EA CEO John Ricitiello Responds to Medal of Honor Criticism

Over the last month or so, EA has caught some flack from the mainstream media over the player’s ability to play as the Taliban in online multiplayer. Now, GI.biz reports that EA’s CEO John Ricitiello has struck back at the controversy in comments made at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference.

Ricitiello: “no-one noticed” players can play as the Taliban online “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.”

What else you got, John?

“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.”

He goes on to explain that he is very proud of the game and says that he things it is “well within the boundaries that are good entertainment.”

Here’s the thing: having the Taliban as a playable side in context-free competitive multiplayer is not really defensible as a tasteful design decision. It is the natural extension of the campaign, yes, because the campaign is about Coalition forces battling the Taliban. But you don’t play as a Taliban soldier in the campaign, and the campaign is the only place one could claim artistic merit for that aspect of gameplay. In that situation EA could claim artistic merit and cite numerous works of art as precedent, such as the film Paradise Now or even the No Russian section of Modern Warfare 2.

Unfortunately, online competitive multiplayer has no artistic merit, and so the only response you have to criticism is Ricitiello’s “they were just looking for controversy” defense, which is dangerously close to the “it’s just a game” defense.

I’m not condemning or endorsing this aspect of gameplay. I’m just trying to put it into perspective for everyone. I still anticipate this being a great title, and what I got to experience of the game at PAX was pretty stellar.

Care about the political brouhaha? Don’t? Either way, you’ll be interested in the Medal of Honor information at our detailed Cheats Page. If your stuck on a particular section, try our complete Medal of Honor Walkthrough.

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1 Comment on EA CEO John Ricitiello Responds to Medal of Honor Criticism

UtopiaV1

On September 19, 2010 at 4:11 am

ing newspapers. When are they gonna get bored with blaming all the worlds ills on video games? Surely they should have moved on by now, goddam dinosaurs.