UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox implored retailers to ban the sale of Electronic Arts' upcoming Afghan War-based game amid concerns that family and friends of deployed and fallen British soldiers might be offended by the game's premise, which pits U.S. forces against the Taliban.
"It's shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban," said Fox
in a BBC report. "At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands."
He continued, "I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product."
But there are no British troops featured in the upcoming game, EA said, and the game "does not allow players to kill British soldiers."
Medal of Honor
is a reboot of one of the publisher's core first-person shooter franchises, and includes a single-player mode that focuses on the story of elite American special forces soldiers fighting in the War in Afghanistan. A multiplayer mode allows players to choose U.S. soldiers or Taliban forces. The game, created under the guidance of current soldiers, is due out in October 2010.
Fox later didn't backtrack on his comments despite the revelation that there are no British troops in the game. "The point remains that part of this game allows you to play the part of the Taliban attacking ISAF troops in the area of central Helmand where British troops are operating," according to his spokesperson.
EA Games label president Frank Gibeau argued that the game is an accurate portrayal of a real-life conflict. "Many popular video games allow players to assume the identity of enemies, including Nazis and terrorists. In the multiplayer levels of Medal of Honor
, teams will assume the identity of both U.S. forces and the Taliban."
The UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport distanced itself
from Fox's call for a ban on the game, in a Eurogamer report. A spokesperson said that there is a ratings system for video games in place (Medal of Honor
is rated for ages 18 and up in the UK) and consumers can make the choice for themselves at retail.
Medal of Honor
, which up until now had a World War II setting, also received criticism
in a recent Fox News report, in which the mother of a soldier killed in the Middle Eastern conflict said, "War is not a game, period," and called EA's title "disrespectful" to soldiers' families.