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Defence secretary calls for ban on "tasteless" Medal of Honor

Liam Fox "disgusted and angry" about option to play as Taliban in EA shooter

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox has asked retailers not to stock EA's "tasteless" upcoming reboot of the Medal of Honor franchise.

The Conservative MP joins a number of voices who have expressed concern that players may take the role of Taliban troops and earn points for slaying Coalition soldiers in the modern combat title's multiplayer mode.

"It's shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban," said Fox. "At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands.

"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."

EA has previously attempted to defend the controversial mode, equating the role of insurgents in the game to robbers, pirates or aliens. "Someone's gotta be the Taliban," said a statement.

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Latest comments (22)

Ashley Tarver Indie 11 years ago
Can anyone clarify if he's ever complained about yoof being able to play the role of a nazi and killing hundreds of brits or yanks? I'm pretty sure we're had that ability for a long long time!
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany11 years ago
"At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands"

And at the hand of American soldiers too... that's what the other side would say. The difference is that we are the Free World, this guy seems to have forgotten that. And that is far more dangerous than a fictitious game.

Ban! Ban! Ban!. The only solution this people can think about... all for the votes, right?
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Gregg Baker Head of Community Strategy, Jagex Games Studio11 years ago
The amount of press this is getting right now EA will be rubbing their hands. Shame they dont realise that sensationalising it like this will ultimately lead to more "kids" wanting to play it. Not that I have any issue with this kind of game as I can usually tell the difference between reality and a video game. I mean I play FIFA a lot but I gave up waiting on a call from Fabio a long time ago...
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Show all comments (22)
Al Campbell Studying Computer Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee11 years ago
Again, if EA called them something else, none of this would matter. It seems like politicians have a harder time discerning games from reality than any gamer I've ever met.

And, at one point in the Iraq War, I read that the majority of British casualties were from friendly fire. I guess we shouldn't play as Americans in any military game either?
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Maybe there should be a option for Friendly fire scoring (the fact is, although it may be distasteful to some sensibilitie3s, banning everything in sight isnt a mature solution)
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Saehoon Lee Lead technical artist, Kuno Interactive11 years ago
what happens if I rename myself in CS as "Taliban" and start killing hostages and counter terriorist side?
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Jon Burton Director/Head Designer, Travellers Tales11 years ago
EA say that "Someone's gotta be the Taliban", which is wrong. They don't have to have a mulitplayer mode like that, but it is expected of that kind of game now. The problem is that as a industry we are still very young and we are probing areas and crossing lines that haven't been tested before. No one is forcing EA to put VS mode into their game, but their review scores will suffer without it, so they NEED to put it in, thus crossing a possible line of decency. They are forced to cross lines to compete with comparable products, but where does it end? And who decides the boundaries?
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Richard Westmoreland Senior Game Designer, Codemasters Birmingham11 years ago
At the hands of the politicians "children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands." This is just a game, they are the ones playing war games in real life.
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Tom Hully Studying Business Information Systems, University of Portsmouth11 years ago
So simply because EA have labelled one playable side/faction in multiplayer on the new MoH the "Taliban" (insensitive much?), then we have MPs jumping on the anti-adult FPS game bandwagon and calling for it to be banned? I seem to remember CoD Modern Warfare and MW2 allowing you to play as militia where most of the characters looked distinctly insurgent like but that didn't cause a storm did it?

"...Thoroughly un-British game." What - how so? The story of the day here is that this is a video game, its entertainment, yes EA have been a bit insensitive with their naming of sides but again going back to Modern Warfare 2 in particular: I didn't see any complaints from the Russian government over their depiction in the game as power-crazed warmongers on a global scale who somehow have the forces to invade the US?
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D11 years ago
It comes back to the whole thing about how the war's still going on - WW2 is over, etc etc.

I can see what both sides are saying tbh. On the one hand, it's just a game. On the other hand, with a close family member shipping out to Afghanistan in a few months, I can see how it'd be seen as being insensitive.

The issue isn't black and white, even though both sides would like to believe it is.
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Great, another mental midget as Defense sectretary. After Geoff Hoon, it's almost like they don't want to spoil the mood too much. All the same, the actual controversial aspect to MOH is setting it in a real ongoing war that people are dying in. The Taliban being in the game is just a lesser symptom of that larger tasteless decision. Perhaps the Tories would be happier if in MOH the UK soldiers had no afghan adversaries and so just shot the shit out of the local population instead?
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Tomas Lidström Lighting Artist, Rebellion11 years ago
When games are doing the same thing over and over people complain because its nothing new.
When games break new ground people complain because its controversial.
When games are not used to their fullest potential as a media dealing with real issues people complain and slot games of as "just for kids".
When games are politically charged people complain that they are uncomfortable.

Jesus...Stop trying to decide weather people should or shouldnt play the game based on your own biased oppinion, whatever the reason may be for "the common good" or that it might hurt the children. Get over yourself, let the parents keep an eye on the kid and if the world goes to hell then atleast it went to hell as a free speach experiment that future alien races can learn from.

And here i am, complaining about people complaining. ;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tomas Lidström on 23rd August 2010 11:34am

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robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard11 years ago
While I can understand Liam's points, I don't see that they can reasonably expect retailers to not stock this... if the BBFC pass it as it is, why should retailers ban it? All it would mean is that the retailers who don't stock it lose profits - gamers will find somewhere to buy it. Plus, by making the game more exclusive, they're essentially drawing gamers' attention to it and making the game "more cool" for kids (and adults).
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University11 years ago
How about a constructive debate about the game between games journalists, analysts, the developers, politicians and members of the armed forces and their families, rather than an outright ban? Isn't a democratic and tolerant society such as Britain meant to encourage debate, rather than censoring content some people find offensive?

The games industry may not have had much time to mature, and rightly pushes boundaries as the only form of interactive entertainment we've developed, but the knee jerk and immature reactions of members of the government is inexcusable. This isn't a man concerned about the impact of this game on society-this is a man trying to direct public anger and grief about the war in Afghanistan at a soft, easy target. The truth of the matter will get drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

As far as I'm concerned the time that elapses since a war should have nothing to do with how disrespectful it is to depict the villains of that conflict as playable characters. The Nazis are abhorrent no matter how much time passes. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are abhorrent no matter how much time will pass. As a society, we should be mature enough to understand that depicting these factions in digital entertainment does not endorse them, or undermine the sacrifices British forces and their families have made over many conflicts.
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Diarmuid Murphy Developer Marketing, Microsoft11 years ago
if a movie portrayed the war in Iraq/Afganastan from the side of both Taliban and US/UK soliders nobody would blink an eye but games always have a much more restrictive because image because non gamers still believe it is only 14 years boys who play games.
While I would not call this move by EA innovative or groundbreaking, the boundaries of what is acceptable in games must be pushed out.
Six days in Fallujah is a similar example.
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Private Industry 11 years ago
Yeah it`s so much better to kill British soldiers in any WW2 game that has some sort of multiplayer or in any kind of game that is set in a fictional very Iraq or Afghanistan like game.

Also to note at least what I have seen in the Beta there where only US soldiers, didn`t came across a British soldier in the multiplayer beta.
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Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Rebellion Developments11 years ago
Absolutely ridiculous. While I understand calling them 'taliban' is a bit insensitive, we can't cater for every single person that may take offense to something depicted within a game, or we'd never have any realism and they'd all be boring to play.
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robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard11 years ago
Actually, shouldn't Liam be more concerned about this? ... it was shown in UK cinemas and will be released on DVD in a week. Surely this movie will be more disturbing for those affected by terrorism..?
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D11 years ago
I'm looking forward to that. The clip about bleach is excellent.
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Gregory Keenan11 years ago
@Barry Meade I think Liam Fox is a very good defence secretary he is making some very difficult decisions, he is the first defence secretary in YEARS to nearly (and finally) shut down the RAF. You should attend some of his lectures, or see the recordings - his grasp of what the country needs in terms of defence equipment and capability is - for a politician(i need to stress - politician) - very high.

Frankly Im surprised that nobody writing the comments on the topic has noted that Liam Fox is just doing his job. It would be a very bad political move if he said anything but what he said. As nobody is noting; he is put into his office to represent the interests of all the serving personal of the HM Forces, vetrains and families. While some families will either not care or be bothered by this game - others might. So while many would argue that you can turn the quote: "At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands" around and point out how many taliban fathers etc have been killed, they are forgetting that Liam Fox is not in charge of defending the taliban.
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Tony Johns11 years ago
I am not into first person shooters or games based on war, but I do have the peace of mind to say to myself that it is only just a game.

Plus politicians should focus on REAL LIFE and REAL WAR...not fictional war over a game that they don't even bother to play.

Also I would be really suspicious over this option to play as the Taliban, like is it real that you could do that?

If a game passes the PEGI system and is for sale, there is nothing that the politicians can do about it.

And by the way some of them have been conplaining over something like fictional entertainment, isn't this the reason why the UK has a hung gov?
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@Gregory - yeah I hear ya and I've no opinion either way on Liam Fox's ability with his MOD brief, I'm sure you're correct. I suspect though that any politician clever enough to earn a degree in medicine who then resorts to 'ban this sick un-british filth' is somewhat of a pompous con-artist who doesn't think the electorate deserve the gravitas he no doubt actually has. I've no comment on his other abilities.
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