Britain defense secretary defends Medal of Honor ban

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Although publisher Electronic Arts' rebuttal to Britain's Defense Secretary made it seem like Liam Fox had his foot in his mouth, the country's figurehead has defended his calls to ban the controversial Medal of Honor game.

Yesterday, Fox said Medal of Honor made him "disgusted" because of its ability to let players control members of the Taliban. The game is the highest-profile title to date that takes place in the modern Afghan war.

The secretary, who has probably never touched an FPS game in his life, said it was "shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban against British soldiers."

"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," he added.

As one of the world's largest video game publishers, EA made sure to be as tactful as possible in its presentation of Taliban troops and said Fox's comments were misguided.

"No British troops feature in the game," said EA in response to Fox. It "does not allow players to kill British soldiers."

In a follow-up interview with the BBC, EA said, "We took a thoughtful approach to [the Afghan war], in that a lot of current soldiers are advising us on the game to ensure it is authentic and realistic."

But Fox refused to appear misinformed about the game. "The point remains that part of this game allows you to play the part of the Taliban attacking ISAF troops in the area of central Helmand where British troops are operating," he said today, defending his stance.

The government has renounced Fox's call to ban the title, saying it is not an official plea from the country. "Dr Fox was expressing a personal view and we understand why some people might find the subject matter of the game offensive," said the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). The DCMS pointed to the game's age rating, which cautions anyone under the age of 18 from playing it.

Medal of Honor "is set in today's war, putting players in the boots of today's soldier. We give gamers the opportunity to play both sides. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven. If someone's the cop, someone's got to be the robber, someone's got to be the pirate, somebody's got to be the alien. In Medal Of Honor multiplayer, someone has to be the Taliban," wrote EA in an expedient response to Fox's claim.

The game is currently slated for release in the UK in October.