Multinational video game producer Electronic Arts (EA) has defended its decision to allow game players to use Taliban characters in its new video game, stating that such role-playing is an inevitable part of modern multiplayer gaming.
The game is Medal of Honor, a name most will recognize given that EA has made several of these first-person-shooters in the last decade. All previous editions have been based around Second World War campaigns, with the player controlling a United States soldier aiming to defeat Axis characters.
The new edition is set in modern-day Afghanistan. There had been some skepticism about the game when its producer mentioned that it would be told “from two different sides,” though it appears this simply meant that the player will control characters from different units within the US military. As far as the single-player game goes, the player will only control US troops.
Previous Multiplayer Games Set In Past
The difference comes with online multiplayer gaming. Here, as with a 2007 release, players take on the roles of both sides and engage in a combat scenario. This didn’t cause much complaint last time, even though it meant some players controlled Axis characters. In the new game, it means one set of players will be playing as the Taliban and attempting to kill other players who are playing as US forces.
Electronic Arts responded to the criticism by telling Fox News that “We give gamers the opportunity to play both sides. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven. If someone’s the cop, someone’s got to be the robber, someone’s got to be the pirate, somebody’s got to be the alien. In Medal Of Honor multiplayer, someone has to be the Taliban.”
Not the First Controversial Game Involving Terrorists
This isn’t the first controversy involving a video game using terrorists. Last year, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was hugely successful despite a mission in which the player’s character went undercover and took part in a terrorist attack at an airport. The final release of the game was set up so that players could skip the mission without affecting their overall progress.
Other games have been developed that involve modern conflict scenarios but have either been cancelled or postponed. These include a game set in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.