Redwood City video game company Electronic Arts has finally released its controversial new game Medal of Honor. Before the release, the company responded to concerns by the general public and a ban on selling the game on military bases after it became known that one of the game’s options was to play a member of the Taliban and shoot down virtual American soldiers on a rescue mission. While the same scenario continues to be part of the game, the Taliban tag has been removed, so that players are now just random terrorists in some unnamed hilly Middle Eastern/Central Asian state. As Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name?”
The company says that it was responding to the concerns of military families, and particularly the families of fallen soldiers. “This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to,” they said. “ It is a voice that we care deeply about. Because of this, and because the heartbeat of ‘Medal of Honor’ has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team.”
The name change may have satisfied the families of the fallen, but the controversy may be the only thing that gives the game any buzz. The game has received relatively poor reviews, with the Xbox version getting a 76, the PC version getting a 75, and the Play Station version getting a 74. In contrast the Medal of Honor Airborne series was shelved after receiving a Metacritic rating of 78. As a result of the new game’s lackluster performance, Eletronic Arts’ stock price fell 6 percent to $16.61 per share. That’s hardly the good news the company was expecting with the game’s release.