Electronic Arts is not backing down from criticism over letting gamers don the role of the Taliban in Medal of Honor multiplayer. In a recent interview with Develop, EA Games President Frank Gibeau, used "The Red Badge of Courage" and "The Hurt Locker" as examples of art imitating life – something the company contends it is doing with its new Medal of Honor game.
"At EA we passionately believe games are an artform, and I don’t know why films and books set in Afghanistan don’t get flack, yet [games] do," EA Games President Frank Gibeau told Develop Online. "Whether it’s ‘Red Badge of Courage’ or ‘The Hurt Locker,’ the media of its time can be a platform for the people who wish to tell their stories. Games are becoming that platform."
Critics have taken issue with EA letting gamers play as the Taliban, the real enemy that NATO forces are dealing with on a daily basis in Afghanistan. Gibeau acknowledged that allowing gamers to play as a Taliban solider is a bit of a "creative risk," but he said that EA won’t give in to the media outcry that wants to "compromise our creative vision and what we want to do."
Gibeau also points out that setting the game in Afghanistan is a normal and natural move for the company because the Medal of Honor games are always set in real "war zones."
"That’s always been a Medal of Honor concept–we put you in the boots of a solider, whether it’s in the Pacific, Europe, Afghanistan; it’s always been the story of the solider," he told Develop Online.
Ultimately EA wants to stand up for the game because it is an important and popular franchise, and because it doesn’t want its game to end up like Atomic Games’ and Konami’s Six Days in Fallujah, which ended up being cancelled due to public pressure.
Medal of Honor is scheduled to launch on October 12 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.