In the upcoming EA shooter reboot, Medal of Honor, the player is given the opportunity to play as Taliban in the title’s multiplayer. Multipayer options aren’t the kind of thing most gamers give due consideration, but given the game’s emphasis on the armed conflict going on in the Middle East, the idea of playing as a member of a group that America is fighting against isn’t something that’s very enticing to gamers.
The Modern Warfare games introduced using Middle Eastern insurgents in multiplayer, but they were merely known as the “OpFor” (military slang for ‘opposing force’). However, when you give the enemy a name that everyone recognizes, it may have a bit more of an impact on the gamer. Not to mention soldiers that are still in combat against a much more real enemy.
GamrFeed talked to some of veterans regarding this issue and they had some very enlightening things to say.
“(SPC Justin Polaski, Army) People freaking out about the inclusion of the Taliban as playable characters in the multiplayer mode of the new game is ridiculous. In every FPS-type game, there is a bad guy. Considering the intense popularity of the current conflicts (which is interestingly ironic; many claim to hate the conflicts, yet purchase games like MW2, watch shows like ‘The Unit’ and movies like ‘The Marine’ and ‘Hurt Locker’, etc. and pay money to the people profiting off of these conflicts) it’s only natural that game designers would focus on something that the younger generation could relate to; everyone knows someone who has been involved in these conflicts.”
“(SPC Nicholas Rice, Army) I don’t think playing the Taliban is any different than playing any other “bad guys” in any other game.”
“(E-2 Caitlin Stier, Army) Honestly, I don’t really see what the whole fuss is about. It’s a game, and just like in Call of Duty, you don’t really care about what side you’re taking, just as long as you win. I don’t think anyone cares if you’re part of the Rangers or Spetznaz, as long as you win.”
All very good and valid points made by people who have probably been closer to the actual Taliban than I have. I especially enjoy E-2 Stier’s comment of it not making a difference of who you play as, because all you want to do is win. When I first played Modern Warfare and played my first game as the OpFor, I didn’t have any problem with it at all. It’s just a skin on a character model in a video game. That’s the one thing people need to remember, it’s a video game.