In a weird cross-promotional frenzy, Medal of Honor: Warfighter (for a time) was promoting the sale of real weapons through the official site of its virtual game. Players were being asked to check out the real world weapons featured in Warfighter and encouraged, in some cases, to purchase them.
A controversial move to say the least, this promotional ploy by the folks behind Medal of Honor: Warfighter, specifically Executive Producer Greg Goodrich, is in poor taste. There is some leeway in the realm of cross-promotion, but when it encourages gamers to get their hands on weapons it becomes a bigger issue.
Goodrich began a series of blog posts on the Warfighter site – posts that have since been taken down – hyping up many of the weapons that will be featured in the game. He even announced a partnership with a knife manufacturer that would breed a limited edition tomahawk that is currently available for pre-order. This is a pre-order well beyond some night vision goggles or a remote controlled car.
All of the aforementioned materials have since been taken down, whether it was by publisher EA or Danger Close is unclear, but the damage is already done. Many gamers were looking forward to Warfighter because of its adoption of the Frostbite 2 engine, but this poorly timed PR move might have soiled the property.
It’s one thing to claim your game features authentic weapons used in a military setting, but to provide the means for fans to purchase those weapons over the Internet is another. We’ve just experienced a national tragedy that resulted from one person’s covert patronage of a gun distributor, and showing individuals how easy it is to acquire those weapons paints the company in a bad light.
Needless to say the damage has been done, and while most will never know this even happened when Warfighter releases, it’s important to put video games in their proper context: as a source of entertainment. Further drawing any connection between the escapism present in a military shooter and real life only gives concerned officials more fuel.
How do you feel about the sale of real weapons being “promoted” on the Warfighter website? When does the line between entertainment and reality get crossed?
Medal of Honor: Warfighter releases October 23, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.