Friday, February 1, 2013

Good riddance

Von Stefan Sasse

Let's begin this article with two quotes and a disclaimer: 
“This one is behind us now. We are taking Medal of Honor out of the rotation, and have a plan to bring year-over-year continuity to our shooter offerings.”
“We struggled with two challenges: the slowdown that impacted the entire sector and poor critical and commercial reception for Medal of Honor Warfighter. Medal of Honor was an obvious miss. The game was solid, but the focus on combat authenticity did not resonate with consumers. Critics were polarized and gave the game scores which were, frankly, lower than it deserved.”
- Official EA stateent

Official promotion video for Linkin Park and "Medal of Honor Warfighter"

It's a game I never played. But I did play the Call of Duty series and watched the reviews, so I'm feeling confident of being able to write the following lines.

 Good riddance. Good, good riddance. I'm really happy that EA pulled the plug. "The focus on combat authenticity"? Keep telling yourself that. There's nothing authentic about this kind of games, and that's not even intended. I think the only modern warfare game that ever felt (and I stress "felt" here) realistic was Operation Flashpoint, and that surely isn't a game for everyone. The modern warfare shooters aren't authentic. They are male empowerment fantasies. If you need any proof for that, watch the video above again. 

Fight for 'Murica, baby!
The video. I could rant about this for a while. They are really glorifying the death of family fathers as something you would aspire, and they even close the circle in the end when the boy who got the message in the beginning brings the message to a little girl. Woah. I would love to claim that it is this insensibility (and the fact that they made a crossover-promotion with the weapon manufacturers, encouraging players to buy the weapons they used in the game) was what led to the poor sales of the game. Or the stupid title "Warfighter", for that matter. But I guess it's more of a modern-warfare-shooter fatigue and the poor artistic values of the game in matters of ame design. According the the reviews, the game simply wasn't fun. And it seems like this message spread really quick in the community, leading to poor sales. 

Customize your gun, for more efficient and stylish killing.
Of course, I couldn't care less about the virtues of game design. I played the Call of Duty series, and they were well made game. They made me sick in the end regardless. The genre has run its course. It is time for a second-wave of games questioning the values that the first generation of shooters promoted, willingly or no. And Medal of Honor certainly crossed the line with its promotion alone. You can make shooters. You can make shooters with "focus on combat authenticity". But you need to stop glorifying a chauvinist male empowerement fantasy that expresses itself solely with the calibre of the weapon in your hand. And no, that doesn't mean that you should make the same type of games, but with a female protagonist. Stop making that type of games, please.

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