EA Caves, Renames Taliban in MOH

Did not see this one coming, but via Kotaku (thanks Cheater87!), Electronic Arts has folded like a cheap suit and announced that it is renaming the Taliban forces in its upcoming Medal of Honor game to the more benign “Opposing Force.”

To be fair, Medal of Honor Greg Goodrich, in a statement on the game’s website, indicated that the renaming was done in response to “reverence for American and Allied soldiers.”

More from Goodrich:

… 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.

The change “should not directly affect gamers,” wrote Goodrich, who added that “this franchise will never willfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service.”

Quite an about-face from August, when EA Games President Frank Gibeau said that the company would not give in to critics seeking to “compromise our creative vision and what we want to do.”

The inclusion and ability to play as the Taliban in Medal of Honor’s multiplayer mode drew fire from the UK’s Defense Secretary, and the Defense Ministers of Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands. It also resulted in the game being banned from GameStop stores located on U.S. military bases.

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  1. Father Time says:

    Freaking EA why did you have to compromise on this? There was little reason to give in and you should’ve stood your ground. Having the Taliban does not disrespect any Allied solier’s memory, especially if you paint them in a bad light.

    I trulyn hope this doesn’t become a South Park like scenario where you have to cave into everyone making stupid demands to protect their sensitivites.


     Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  2. Nicgross says:

    This is sad. Nobody gives a crap when you’re playing as a Nazi in a World War II game. The enemy is the enemy depending which theatre of war you’re fighting in. If you’re going to change that, just go ahead and eliminate multiplayer all together. 

  3. FlakAttack says:

    Oh no, a game about a modern war has the taliban in it! GET THE TORCHES!

    All this fear mongering about video games… it’s sad that politicians actually do it on purpose to fuel the "FOR THE KIDS" mentality. What are they going to do next, tell us 3D TV is the new devil? "But it’s so visceral, like you’re right in the action! BAN IT"

  4. finaleve says:

    I recall SOCOM Combined Assualt suddenly changing the name "Terrorists" to some other name, and I know for a fact that the previous 3 titles had always had Terrorists as one side to play on (other was seals).  I didn’t see a problem with it at all, no matter how close to home it may have been.

  5. State says:

    With the change of one word you would’ve thought that EA removed entire levels or stopped the game completely judging by the reaction. The word change doesn’t change the game or the experience.

    Quite frankly this whole mess could’ve been avoided initially if EA didn’t bother explicitly naming the Taliban in the game, although I do wonder whether it was intentional to cause controversy judging by the company’s recent record (eg Dante’s Inferno and Dead Space). They got their pre-order figures up and good publicity for launch so it appears that they don’t have to use that one word in the game now.

  6. Uncharted NES says:

    @Nightwing, you’d better. I want to be able to buy one of those shirts soon. 🙂

    Isn’t there a modding community MoH (for almost every FPS for that matter)? Why not make a patch that fixes it?

    We should not allow the “roaches” to win so easily.

  7. State says:

    Whilst the people who criticised it never would’ve bought the game, I wonder how many people would’ve pre-ordered the game if it didn’t generate this controversy?

    This controversy helped generate sales, and EA have a track record of trying to create controversy to generate sales.

  8. egreif says:

    I find this very cowardly of EA. I have wanted to play Medal of Honor games since the PSone game, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet. Now that they are insulting my intelligence by catering to the whims of a group that doesn’t even buy video games (honestly, every complaint over featuring "Taliban" in multiplayer is made by someone who is not a video game player) I cannot justify the purchase. EA has lost a lot of respect from me again. The first time was when they treated their developers and employees unfairly by screwing them out of overtime. They got the respect back by changing how they did things. Now that they’re directly insulting the intelligence of their customers, I refuse to buy this product. I may consider other EA products, but even then I will be hesitant to purchase them.

  9. Monte says:

     Where does money play into this exactly? I mean i think i recent read that MoH was breaking pre-order sales records. The vast majority of people bitching about the game are people who would have never bought it in the first place. Hell frankly i would hope that we’d see a lot of canceled pre-orders from gamers who are irritated by EA caving to political pressure.

  10. Sabrel says:

    Money trumps principles every time. Why do you think our political system is the morass it is?

    Disappointing, EA. If you were going to cave on this, you should have done it immediately. Making it a stand for creative freedom, and then taking a dive just tanks your credibility, and the credibility of the industry with it.

    Next time, when the industry is the middle of a big fight to be respected as a legitimate artform, and you happen to get the spotlight thrown on you, try not to look like tools.

  11. hellfire7885 says:

    So, how long before more demands are made. Perhaps the "Oposing force" won’t even be made to look middle eastern, perhaps they won’t be referred to as terrorists.

    As I like to say, when changes like those occur due to fear, when the freedom of expression is curbed because another is offended..

    *Counter Strike voice* Terrorists win.

  12. nightwng2000 says:

    Imagination is a wonderful thing.  Thus far Anti-Human Rights supporters cannot arrest, put through trial, and convict anyone who imagines things that they don’t like.

    Psst!  Although I’m not interested in this genre, here’s an idea:  When you play, and see the words "opposing force", mentally envision it saying "Taliban" instead.  So there!  😛

    And, hey, actually TELL people that’s what you do.  After all, just because you play one on TV, doesn’t mean you ARE one in real life.

    Edit:  Ya know what?  I actually like that last sentence.  Think I’ll make some T-Shirts with it on them.  🙂


    NW2K Software


    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  13. black manta says:

    I doubt this is really going to placate anyone either, as those who are opposed to this game have already made their minds up.  If this was done just so it can be sold on military bases, I agree it is pandering as well as a shallow money-grab from EA to make sure they earn every last dollar (Which doesn’t make sense, as any serviceman could simply go and buy the game off-base anyway if they really wanted to.  So the question of potentially lost sales is moot).  Still, I don’t think that those who instituted that sales ban are going to be fooled by this, as all that was done is change the name when it’s still clear who they’re supposed to be.

  14. JDKJ says:

    I, The Master of Saying It, couldn’t have said it any better. It’s pandering to this kind of xenophobia that got the United States and its allies between a rock and hard place and which’ll keep them there.

  15. DorkmasterFlek says:

    If this pacifies the people opposed to this game, they are simply pathetic.  It’s okay to have military games set in modern conflict, but actually identifying the opposing faction is insulting?  It’s okay to demonize the enemy, but don’t you dare actually portray them in equal lights to our own military forces.  Fuck all of you pathetic warmongering roaches.

  16. Andrew Eisen says:

    Shame on you EA.  Shame.

    "… 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."

    More important than the voices of the people who were actually going to buy your game in the first place, huh?

    And possible shame on you "friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of [MOH]."

    All EA has done is rename the "Taliban" (which was called "insurgents" in all press materials I’ve seen) to "Opposing Force."  Does this truly mollify you?  Does this make it all okay?  Will gamers playing the same exact game with a different word used to describe the enemy help you sleep at night?

    I hope not.  That would be truly pathetic.

    Then again, so is raising a stink about something so innocuous in the first place.


    Andrew Eisen

  17. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Quite an about-face from August, when EA Games President Frank Gibeau said that the company would not give in to critics seeking to “compromise our creative vision and what we want to do.”

    This is maybe the saddest part. They made a promise and a few months later, they broke it. It´s very disappointing.

    The great problem is that now on more and more people without any knowledge or respect for games will demand more and more censorship. And if big companies like EA (and Konami with their own game) are willing to accomplish those demands, it can´t be good for nobody.

    Let´s see if in the few next months another company decides that censorship is more important than their "creative vision" or their own costumers.

    Good job, EA, good job.

    ———————————————————— My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

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