Medal of Honor's Taliban Renamed To 'Opposing Force'

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Posted by BradNicholson (812 posts) -

The new Medal of Honor's online component once pitted allied forces against the Taliban. It will no longer. Electronic Arts and Danger Close Games have renamed the latter team "Opposing Force" in an effort to soothe all the bad vibrations the game has been receiving as a result of the creative decision to include the Taliban in the first place.
 
It appears the models being used, as well as the weapons by the terrorists formerly known as the Taliban, have not been changed. The swap is in name only, making this move seem kind of hollow in hindsight.

The reaction to the usage of the Taliban hasn't exactly been vicious, but EA has been assaulted by the mainstream media and even the military for it. Before this name swap, EA attempted to explain that Medal of Honor was, in fact, just a video game, and not portraying actual events in its online mode. Later, EA attempted to display the online mode's non-offensive play by giving everybody with a decent rig a free chance to check out the PC version's forthcoming open beta for a period of three days. Now, it's just changing the so-called offensive name entirely. 
 

 A member of the Opposing Force. He answers to Cobra Commander, I think.


== TEASER ==In a statement, game producer Greg Goodrich confirmed that the people that were kicking and screaming about the Taliban name were a small group. "We’ve received notes from gamers, active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas," Goodrich wrote on the MOH blog. "The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive… However, we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our game."

This small number of people means a lot of the Medal of Honor team, and as a result according to Goodrich, EA has "decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force." 
 


I'm guessing this was a tough call for both parties. On one hand, you've got real world people who have given it all in the conflict this game takes inspiration from, who aren't digging the inclusion of the Taliban. On the other hand, this is just a game. It doesn't represent real life--no-one knows that better than the game makers themselves. But does this decision make it better?
#1 Posted by BradNicholson (812 posts) -

The new Medal of Honor's online component once pitted allied forces against the Taliban. It will no longer. Electronic Arts and Danger Close Games have renamed the latter team "Opposing Force" in an effort to soothe all the bad vibrations the game has been receiving as a result of the creative decision to include the Taliban in the first place.
 
It appears the models being used, as well as the weapons by the terrorists formerly known as the Taliban, have not been changed. The swap is in name only, making this move seem kind of hollow in hindsight.

The reaction to the usage of the Taliban hasn't exactly been vicious, but EA has been assaulted by the mainstream media and even the military for it. Before this name swap, EA attempted to explain that Medal of Honor was, in fact, just a video game, and not portraying actual events in its online mode. Later, EA attempted to display the online mode's non-offensive play by giving everybody with a decent rig a free chance to check out the PC version's forthcoming open beta for a period of three days. Now, it's just changing the so-called offensive name entirely. 
 

 A member of the Opposing Force. He answers to Cobra Commander, I think.


== TEASER ==In a statement, game producer Greg Goodrich confirmed that the people that were kicking and screaming about the Taliban name were a small group. "We’ve received notes from gamers, active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas," Goodrich wrote on the MOH blog. "The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive… However, we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our game."

This small number of people means a lot of the Medal of Honor team, and as a result according to Goodrich, EA has "decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force." 
 


I'm guessing this was a tough call for both parties. On one hand, you've got real world people who have given it all in the conflict this game takes inspiration from, who aren't digging the inclusion of the Taliban. On the other hand, this is just a game. It doesn't represent real life--no-one knows that better than the game makers themselves. But does this decision make it better?
#2 Edited by Brackynews (4045 posts) -

I don't think this ranks among the "Six Days in Fallujah" controversy, but of course it's a touchy subject.
Some of the quotes from EA people to CNN and other news outlets have been downright pointed.  Saying it's a generational gap thing where "Older people who don't play games and understand the concepts have a problem with it."
 
Somebody has to "play" as the bad guy.  I dunno, can you really compare a game of cops and robbers to Allied forces and Nazis? Marines and Taliban? EA is saying that the families of fallen soldiers don't appreciate that people can play as "the enemy", but have the families of WW2 or Vietnam soldiers not complained ever?  This is the same thing, just more recent.  In time I'm sure our children and grandchildren won't care, and will see today's conflicts as just a history lesson, and a side to randomly be assigned to in a round of Capture the Flag.

And, police don't like games where you fight police, but those don't seem to be getting any fewer... 
 
[set complete!]

#3 Posted by natetodamax (19170 posts) -

Weren't the developers shooting for realism?

#4 Posted by damnboyadvance (4059 posts) -

"Opposing Force" is way more realistic than "Taliban."

#5 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -

If you're going to straight up call the bad guys in your game The Taliban, your company should already be braced for the obvious, blind criticism that's going to come your way so to have it in the game until now, and then change it, just seems pathetic. Everyone who said they were just doing this to get attention had basically been proved right.

#6 Posted by Tuggah (1072 posts) -

Stick to your guns EA. Don't give in.

#7 Posted by FinalDasa (1494 posts) -

Because no one will be able to tell what they are if they are the "opposing force". 
Even when playing Call of Duty I remember thinking the terrorist looking guys were similar to the Taliban. Caving into the outside pressure doesn't change a thing. 
 
Makes me wonder if this is EA or retailers like Walmart forcing EA do make this change...

#8 Posted by BaconGames (3292 posts) -

Another instance of developers tucking their tail between their legs.  I can't stand it when developers back down at the fear of offending someone.  What happened to standing by your product?  Saying that people were concerned is not a good enough excuse if you thought it was important enough to include it originally.
 
If they said "we like money and this means more money" then sure.  Like Nicholson said, this just rings hollow and pander-y.

#9 Posted by Toxin066 (3254 posts) -

Eh. The media damage has been done. It doesn't matter what you call it. At the end of the day, you're still going to play as terrorists.

#10 Posted by Chemin (632 posts) -

Yes! Finally! And here I was getting worried. Luckily I didn't have to go suicide-bomb anyone, yet, that would've been quite annoying.

#11 Posted by Romination (2775 posts) -
@Tuggah said:
" Stick to your guns EA. Don't give in. "
Exactly. I want to defend them and I want to say that it's games pushing what they can be in terms of being topical and serious, especially since people are always bitching that games should be more like movies. If a movie based on the Iraq war can win best picture, they shouldn't whine about it when they're in a GAME. Of course there's controversy in playing as them, but that doesn't mean someone will play a multiplayer match of Medal of Honor and suddenly identify with them.
#12 Posted by Vinny_Says (5686 posts) -

yo check this out, they plan was to call them taliban, then when errbody forgets about the game they decide to rename the taliban to pump out a few news stories just befoh the launch of the game!

#13 Posted by Nadafinga (957 posts) -

In their defense, they've always been touting the "reverence for the soldier" thing, so I can see their change of heart after getting legitimate feedback from the military and the families of servicemen. In the end, the game is completely unchanged gameplay-wise, so I don't see this as any major problem for the developers as far as comprimising their product.

#14 Posted by NeoGamer (158 posts) -

EA should just grow some balls and stand by their damn product. People complaining are not even consumers of videogames, how can a company just run from such little pressure like that? Imagine if Rockstar would change every stuff that the mass media bitches about Gran Theft Auto!

#15 Posted by Voidoid (110 posts) -

Makes you wonder if they'd change the name of the American team if friends and family of fallen talibans wrote letters.

#16 Posted by Mitch0712 (453 posts) -

So if I made a game that allowed you to play as a member of the Klu Klux Klan, and just gave you a different name to serve under it would be okay to sell in stores?

#17 Posted by Darkstorn (463 posts) -

At this point I'm indifferent. I realize that many conservative critics have called for EA to remove the ability to play as the Taliban, and while I do think that EA should retain some degree of integrity, it doesn't really matter if they change the name of the Taliban to 'opposing force.' The change only affects multiplayer, correct? So there is no narrative-driven reason to even mention the Taliban in multiplayer.
 
And this is coming from a bleeding-heart liberal. If conservatives aren't content with this compromise, then I don't know what to say.

#18 Posted by sixpin (1286 posts) -

PX locations were banning the game due to a military committee's decision. The fear of losing a sale drove this decision.

#19 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4578 posts) -

Shoulda named them the Talibad, and given them all robot eyes.

#20 Posted by Tennmuerti (8005 posts) -

Considering that not everyone the American forces are killing in Afganistan is Taliban, this is oddly more realistic.

#21 Posted by Greenshoes (276 posts) -

I bet somewhere they will forget to remove it.

#22 Posted by Myomoto (310 posts) -
@Voidoid:  Exactly. I'm so fucking sick of the dehumanization of the Taliban. It's fucking tragic to see people insisting on such a black and white world view, where the Americans/westerners are the inherent good guys who can do no wrong, and all those FILTHY foreigners are Satan worshipping hedonists who eat babies for lunch.
#23 Edited by Milkman (16527 posts) -

What a load of horse shit. Way to back down, EA. You made your already uninteresting looking FPS even less interesting. 

#24 Posted by Donos (1193 posts) -
@Tennmuerti said:
" Considering that not everyone the American forces are killing in Afganistan is Taliban, this is oddly more realistic. "
I was just about to say this. I'm surprised nobody called them on it during the beta actually, given that a bunch of other little things were renamed.
#25 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -

Fucking wEAk.  This is as bad as Pandemic flip-flopping on whether or not to use a swastika in The Saboteur.  Wait, EA was involved in that too.
 
Probably just lost a sale on this one for me.  I hate gaming being browbeaten into pulling it's punches with totally hollow gestures like this.

#26 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4970 posts) -

Not even an awesome beard will tempt me to buy this game now...

#27 Posted by wefwefasdf (6729 posts) -

The gaming industry is rather pathetic sometimes.

#28 Posted by Chadster (326 posts) -

Oh come the fuck on.

#29 Posted by Swick (222 posts) -
@Milkman said:
" What a load of horse shit. Way to back down, EA. You made your already uninteresting looking FPS even less interesting.  "
Yep.
#30 Posted by noibn (106 posts) -
#31 Posted by baconbits33 (1156 posts) -

Ok, wtf? All my friends are military, my whole life has revolved around the military, and nor me or my friends really gave a damn about the name, it's fucking polygons people.  
@Myomoto said:

" @Voidoid:  Exactly. I'm so fucking sick of the dehumanization of the Taliban. It's fucking tragic to see people insisting on such a black and white world view, where the Americans/westerners are the inherent good guys who can do no wrong, and all those FILTHY foreigners are Satan worshipping hedonists who eat babies for lunch. "
Your an idiot. Nuff said'
#32 Posted by Branthog (7342 posts) -

The game is on shelves in ten days, which means it went to printing some time ago. Clearly, they never planned to call them "Taliban" and just suckered gamers, gaming press, and general press all alike into helping them promote their game by having this bullshit "should we censor things, because service members' mommies are upset?" conversation that, in the end, didn't mean shit. Because it was all part of their promotional campaign. 
 
And while we're at it, can we find out what we're supposed to refer to the Taliban as in conversation, books, articles, movies, and documentaries? After all, if Taliban is a forbidden word, now, we need to know what else to call them. Surely we're not singling out just videogames here, out of all those forms of media. And while we're at it, how about a list of other things that service members' busy-body mommies don't like? I mean, the whole world clearly needs to submit to exactly how they want things, for some reason. So I wouldn't want to offend all of their mommies by being an atheist or supporting the wrong candidate or reading the wrong books or watching the wrong television shows or listening to the wrong podcasts or something.

#33 Posted by Driam (157 posts) -

Terrific work, Nicholson! You'd better start working on a thank-you speech, because with hard-hitting journalism like this, that pulitzer's as good as yours!

#34 Posted by Doctorchimp (4069 posts) -

Wow, way to show you have no real faith in your game and crumble under pressure. If they were smart they'd name them Insurgents instead so it doesn't feel like such a cop out. Then again looking at the quotes it's pretty obvious they had morons on the PR team who didn't take the censorship or realism approach and instead went with "Hey geezer don't touch my RADICAL GAMES!!!!" morons. Please note they had supposed real soldier dudes to say how authentic their fucking game was, seems like a waste now.

Top to bottom this new Medal of Honor feels spineless. Not even with just the media stuff going on, but rather the entire game even to how it plays like a slow Call of Duty. Poor show EA poor show.

#35 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -

That is totally lame. Though, I can't say I'm really interested in the game at all.

#36 Posted by SpicyRichter (504 posts) -

Pussies
 
Hey, lets take the name "Nazis" out of wolf3D! Germans might get upset

#38 Posted by omergd1 (114 posts) -

its just a name change people. get over yourselves

#39 Posted by baconbits33 (1156 posts) -
@Anwar said:
" @baconbits33: 
So taliban are eating babies for lunch? What are you trying to say? "
Where the fuck do you come up with stuff like that? Seriously? Who says those kinds of things?
#40 Edited by Donos (1193 posts) -
@Anwar:  I thought he was pretty clear. Anyway, your original point is kinda off topic, so you might want to reorganize it if you're trying to start an argument here.
#41 Posted by KillyDarko (1888 posts) -
@Branthog:  You sir, have hit all the right spots there. It is also my thought that all this Taliban thing has never been anything other than a huge marketing strategy.
#42 Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie (1225 posts) -

Not that Black Ops had much to worry about to begin with but this game is absolutely no threat now.

#43 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6287 posts) -

I'm kind of surprised it was Americans who were complaining about this. The Muslims have shown time and time again that they can complain more than the Jews.

#44 Posted by baconbits33 (1156 posts) -
@Branthog said:
" @baconbits33 said:
" Ok, wtf? All my friends are military, my whole life has revolved around the military, and nor me or my friends really gave a damn about the name, it's fucking polygons people.  
@Myomoto said:
" @Voidoid:  Exactly. I'm so fucking sick of the dehumanization of the Taliban. It's fucking tragic to see people insisting on such a black and white world view, where the Americans/westerners are the inherent good guys who can do no wrong, and all those FILTHY foreigners are Satan worshipping hedonists who eat babies for lunch. "
Your an idiot. Nuff said' "
No, he's spot on. Nobody drafted anyone into the military, so stop with the "my career choice somehow deserves completely reverence by society" martyr bullshit. Yes, possibly having to go overseas and possibly being in the line of fire totally sucks, but it's a choice you made. I also don't get my knickers in a bunch over those poor starving artists who choose to be artists and therefore starve, instead of getting a job that doesn't involve painting pictures for a living without an income.  That isn't to say that I have anything against persons who choose that career, but your career doesn't deserve me changing my life or giving your views on politics or entertainment any more weight than any other person on the planet. More importantly, your choice in career doesn't give your mother any more weight to her complaints or views as far as he rest of society is concerned, even if the news media and politicians might beg to differ. Also, everybody knows that brown people can't be the good guys. They don't even have souls. "
Dude.... I've meet like thousands of soldiers throughout my life, and I've never meet one that ever asked for some form of special treatment. That whole persona of "I served my country, so I deserve this....", is something that the mass media has created. If you actually get to know a real soldier, they're just like you and me, hell the whole point of their job is to make sure that we have the rights and equality that we have. 
And I have nothing against the Afghani people, or anyone from that region, once again they are just like you and me and they deserve to be treated as such. Now I do however have a huge problem with anyone who sympathizes with the Taliban. And anyone who does, needs to either go actually do some research on what the Taliban did to Afghanistan, or they need to seriously seek psychiatric help.
#45 Posted by Branthog (7342 posts) -
@baconbits33 said:
" @Branthog said:
" @baconbits33 said:
" Ok, wtf? All my friends are military, my whole life has revolved around the military, and nor me or my friends really gave a damn about the name, it's fucking polygons people.  
@Myomoto said:
" @Voidoid:  Exactly. I'm so fucking sick of the dehumanization of the Taliban. It's fucking tragic to see people insisting on such a black and white world view, where the Americans/westerners are the inherent good guys who can do no wrong, and all those FILTHY foreigners are Satan worshipping hedonists who eat babies for lunch. "
Your an idiot. Nuff said' "
No, he's spot on. Nobody drafted anyone into the military, so stop with the "my career choice somehow deserves completely reverence by society" martyr bullshit. Yes, possibly having to go overseas and possibly being in the line of fire totally sucks, but it's a choice you made. I also don't get my knickers in a bunch over those poor starving artists who choose to be artists and therefore starve, instead of getting a job that doesn't involve painting pictures for a living without an income.  That isn't to say that I have anything against persons who choose that career, but your career doesn't deserve me changing my life or giving your views on politics or entertainment any more weight than any other person on the planet. More importantly, your choice in career doesn't give your mother any more weight to her complaints or views as far as he rest of society is concerned, even if the news media and politicians might beg to differ. Also, everybody knows that brown people can't be the good guys. They don't even have souls. "
Dude.... I've meet like thousands of soldiers throughout my life, and I've never meet one that ever asked for some form of special treatment. That whole persona of "I served my country, so I deserve this....", is something that the mass media has created. If you actually get to know a real soldier, they're just like you and me, hell the whole point of their job is to make sure that we have the rights and equality that we have. And I have nothing against the Afghani people, or anyone from that region, once again they are just like you and me and they deserve to be treated as such. Now I do however have a huge problem with anyone who sympathizes with the Taliban. And anyone who does, needs to either go actually do some research on what the Taliban did to Afghanistan, or they need to seriously seek psychiatric help. "
The Taliban aren't even a definitive entity anymore. They are a blanket name used to the government to cover anyone they view as "insurgents". Also, you're spot-on that it's not about the individual military persons. They are often the first to call bullshit on it. It's their parents, family, and politicians who are to blame. You didn't see a soldier on Fox News whining and bitching about "how dare they have the Taliban in a videogame omg!". They had some military guy's mom. Because, in this country, we somehow give enormous weight to the opinion of someone becuase they made it through boot camp  . . . or are the family member of someone who made it through boot camp.  That is the entire problem with this whole "should they call them Taliban in a game?!" "argument". Why should anyone go around changing things because some guy's mom doesn't like it?
#46 Posted by Suigyoken (188 posts) -

Now if only they listened to us when we complain about unfair on the disc DLC this easily... Hey that's an idea, anytime there's unfair DLC we could just go to the media and claim they're anti-American, that'll show them!

#47 Posted by nweasel (25 posts) -

I've read a lot of comments before mine who all say various things, but most of them are along the lines of how I feel as well. I am terribly disappointed, not only with EA for deciding to make this useless change, but for the people of the world. When we have movies which feature the Taliban, or any war movie, for that matter, people don't get up in arms about it. I've heard some people use the excuse, "But a game is interactive; you're actually PLAYING AS the Taliban, not just watching them." I, as you can tell, call bullshit on that, and I find it disappointing for our society that we have to censor every little thing that we do. Yes, I understand and respect our troops, but the world takes things way too seriously, and it upsets me more than anything.

#48 Posted by Zatoichi_Sanjuro (945 posts) -

I love conservatives, now they're for Political Correctness.
 
I know Americans eat that shit up but I find the military worship particularly obnoxious when they are exploiting "the fallen", and the people who actually fought, to sell their game. If they're changing a name to respect the "friends and families of fallen soldiers" and in the same breath say it won't change a thing then what the fuck are they talking about?
 
"This is a very important voice to the Medal of Honor team. This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about." Clearly it isn't. Changing the name to Opposing Force doesn't change the fact the maps are set in Afghanistan and the other team you're killing are U.S. soldiers. Who's in Afghanistan killing U.S. soldiers in reality... oh that would be the Opposing Force! It doesn't matter what name you give them, if you're offended by the idea of this multiplayer game, then you should be offended no matter what superficial name changes they make.

#49 Posted by Zatoichi_Sanjuro (945 posts) -
@Suigyoken said:

" Now if only they listened to us when we complain about unfair on the disc DLC this easily... Hey that's an idea, anytime there's unfair DLC we could just go to the media and claim they're anti-American, that'll show them! "

You didn't "earn the right" to have a voice according to Greg Goodrich.
#50 Posted by 137 (481 posts) -

They should've just made everyone happy and made it us soldiers vs us soldiers in multiplayer since everyone knows our soldiers die more from friendly fire than they do enemy fire. Might as well make the game just as realistic. *jerk off motion*  

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