Medal Of Honor: Warfighter dev calls 2010′s Taliban controversy “A frustrating rough patch”

medal of honor warfighter PS3

Medal Of Honor: Warfighter executive producer Greg Goodrich recently admitted he nearly resigned over the previous games Taliban controversy. This interview gives a far greater insight into the pressures he was under at the time. To be clear: this is an exert from when I spoke to Goodrich as part of a July 2010 press tour for MOH’s multiplayer at DICE’s studios. At the time news outlets were running the ‘multiplayer lets you shoot American serviceman’ angle pretty hard. I asked Greg about the issue and he clearly wanted to discuss it, brushing off the PR in order to do so. 

Unfortunately, soon after, EA issued a press release renaming the multiplayer Taliban ‘opposing force’ and the magazine never used the answer. This is his unedited take on the original Medal Of Honor Taliban controversy :

I have to ask about the Taliban thing. Haven’t military bases refused to stock [the game]? We’ve been shooting fictional versions of ‘real’ bad people for years in games, so why do you think…

PR Just to let you know, on the website slash multiplayer we’ve just posted a whole page that has all the messaging around that whole issue. It’s probably worth, specifically for that kind of question, to go…

Greg Goodrich

MOH producer Greg Goodrich in 2010 with the beard he grew to raise money for

Greg Goodrich Well I’ll tell you. What I think…

LH You’re the head of the game. It’s your baby. Then someone turns around with… It could blow up, it could go away…

GG That is all of our messaging, right there, specifically for that reason. The beta came out. It ended. Tons of people played it and went through that experience. And then it just came. It hit. I’ve thought about it a lot and I don’t know why it happened when it did but I think for us we’re just focusing on our story, our guys, the message – the reverence for the soldier. And the respect and honor for a community of individuals.

So part of that, in this medium, is there are certain aspects of game types and mechanics you have to deliver to be able to get someone to listen to your story. For us it’s always been about authenticity. And authenticity is not only authentic weapons, sounds, kits, environments and mission types but also enemy types. For us we remain authentic.

But I think once gamers and individuals pay attention and do experience this they’re going to realise that this isn’t about the Afghan war. This is not a game about the enemy. This is not a game about anything other than the guys on the ground. This is not a game about politics. Medal Of Honor never has been.

It’s always been about telling the soldier’s story from the soldier’s point of view. Everything else is backdrop. I think people who play the single player campaign will see that, understand that message and go through a journey with those guys and realise that. But for now the easy thing to do is to take things and put out a message that… It’s frustrating because it’s not the whole message…

LH Don’t judge it before you play it?

GG Right. This is the medium of our times. I think people oppose books before they read them. People will oppose films before they see them and people will oppose games before they realise what they are. What the audience is and what the tone is. What the intent is. It’s frustrating but as game developers we’ve just got to stick to what we’re doing. We feel really good about our story and the message and Medal of Honor is no different than it’s ever been. It’s still about the soldier. It’s still about respect. It’s still about reverence for the subject matter and honoring those individuals. It’s no different, but right now it’s a rough patch. But, like I said, I’m confident that when people see it, and understand, and play it, they’re going to get it.

Here’s the CVG resignation story.