Medal of Honor is available now and there may still be people who have some questions regarding the name change of ‘Taliban’ to the slightly more politically correct ‘Opposing Force’ (a term largely used by U.S. armed forces to describe the enemy) in the game’s multiplayer.
Today, Danger Close Games (who designed Medal of Honor’s single player campaign) is explaining their take on the Taliban name controversy.
During the beta, the name change was not in effect, allowing thousands of players to play as the Taliban and kill U.S. soldiers. After the enemy title was announced, the Army-Air Force Exchange Service banned GameStop stores from selling the title on military bases.
Craig Owens, marketing director for Danger Close Games, explains why the change had been made – and the reasons shouldn’t surprise you.
“The objection was, kind of from an older generation that doesn’t understand games, that the soundbyte was ‘Play as the Taliban and kill US soldiers’. There still is, it seems, a group that’s still a little bit leery of a game taking place around an active conflict. Really the big thing was playing as a Taliban killing US troops.
So we basically just changed it to ‘Opfor’ — which is a term they [the US Armed Forces] use, some of our competitors use — more out of respect. Later that soundbyte kinda caught wind and got taken out of context, really.”
It is hard to disagree with the Taliban name change – considering we’re currently in conflict with the group today. Although, I do find it hard to really get behind, considering the upcoming Battlefield 2: Bad Company ‘Vietnam’ addition and Call of Duty: Black Ops including Viet Cong as enemies and playable character. Current events in videogames aren’t something we often see, especially something that has been so imbued within our society. It’s definitely rattling when a group like the Taliban enters the picture – given the tenor of the current conflict.
Personally, I’m somewhat ambivalent to the matter. In the end, Medal of Honor is just a videogame with one group of people shooting against another group of people. Ideologies aside, it’s not much different than the content in other first person shooters.