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Goodrich: Keeping Medal of Honor respectful “keeps me awake at night”

Friday, 1st October 2010 16:25 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

medal of honor

Medal of Honor’s executive producer Greg Goodrich has said making sure the game was a respectful representation of the military stationed in Afghanistan made him lose some sleep at night.

Speaking in an interview with Gamasutra, before today’s news of the Taliban being axed from the game in name only, Goodrich said the development team spent a lot of time making sure it “didn’t do anything stupid” and that the tone of the game was respectful to the men and women serving in Afghanistan.

“You know, it keeps me awake at night,” said Goodrich. “This is historical fiction, so it’s much in the vein of a movie like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. These are fictional characters in a historical event. We’re focusing on those individuals. We’re focusing on the characters. We’re focusing on the individual soldier and telling their story from that point of view, and the war is a backdrop.

“Obviously, it’s a current war, and although it’s a backdrop, it’s still something that’s really going on. We’re focusing on the first part of that conflict, the initial push. Medal of Honor  has always been rooted in authenticity and respect for the soldier, but it’s also always been devoid of politics or political discussion or debate.

“For this game, I don’t care why they’re there. It’s a matter of, ‘They’re there. Let’s support them. Let’s get behind them, let’s get them home.’ So, like I said, we focus on those guys. We focus on the men and women of the armed services who are there doing the work — keeping everything else out of it.

I’ve not said this yet to anybody, and there’s not a PR person here telling me not to say it, but I do think about it a lot. I do lose sleep. Other people are always looking for something to say about it.  I truly believe that our intent is to honor that community, to honor those individuals. Truly, I think if people play our game, if they play it from beginning to end and they see what we’ve done, the character arc and what goes on and how they’re dealing with it to the very end, I think people will get it and understand and say, ‘Oh, yeah. Okay. I see now.’

“It’s really hard for me to sit and just try to explain it, but it’s just we’ve spent a lot of time with these guys. When you work with the U.S. military, when you work with these Tier 1 operators, you realize they have given up so much, and it’s so contradictory to their nature to even speak to anybody in any form of media. They shy away from the camera. They’re quiet professionals. They would just assume you’d leave them the fuck alone. But since they have given so much, the burden is on us to make sure we do it right, to honor that community.

“So we’ve spent a heck of a lot of time making sure we don’t do anything stupid, and that we do it with the right tone.”

Right tone or not, EA has changed the name of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of the game to “opposing forces”, so as not to disrespect anyone associated with the military or soldiers currently fighting America’s war on terrorism.

GameStop stores on military bases stopped taking pre-orders for the game last month, and decided not to sell it once it hit shelves. That same month, CEO John Riccitiello stated that the controversy surrounding the playable Taliban in Medal of Honor “caught him by surprise”.

Medal of Honor releases on October 12 in the US, and October 15 in the UK for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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20 Comments

  1. DSB

    Okay now they’re just milking it :P

    Lots of clichés in there.

    It’s not really historical though, history is still being written.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. XDamage

    Might as well just call them opposing forces, as a lot of the fighting going on in Afghanistan isn’t even against the Taliban, but local militia, bandits and smugglers.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. orakaa

    “For this game, I don’t care why they’re there. It’s a matter of, ‘They’re there. Let’s support them. Let’s get behind them, let’s MAKE MONEY ON THEIR BACK.’ ”

    There, fixed it ^^

    Seriously, does the guy hears himself talk ? If he wants to “get behind the soldiers risking their life over there” so much, why doesn’t he create a fund for the victims’ families ?

    All of this is just PR shit that makes me want to puke…

    #3 4 years ago
  4. YoungZer0

    @2: Disagree. The Militias are playing a small role in the fight for Afghanistan. Taliban are still the number one enemy and they will be for a long time. Most of the Taliban Members aren’t even from Afghanistan but from Iran or Pakistan. So calling them Opposing Forces is stupid and cowardice.

    @3: I have to agree. I really liked the whole approach at the beginning of the game. But now it seems to be the typical ‘let’s support our troops’ bullshit that we heard for so long. I’m just tired of it. And i’m not going to read more from this guy, his talking may leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. DSB

    @4 It’s not black and white. Any insurgency needs to find help within it’s own borders. In the talibans case, that’s the smugglers, warlords and opium farmers who stand to lose a lot from a modernized Afghanistan. There’s no clear overview, but it’s obvious that the taliban are bonding with those groups, either through politics or money, to serve their means.

    There aren’t a lot of foreign fighters in their ranks either. Taliban are a pashtu movement. The international jihad is Al Qaedas game, although the taliban do recruit and train a lot of their forces in Pakistan, which also has a huge pashtu population. Basically they see themselves as one people, not two different nationalities.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. XDamage

    @4 And most of what we usually call Taliban, are people who have been given a weapon, and told that for every rocket they fire, or for every westerner they kill, their family will be compensated(and as you say, they can be from either Afghanistan or surrounding areas). Hardly what I would call “members”, but I guess this is arguing semantics.

    But ofcourse there are people who are genuine Taliban, but these are mostly the leaders. The guys who pull the strings, and lead these groups into Afghanistan. The guys who get hellfire missiles through their rooftops somewhere in Pakistan. ;)

    #6 4 years ago
  7. DSB

    @6 It’s not black and white. You might face a 60 year old guy with a Lee Enfield from when the British were there, or you might be fighting a teenager with an AKM. From the accounts I’ve read, a lot of soldiers are surprised by how hardcore their engagements are, and the taliban often pulls off great field craft. They know how to lay down accurate fire, pull off flanking maneuvers, pincer movements etc. If we didn’t have massive fire support, we’d be losing a lot of guys.

    Some soldiers get a feel for whether the force they’re fighting is indigenous (possibly overprotective families or smugglers) who don’t really know what they’re doing, or militarily trained in Pakistan. The taliban has a lot of very useful allies, including former Pakistani special forces, who certainly know how to train people.

    You can’t say they’re either stupid farmers or militarily trained, because they’re both. They take what they can get.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. manamana

    @DSB from @1 thats what I meant earlier on the other thread … you know, like, he loses sleep …

    #8 4 years ago
  9. DSB

    @8 Yeah, I thought about your comment when I read it. Clearly they figured they’d get a boost from changing it.

    I was thinking maybe they had a conscience or something. Silly me :P

    #9 4 years ago
  10. endgame

    actually it’s the number of sales that keep u awake at night as u’ve proved with your earlier decision. lame.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. KrazyKraut

    Have you seen the videos & documents which WikiLeaks uncovered?
    No? Anyway..all should stfu and dont talk like the US Military & and its allies (especially Germany) serves respect.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. phatb0y

    As a member of the Taliban I am shocked and appalled that people will be able to play as the American forces who slaughtered many of my brothers.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. polygem

    11,12: agree. I wanna add: this war is wrong. War in general is wrong if its not for self defence. The us government is proud of having established liberty and freedom. Its military actions since the cold war were pretty close to fascism though. Their land has been stolen from the native americans. Its a land of hypocrites. Like many western countries. This elitist capitslistic pseudo democratic unfair and ultraegoistic behaviour causes poverty in this world. Poor countries fear to get left behind completely. Wars.. Just make the rich countries more powerfull and richer. It was a shit move to rename the taliban in a videogame. It is disrespectfull to reality. Now i even start to believe they abuse real war situations to marketing a game. This really gives the game a lot of attention. That would be disrespectfull indeed. But not to any special soldier but to life itself. Rerename them please…Or rename the us soldiers in war horny forces.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. LordCancer

    wheres my bubble gum?

    #14 4 years ago
  15. mathare92

    @14 Your ignorance astounds.

    @16 Changed it, my bad :P

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Gekidami

    ^ lol check your numbers, buddy. :D

    #16 4 years ago
  17. LordCancer

    found it thanks #15.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. manamana

    Thats what the Army has got to say, if its the truth however …

    So was that a misinterpretation of EA, or bad consulting from the USArmy? EA claims everywhere that they are working closely with the Army, but they totaly forgot to mention the Taliban in MP? Oh, come on …

    #18 4 years ago
  19. DSB

    @18 Go figure. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. The US Armys programs on providing assistance for media is pretty much a history of major fuck-ups. They only want to support movies and games that are uncritical of the service (so if you make a movie about My Lai, fuggedaboutit) but time and time again they enter into projects only to pull themselves out, once they get a clue.

    It’s likely that EA didn’t want to risk the fallout of the army saying they protested the game, since that connection is basically all they’ve been selling the game on.

    If they are actually using active Delta Force members as consultants, though, then that’s a historical first. I thought they had just bought some retired guys.

    I suppose it’s possible the army just provided equipment for modelling, and that the operators were acting on their own. I dunno.

    This headline cracked me up: http://fidgit.com/archives/2010/10/electronic_arts_does_what_amer.php

    #19 4 years ago
  20. DSB

    It’s begun: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/gaming.gadgets/10/01/medal.of.honor.taliban/index.html?hpt=C1

    #20 4 years ago

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