Medal of Honor Pulled From US Military Base Stores Due to Taliban in Multiplayer

By Alice O'Connor, Sep 03, 2010 11:00am PDT

Stores on US Army and Air Force bases will no longer be allowed to sell Medal of Honor, Kotaku reports, due to the fact that its multiplayer features a playable Taliban faction.

Retailer GameStop, which has 49 stores located on military bases in the US, was asked by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to remove the game from sale.

"GameStop has agreed out of respect for our past and present men and women in uniform we will not carry Medal of Honor in any of our AAFES based stores," an email to GameStop employees, obtained by Kotaku, explains. "As such, GameStop agreed to have all marketing material pulled by noon today and to stop taking reservations. Customers who enter our AAFES stores and wish to reserve Medal of Honor can and should be directed to the nearest GameStop location off base."

Though Medal of Honor surprisingly managed to avoid much controversy when it was revealed that one side plays as the Taliban in multiplayer, it seems to be catching up now. The British defence secretary Liam Fox, in his infinite wisdom, recently branded it a "tasteless product" and called upon retailers to ban the game from their shelves.

EA Games president Frank Gibeau has defended the decision as a "creative risk," saying that the uproar won't "compromise our creative vision and what we want to do."

With singleplayer developed by EA Los Angeles and multiplayer by DICE, Medal of Honor is headed to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 12 in North America.

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31 Threads | 64 Comments

  • On one level, I sorta understand why they are squeamish. That is, I understand why our military is. Gamestop's just agreeing to something that they were asked to do. I don't fault GS for avoiding the problem, but I fault our military for the request on another level.

    I mean, on one level, you have military people out there, risking their lives, and when they go to blow off some steam online, suddenly they're Afghanis. The same people they're out trying to stop, suddenly they're playing one online. That might suck. Maybe. Depends on how traumatized the soldier is, I'd imagine.

    Then again, why would a traumatized soldier be playing a game where you're gunning down people anyway? Why would a soldier who might be offended by playing as Taliban be playing a game featuring the modern day combat? Why does the military have to protect its fragile soldiers from a game that its own soldiers could protect themselves from by ...not buying the game?

    I guess ultimately my problem with it is the same problem I have with so many attempts to censor or ban things. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Don't take it out of the stores. So many military gamers are posting online they're picking it up online or at an in-town GS/BB/Walmart/Target, etc. What's the point of banning it from the GS's on military bases except for the military to be making a point about they're not liking the game's content? They say its to protect their soldiers, but that cannot be true unless they ban every game that has gunplay in it because any game with people gunning down other people could be harmful for soldiers traumatized by war.

    PTSD does not affect just games based on Afghanistan. It could affect gamers who play any game that reminds the affected of the trauma. And who can guess what game will do that? Which is why the argument for banning them in the name of the soldiers breaks down and the true purpose is clear. They're banning it because they disagree with the content, not for the health of anyone.

    And they're disagreeing with the content is enough reason to make the request, but it doesn't speak well to the moral certainty of their purpose there if they question the message of a game so clearly dedicated to showing our military is heroic in the face of horrible circumstances. I say that based on everything they've shown about it and how much emphasis is placed on the advisors they've used.

    Of course, Call of Duty: Black Ops will not be sold in military GS's either because of the Vietnam segments which might offend or traumatize Vietnam vets, right? Right? Uh huh.

  • Like the people on the military bases won't get their hands on the game anyway, and now they'll want to play it just to see what the big deal is about. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone in the military agreed to ask for the ban in exchange for some sort of bribe...this is the best kind of publicity.

    Conspiracies aside or whatever, IMO this is just capitalizing on controversy just like MW2's "controversy" over the scene where you played someone who killed civilians to keep their cover. Who cares? It's just a game...if you can't tell games from reality already, you're not going to start having problems just because you played this game.

  • A couple of things here. First of all there are Gamestops on some US military bases. AAFES also sells games, and will not be carrying the game. Since I'm in Korea and the games downtown (unless you mod your system) can't be played on US consoles, I had to order the game online. A bit annoying but at least I have that option and I'll get it in 10 or so days after release vs. being able to walk into AAFES on Tuesday and walk out with it.

    I think this decision is a result of complete ignorance and thin skinned higher ups within the chain. Someone complained, made an issue of of nothing, and all of a sudden the game is yanked. If AAFES yanked everything from the shelves that offended someone we'd have nothing left. If they really wanted to pull something off the shelves that hurts troops, they wouldn't sell tobacco products. But they recognise that some people want it, and the people that don't respect the people that do's right.

    This is a game. It's not real. If the game glorified the Taliban and wished death to the infidels they may have a point. But it's multiplayer. I've played the "bad" guy in multiplayer before. I think the first was Japanese in WWII. It felt a little strange at first, but you quickly get into the us vs. them aspect, without the political aspect. It's not as if by playing I suddenly agree with Japanese Imperial ambitions of WWII.

    This has nothing to do with respect for us, and everything to do with censorship. Ironically, that's one of the reasons the Taliban are so hated. So in order to respect the people who fight the Taliban, we act like them? Really?