Scorned and now shelved, EA’s Medal of Honor franchise garnered nothing but Purple Hearts during its contemporary-reboot attempt. Transitioning the series from the second World War to the Global War on Terror, 2010′s Medal of Honor and 2012′s Medal of Honor: WarfighterÂ both released to paltry reviews and sales. The former forced EA to admit that it “didn’t meet” the publisher’s standard for quality; the latter forced them to pull the series “out of the rotation” altogether.
The reason for its failure, as we’ve established before, is quite simple: Medal of Honor was an exercise in counterintuity. EA created a hopelessly inferior competitor to its own flagship shooter, Battlefield 3, using the same engine, the same time period and less resources to produce two uninspired single-player campaigns and multiplayer that felt like a recycled oddment of its larger cousin. Tier One-operative protagonists, Bin Laden-killing development consultants, Linkin Park — they were never enough for distinguishing the franchise by its own merits.
Despite its troubles, however, EA isn’t ready toÂ completely abandonÂ Medal of HonorÂ just yet. Speaking in a recent postmortem interview with Rock, Paper Shotgun,Â EA chief creative director Rich Hilleman asserted that, despite January’s decommissioning, Medal of Honor is still a viable franchise for the publisher going forward… it just has a number of, shall we say severe, challenges to overcome.
Starting with the publisher itself. The current state of the series isn’t a referendum on modern military shooters, Hilleman’s says, but rather a result of EA’s failed execution:
â€œWe donâ€™t think its a genre problem. Itâ€™s an execution problem. We donâ€™t think Medal of Honorâ€™s performance speaks to any particular bias in that space against modern settings or World War II or any of that. Itâ€™s much more that we had some things we shouldâ€™ve done better.â€
According to Hilleman, EA has come to the realization that developing two distinct but similarly appealing shooter brands side-by-side just isn’t sustainable:
â€œWhat we think right now is that, for the next couple years, we can just have one great thing in that space. So weâ€™re choosing for it to be Battlefield.â€
As resources became diluted, so did the talent pool. And Medal of Honor never acquired the right leadership to deliver on its full potential:
â€œI think a key part of this is having the right amount of high-quality production talent., and we didnâ€™t have the quality of leadership we needed to make [Medal of Honor] great. We just have to get the leadership aligned. Weâ€™re blessed to have more titles than we can do well today. Thatâ€™s a good problem, frankly. In the long term, we have to make sure we donâ€™t kill those products by trying to do them when we canâ€™t do them well.”
Rock, Paper ShotgunÂ proceeded to state that Hilleman is certainÂ Medal of HonorÂ will return — only he’s not sure when the time will be right. Removed from the release rotation of Battlefield — call it an EA vacuum where production time, available talent and resources are, indeed, copious commodities — there’s no question of the potential, not to mention prestige, that MoH brings to the table. Imagining a world where Electronic Arts isn’t devoutly committed its Call of Duty (attempted) killer, however, is a greater stretch. With Battlefield 3′s End Game DLC keeping the game relevant well beyond its October 2011 release (Warfighter, by comparison, has already been written off) and Battlefield 4 anticipated for this Fall, possibly as the series’s next-gen entry point, we’re guessing it’s a long winter before Medal of Honor is done hibernating.
Ranters, do you see an extant future for the Medal of Honor franchise? Is there anywhere EA can take a reboot (Version 3!) that doesn’t interfere with the bigger and better Battlefield?
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Source: Rock, Paper Shotgun