EA CEO John Riccitiello has blamed the media for the hullabaloo surrounding the publisher's upcoming Afghanistan-set Medal of Honor reboot.
"The controversy... kind of caught me by surprise," he told attendees and investors at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in California yesterday.
He claimed that, despite the running a public beta for some weeks, "no-one noticed" the option to play as a Taliban soldier in multiplayer "until a journalist decided to put the game box in front of a mom who'd lost her son in Afghanistan to create some controversy.
"I think that says more about the newspapers than it does the game industry. Having said that we're incredibly sensitive to the challenges that a non-gamer who doesn't really understand what I've just described might imagine when a journalist who also doesn't understand a game describes it to her.
"It tends to excite a little bit of angst."
Riccitiello claimed to be "incredibly proud" of Medal of Honor, and convinced that it stayed "well within the boundaries that are good entertainment."
He went on to admit that despite decent pre-orders, the game would not be able to best Call of Duty: Black Ops or Halo: Reach this year.
However, "we expect to significantly increase our share in FPS this year. It's 2011 that we've always felt we can have a reasonable shot at recapturing the leadership. And from when we said that till 2011 that now seems possible."
The CEO was evasive on whether EA's partnership with ex-Infinity Ward staff's new studio Respawn would play a significant part in that 2011 fight-back.
Reaffirming that Respawn's first project would be a new IP, he commented that "We feel great about that parternship - it looks like a good one."