"Talibans". A True Gameplay Feature Or A Controversy – Inventing Gimmick?

Posted: October 15, 2010 in News

Violence, is probably the most used (and abused?) concept in modern-games. Even a fun to play, seemingly non-violent and innovative game such as LittleBigPlanet had its share of cartoon violence (you can slap other Sackboys). These past few years has seen the Gaming Industry be dominated by FPS games… with wave after wave of First Person Shooters releasing. Obviously, the gaming industry is quite bored, if I can say, and saturated with FPS games.

So how does a company which develops only FPS games create and direct attention at their game? The answer is – controversies.

Infinity Ward did it for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with an airport scene where gamers could play as a terrorist and kill innocent civilians. Quite obviously, the morally demeaning scene suddenly found itself amidst a controversy… it even had UK’s top political figures lashing out at the game.

At one stage, you play as a terrorist killing civilians.

Now, it seems as though Danger Close has done the same thing for their latest offering – Medal Of Honor. What was the controversial aspect of the game? The multiplayer component, where you could play as the Talibans and kill U.S. soldiers. This had the mothers of lost soldiers and other politicians, and even prominent figures in the Gaming Industry (David Jaffe) up in arms. They made such a big deal out of it (with David Jaffe stating that he just would not play as the Talibans) that EA, under pressure, had Danger Close drop the word “Talibans” from the title and replaced it with “Opposing Force”. This created an even bigger controversy.

If you’ve ever played Battlefield: Bad Company 2, you’d realize that when you play online you either play as the Russians killing U.S soldiers or vice versa. Why then, didn’t BFBC2 come under fire? Why did MoH, specifically, come under fire? Is it because the Talibans are an alive and kicking enemy even in the real world? If that is the reason, then it’s lame. When you play any FPS game online, there has to be two sides to it. Two forces battling it out with one coming out on top as the winner. Danger Close decided that for MoH, it would be the U.S. soldiers and the Talibans. Why Talibans? Because the single player campaign of MoH takes place in a real world setting – Afghanistan; with you playing as a Tier 1 Operative… it all makes sense now doesn’t it?

No one knows, and never will know, if Danger Close included the Talibans as a controversy-inventing feature in order to sell more copies of the game, but personally I feel that it was a quintessential part of the game. It was a perfectly rational gameplay feature, is what I think.

  1. lukeox says:

    I believe its the same as being a Iraqi terrorist and killing U.S. soldiers. If people made a big deal over that, you would think they would make a big deal over being Nazis killing the U.S. soldiers.

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