Even though gamers are facing down ‘Opposing Forces’ rather than the controversial ‘Taliban’ in Electronic Arts’ Medal of Honor, the name change didn’t help the game’s already tarnished image within certain ranks of the military community. While such a fruitless sacrifice has left many in the industry confused, Craig Owens – the game’s marketing director – still pertains that the shift was necessary in a conflicted industry.
“The objection was, kind of from an older generation that doesn’t understand games, that the sound byte was ‘Play as the Taliban and kill U.S. soldiers’,” Owens said, who also admitted, “There still is, it seems, a group that’s still a little bit leery of a game taking place around an active conflict.”
While many believe the name change was a direct result of a ban of the video game in army outlets (one still enforced despite the change), Owens clarifies, “Really the big thing was playing as a Taliban killing U.S. troops. So we basically just changed it to ‘OPFOR’ — which is a term they [the US Armed Forces] use, some of our competitors use — more out of respect…It’s just a misunderstanding. I think eventually, as guys like us — I’m 42 years old, right? — so as I get older and stuff, we’re becoming a world of gamers that are gonna be at all levels and I think that’ll go away.”