaking the dominant game will somehow beat it, but unless it is out there and can still compete with TF2 and CS….it is going to fail.

      MOH is dead because there is no place for it in the market. As I keep saying to people about Crysis 3 as we play the beta. It is great and all, very pretty, very polished….but where does this fast paced TDM fit into my library? What does this bring that will make my friends purchase? Marginally better…meh.

    • Brun says:

      Disagree about BF3 being watered down, the only thing it was missing over BF2 was built-in squad/team voice chat (I know it has the Battlelog voice chat thing, but that’s only for friends). It’s a step up in pretty much every way from BFBC2.

  35. Shooop says:

    We already got a game that tackled almost all the themes you imagined. It’s called Spec Ops: The Line.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    Hey this game can’t be all bad. It appears to star Neil Fallon.

    Maybe that’s where they should have taken the game – follow our hirsute hero as he leaves the military behind in favour of forming a blues-inflected hard rock band.

  37. Radiant says:

    Pellucidity a call to arms for all drunk pelicans everywhere.

  38. Zeewolf says:

    I don’t really get why this series needs to be rescued in the first place. Yeah, someone could make a decent wargame exploring interesting themes (John is wrong about Spec Ops, btw), but is there any particular reason that should be a MoH-game?

  39. brulleks says:

    Taking on board the idea of multiple viewpoints, and forced execution, I’d be interested to see a game where you are forced to execute a captured enemy but, in later levels, you unknowingly play the part of that executed soldier in the hours leading up to their capture and death.

    Or perhaps the first character could be given the choice to kill or not kill, and then, of course, the fate of that later player-character would have been unwittingly decided by you earlier in the game.

  40. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    One thing slightly related to this that puzzles me:

    It seems like very few recent shooters have copied the Halo series in aesthetic or gameplay. Why? It’s just as successful as CoD, give or take a few units sold, and it’s a much more varied, tactically interesting, and open game, with richer emergent possibilities and smarter AI.

    I expect a lot of sneering below this post, but whatever you think of either game, it’s true. CoD is a whack-a-mole funhouse ride that funnels you down exactly one path, has no controllable vehicles, and gives you the exact right weapon to use in every situation. It takes control away from you on a regular basis, forces you to constantly follow a larger, tougher man with the supernatural ability to open doors, and has enemies who are just astonishingly stupid. It is the brown manshoot distilled to its essence.

    Halo’s levels are more open, its battles are less straightforward, its enemies are smarter and tougher, it’s colorful, it has distinct characters with defined personalities, there are drivable vehicles, most battles are mini-sandboxes where you can employ multiple tactical approaches, the guns all have obvious tactical advantages and disadvantages that change your approach to play, and it’s not offensively jingoistic. You can’t play a Halo game on autopilot.

    I just answered my own question, didn’t I?

    Am sad now. :(

    • Grape Flavor says:

      I’ve pretty much viewed the Crysis games as the Halo successor ever since that series abandoned the PC. I think it has a awful lot of what you describe, but a lot of people around here like to hate on Crytek so I might be alone on this one.

      • Brun says:

        I agree with you 100%. The original Crysis, Warhead, and to a lesser extent Crysis 2, were *very* evocative of Halo’s gameplay. Large open set pieces, shield/health mechanics, vehicle usage, etc. were quite similar.

        • Premium User Badge

          ffordesoon says:

          Oh, Crysis 2 was one of the few imitators I was thinking of when I wrote that post. I wish there were more.

          • Brun says:

            The level design of Crysis 2 more closely resembles some of Halo’s smaller, more linear levels. But remember the Silent Cartographer mission from the original Halo? One big-ass open island. The gameplay is similar in that you’re a armored-suit-wearin’ shield-chargin’ super soldier in both games.

  41. The Random One says:

    I don’t understand. John, I too would like to play the game you describe. But that game would never come out on a franchise that has always been so matter-of-fact with its subject matter, and which is owned and considered a cash cow by a humongous, risk-adverse megapublisher. It’s not and can never be a Medal of Honor game.

    Even Spec Ops: The Line only happened as a fluke, because 2K demanded Yager make a military shooter and Yager was like “but I don’t wanna” and 2K was like “you make a military shooter right now young lady!” and Yager was like “but I hate them! Hate hate hate hate hate! Can I make one that is a vicious deconstruction of the dehumanizing veneer of violence inherent to the genre?” and 2K was like “FINE but you need to put some multiplayer there” and Yager was like :-/

    Also I’m on my cell and every time I scroll past the screenshot with the bearded guy in a suit I have the impression he’s the spy from TF2.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Thank you for that chillingly accurate portrayal of the decision-making process that led to Spec Ops: The Line.

      • The Random One says:

        omg you guys Lord Custard Smingleigh likes one of my posts, this is the BEST DAY EVER *_________*

    • Kirjava says:

      If only more publishers were that blase about letting their guys make games- we might have more awesomeness like Spec Ops.

  42. Grape Flavor says:

    Well, damn.

    Strangely, I kind of actually want to play this now just to see if it’s really as terrible and offensive as you all say, or whether this is just a bunch of overblown drama. I hate to actually give EA money for making a horrible game, but now that even the RPS writers themselves are openly decrying the game as reprehensible and racist and all that, a bold assertion which had previously confined itself to the comments, my curiosity is piqued. I don’t quite trust RPS enough to just take your word for it, you know? Sorry guys.

    I guess there’s always the pirate option, but considering what a dim view I generally take towards that sort of thing I’d be reluctant to make myself into a hypocrite. Maybe YouTube videos would suffice? I dunno.

    I really enjoyed the first two Call of Duties but haven’t touched the series since, never played a MoH, has this genre really gone so far downhill? I’m genuinely curious now.

    • Misnomer says:

      Overblown drama. If you play the game you will mostly be wondering what all the fuss is about because it is mostly just a mediocre game that failed to technologically and gameplay wise live up to its authenticity aspirations. It is far less political than John would have you believe.

    • drkeiscool says:

      Grape Flavor:

      The game is Average. It is the epitome of average. The gameplay is boring, the level design is crushingly linear, the color palette is shades of brown and blue, and the story is about hunting terrorists who have a weapon and want to kill people because reasons.

      While it’s not as appallingly bad as the article makes it out to be, it’s so boring that… I can’t even think of a good metaphor. Don’t waste your money or your bandwidth on it.

  43. jwoozy says:

    This is the worst article I’ve seen on RPS in a long time. What the fuck is the point here? RPS laments death of boring, generic manshooters they are happy to despise on any other day. Unless there was any sliver of a chance that this series was going to do a complete 180 and put you into the perspective of the thousands senselessly murdered by wars of aggression perpetrated on behalf imperialism, bury it deep and salt the ground above. We have plenty of hand-wringing troop dramas that are more than happy to miss the point already.

    • Premium User Badge

      maninahat says:

      Perhaps it was because MOH was once the pioneer FPS, giving us visceral, exciting and interesting experiences that outstripped the competition. And now it’s become a derivative, follow the leader, brainless, dispassionate series precisely because they stopped bothering with innovation. When COD3 got a negative reception, the devs got the message, put their heads together, and completely changed the setting and tone to produce one of the most excellent FPS games of its day. When MOH gets that same reception for its tired out franchise, the devs just shrug and euthanize the series.

      In other words, rather than make the effort and try something new, they surrendered. And for a company with that much money and support behind it, that feels like a huge waste of potential.

    • thecat17 says:

      I wouldn’t say this is the worst article on RPS (personally, I think this still remains it), but I do find myself confused when reading:

      A core element of Medal Of Honor was telling a number of stories from a number of perspectives, and it’s in this that there’s so much room to ask multiple questions about the state of contemporary warfare, to represent a number of viewpoints, to pit thesis against antithesis.

      And:

      Imagine a Medal Of Honor that explores this. A number of viewpoints, a representation of different attitudes, with no informing the player of which is the “correct” perspective. A game that sees soldiers challenged in their previous convictions, whether they were blind patriotism or borderline pacifism.

      And:

      Frankly, having made one’s mind up about such a broad, intricate subject is, in itself, somewhat suspicious.

      And after all that:

      I think there’s definitely room for a game to provide the opposing anti-war thoughts that would directly respond to the extreme pro- nature of so many shooters. But I don’t think Medal Of Honor would be the right place to do such a thing.

      I mean… what?
      So Medal of Honor should have multiple viewpoints, and ask questions regarding the state of war… but nothing from an anti-war viewpoint? You wot, mate?

      I know Walker doesn’t have it in him to ever write a terrible article, and this wasn’t one if you ask me. Yet, confused I remain, even after another rereading.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        I think maybe John is saying that military shooters as a genre have potential for portraying viewpoints from different sides of a conflict, but not specifically an anti-war message. Makes sense, a game that tries to make combat enjoyable and then tries to say it’s against war would be a little confusing… like spec:ops for example.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        It does make sense. He’s, I believe, asking for a game that doesn’t patronize us yet again with an anti-war message or some boring already war vs anti-war dichotomy. It’s a bit silly playing a game that tries to underline how terrible war is by having you shoot a whole lot of people in the face.

        Instead a game that searches for war own idiosyncrasies and explores those. A game about war. Different viewpoints from within the war concept itself. But above all a game that does this without trying to thrust the player into its own views of these issues. The player himself or herself, will make the judgment calls. Their own actions will define how they look at war or how they chose to roleplay war.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Also, funny with how I always seem to sit on the wrong side of the fence with RPS. You mentioned one of the most disagreed articles on this website. And yet it’s one I completely agreed on.

          The game still sits on my Steam collection. And still installed, mind you. But to this day I couldn’t make my mind to go over the 10 hours of gameplay I made on it when I bought it. It was that boring, that un-inventive to me, after the first-person creative explosion that was Fallout 3. But one thing I will admit, I may have been thrown out by the whole New Vegas and Mojave Desert setting. Far less appealing to me than a once bustling metropolis and its surrounding areas. Also… I just couldn’t stand the damn robots. The minute I saw that ridiculous impossible thing with a cowboy face talking to me I must have sighed.

  44. mrmalodor says:

    I disagree. It’s good that EA canned MoH. If they won’t give the franchise to someone who can do something significant with it, then it should die.

    TBH, I thought Warfighter was better than the previous one, but still nothing much. I didn’t buy it, of course — it was lent to me.

    I liked the driving mission, it looked great. Perhaps EA should instead consider making a true racing game that looks as good as that mission? I think it would be more successful than MoH.

  45. judge_za says:

    I don’t know where the racism comes in but the opening paragraph could be used describe any modern Call of Duty game. MOH contains some of my best gaming memories, MOHAA, Pacific Assault, Airborne were excellent. At times I feel MoH is just a scapegoat for people to criticise EA, thus the eagerness of people to see this franchise die.

  46. buzzmong says:

    The demise of the series is no loss to the gaming world. Honestly it isn’t as even going right back to the PSX versions, they’ve only ever been ok at best.

    The first was fun, but it was still on rails (not something I can really fault for the time) and one of the most lauded, Allied Assault, really spent most of the game riding on the coat tails of its opening scene, but I’ll at least say those games took it seriously and were trying to be good games and tell a story even if they fell short.

    Most have been a bit meh, and none really have ever matched up to the CoD series either (which is also now needing to be taken around the back of the barn as shown by everything past CoD 4).

    The only MoH game on both PC and consoles that I can say from the past 5 or so years that’s worth a passing playthough is Airbourne, and even that was a bit bland on the narrative front.

  47. Stevostin says:

    No blockbuster does this. Last Action Hero was questionning the genre and its violence and it was a nuclear flop. You just wont find a movie showing what it really looks like on the ground when it has been flamed by NATO. So, no movie about shooting journalists in Iraq, burning a whole wedding party in Afghanistan, no sir. And no video game either (except the ones made in Teheran, I suppose).

  48. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    Oh, Mickey! What is egregious?

  49. Premium User Badge

    maninahat says:

    Screw the “let’s play in a different war” comments. How about playing as a different person? As in, one who isn’t an invulnerable, one man army bullet sponge killing machine from the US of A. Want to make a real anti war statement? Don’t let us play as the soldiers, let us play as the civilians caught in between. Maybe we’re a doctor who desperately is trying to save the lives of the people getting chopped down by the troops from both lines. Maybe its the fighting itself should be the enemy, rather than vaguely ethnic foreigners. Perhaps they could even let you pick up a gun, only for it to be an instant death sentence as you can scarcely even fire it one way or another without both sides mercilessly turning their .50s on you.

  50. Vander says:

    “In fact, a game that honestly represented the perspectives of active soldiers would be entirely unlike the war-profiteering Medal Of Honor”

    Yeah, more it will never be released, because it will be really politically incorrect.

    I did go to war, in the French Foreign Legion. The guys that i knew, those who were in the fighting units (and not only in the FFL, but also in others french units and allied armies) were simply not nice people by civilian standards.

    I saw it IRL often, when i responded to questions about war truthfully, before i learned to respond with clichés. When you respond to people who say to you “It must be horrible to shoot at another human being” by “No, it fell quite good”, they don’t understand. Because they never experienced being shot at. Its a natural reaction, primal, on the moment. That do not mean that it doesnt dwell on a corner of your thoughts tough. And its a…how to put it…state of mind? mindframe? experience? wich is utterly impossible to duplicate in a videogame.

    And you have take in account the fact that a lot soldiers are assholes, by civilian standards. Again, especially on frontline troops. Because your job is to kill people, often horrible people sure but kill people nonetheless, you got a mentality were life is somewhat “cheaper”. I knew people for wich the biggest reason for not killing civilians was not because it is immoral, but because that can cause problem with the higher-up. Who saw corpse in masses in a hasty tomb digged by a bulldozer, who didn’t fell nothing at all, “its just dead meat”.

    The real fighter is very different from the posterboy the army (from every country) show you. And very different from the guy that most player want to play.