After the U.S. military announced a ban on sales of the game at its bases, Electronic Arts has decided to remove a controversial feature in its forthcoming Medal of Honor title that allowed gamers to play as members of the Taliban.
The video game publisher has recently come under fire from both the families of American soldiers fighting in the Middle East and the U.S. Military for depicting the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. In a statement on the Medal of Honor website, Greg Goodrich, Executive Producer of Medal of Honor, said the decision to drop the Taliban reference was driven purely by the feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers.
"In the past few months, we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor. We've received notes from gamers, active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas. The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. For this, the Medal of Honor team is deeply appreciative.
"This is a very important voice to the Medal of Honor team," he wrote. "This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. 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 in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force."
With just two weeks to street-date, Goodrich said that the decision should not affect gamers. "While this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay, we are making this change for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice - this franchise will never willfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service."
Medal of Honor is set to hit store shelves on October 12 in North America, and October 15 in Europe for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
Update: Despite Electronic Arts' decision to remove the Taliban from its upcoming shooter, U.S. military base stores around the world will still not sell the game. The Army & Air Force Exchange Service's position concerning the newest Medal of Honor remains unchanged as its facilities have no plans to carry the title.
"Out of respect to those touched by the ongoing, real-life events presented as a game, Exchanges will not be carrying this product," the Army & Air Force Exchange Service's Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella told Kotaku. "While we regret any inconvenience this may cause, our position is consistent with the direction stated a month ago. I expect the military families who are authorized to shop the Exchange are aware, and understanding, of the decision not to carry this particular offering."