Sound like your day? Millions of people in 60 countries around the globe are doing the same thing in the world’s most popular life simulator franchise, “The Sims,” and have been for the past 10 years.
“The Sims” franchise is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year with a new release, “The Sims 3,” for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and Nintendo DS. While it is the first title for the PS3 and Xbox 360, PC players have been living, dying, growing and sharing in the Sims world through 39 different games and expansion packs.
The series, which allows players to live out virtual lives in whatever fashion they choose, has sold more than 125 million copies and has been translated into 22 different languages since its launch in February, 2000. The game was fairly simple and two dimensional in the beginning but hooked into the imagination of players everywhere and was the best selling PC game from 2000 to 2003.
Rod Humble, general manager of Electronic Arts Play Label, joined the franchise in 2004 shortly before “The Sims 2” was ready to hit the shelves. He said an updated graphic engine to render the Sims world in 3-D was a big hit, but they added more to do within the world.
“Sims could age. We added wants and fears, which we didn’t have in One,” Humble said. “People came for the better looking game and stayed for the far deeper gameplay.”
Humble said it was a pretty dramatic shift for the franchise at that time as well. Not only was the game better looking, the audience changed from being predominately North American players to having European players outnumbering the Americans.
“It was a massive explosion in Europe,” he explained. “A lot of it was driven by Eastern Europe where PCs were starting to come on board.”
It was also a time when the franchise team began to notice that The Sims was having a cultural impact as well.
“The original art style of ‘The Sims’ was an idealized American suburbia,” Humble said. “In Europe, (the game) is perceived as a cooler, inspirational brand because the setting is North America. If you live in Europe, the United States is quite a glamorous lifestyle.”
“The Sims” team adapted to the cultural impact and localizes content to go with the culture where the game is being sold. Everything gets translated, Humble said, and the game is “very much owned by each country.”
“We are the number one game in Thailand, because we localize in Thai.”
“The Sims” also began appearing in pop culture as well, being referenced in movies, television shows and music. TV skits about the Sims have appeared on the “Drew Carey Show,” “30 Rock,” and “One Tree Hill” to name a few.
The Black Eyed Peas, Nelly Furtado, Katy Perry, LeAnn Rimes and Depeche Mode have all recorded their hits in Simlish, the emotion-filled language spoken by The Sims.
John Buchanan, vice president of marketing for “The Sims” franchise, said the musicians were fans of the game and wanted to do more.
“What if we could get these fans, these fans who are musicians, these fans who are actors, to participate in the franchise? One way they were able to do that is sing their songs in Simlish,” Buchanan said. “This was a way for us to really tap into the pop culture phenomenon that ‘The Sims’ had become.”
There was one instance of Sims pop culture that Humble pointed out where he was “blown away.”
“A modern artist who did a series of real life events and he did it in the style of the Sims,” he said. “It was incredibly powerful because it was a real work of art, but he used the Sims art style.”
Jon Haddock, an Arizona artist and illustrator, created 20 images that captured real life cultural events as they would have appeared in “The Sims” game. His artwork included such scenes as the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ted Kaczynski’s cabin and the man standing in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
“I looked at these works of art and I was like, wow,” Humble said. “There is a cultural relevance there that is really interesting.”
As “The Sims” franchise continued to grow, so did its audience. A robust fan base has been feeding ideas and suggestions back to the developers as their needs and wants from the game have changed over the years.
“Our biggest demographic used to be teen girls,” Humble said. “With ‘The Sims 3,’ we’ve seen that broaden a bit. It has aged upward, and clearly, it is a game that people are playing as they grow older.”
Buchanan said he has been impressed by the excitement, passion and dedication of the fans in the two years he has spent with the franchise.
“We have over 1.6 million Facebook fans and 55,000 Twitter followers,” he said. “We get seven million unique visits per month to our website. More than 170 million pieces of content has been created and uploaded by our fans to be shared with players around the world.”
The fans “truly want a high quality experience,” he continued. “They want features that enable them to tell the story that they want to tell. This is an open ended, life simulation game where the world and the stories you want to tell are in your own hands, your own imagination, and your own creativity.”
In 2009, the franchise continued to evolve and “The Sims 3” launched, which allowed players to explore a world that was open and “real.”
Humble said they expanded the simulation from individual households to entire towns and communities. So a player could watch his neighbor move in, go through their lives, and move away and that neighbor would not entirely disappear from the game as in previous incarnations.
“We’re extending the simulations from being hamsters in a cage where we’re just simulating each individual person to extending that network across the entire town,” Humble said. “I wanted this idea that you could bump into anybody in the ‘Sims 3’ world, and, not to be stalkerish, you could follow them home. You could see their life.”
Humble said the move to the consoles finally happened after the developers felt the PS3 and the Xbox 360 had the power to run the full simulations. He said high definition displays also allowed them to show the game information in ways they wanted to.
“’The Sims’ happens to be the most complex role playing game out there in terms of systems and how hard it is to use,” he said. “High def consoles can now pull that off. They’ve got the horsepower to do it.”
The brand new world will contain additions systems, including karma powers and a challenge system to unlock new content. It will have more to do in the world than the PC version.
Players who have characters on the PC platform will have to start from scratch. Characters from the traditional PC game cannot be transferred to the new console versions.
Humble said he is interested to see how the game develops on the console because he expects it to be played in the living rooms instead of in the study.
“We’ve noticed that people play the Sims differently if they don’t think someone is looking over their shoulder,” he pointed out. “My hunch is there will be a lot more house building and creativity and funny moments because you’ll want to show those off. And probably less deviant moments where you are having private fun because you don’t want to show that off in the living room.”
Despite the 10 years of success and growth, both Humble and Buchanan said the franchise team has held steady to producing a quality product, listening to their ever growing fan base and continuing to push the envelope on simulating real life experiences in the virtual world.
“It is a very odd game that, to this day, I don’t think anybody would green light because it is a game you can’t win, doesn’t have any levels, there is no reward/risk for what you are doing and it is a game about your everyday life,” Humble said.
“It is amazing that what really is a creativity tool that enables you to play stories sort of masquerading as a game has succeeded so much.”
But that’s life in the post-apocalyptic New West in the 23rd Century and the rest of the game is spent tracking down the men responsible for scrambling your brain and handing out futuristic justice.
“Fallout New Vegas” was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and is not a direct sequel to the main “Fallout” series. It takes place around and in Las Vegas, Nevada, which was spared a direct hit from the nuclear attack that devastated the world during the Great War.
Players will start by traversing the Mojave Wasteland and walk along a lot of desert landscapes and crumbling cityscapes before finally making it to New Vegas and the domain of the mysterious Mr. House. Two main political and military factions, the New California Republic and Caesar’s Legion, are warring over possession of Hoover Dam, the region’s only consistent supplier of electricity.
The gameplay is very similar to “Fallout 3” even if the story isn’t. The Pip-Boy, a personal wrist computer, returns to act as an inventory system, health meter, and to keep track of your quests, and will be constantly referenced in nearly everything you do.
The V.A.T.S (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) is also back and continues to be the best option in combat. Enemies are targeted and V.A.T.S allows for specific limb, head or torso shots to be delivered with ease. Crouching down during combat also increases the chance of hitting, but definitely limits your ability to flee in the face of a stronger enemy.
Since the area wasn’t impacted by a nuclear weapon directly, there are very few mutants to deal with as there was in “Fallout 3.” Instead, oversized insects and rodents will be your main opponents in the vast wasteland and other humans will be lined up in your sights the rest of the time.
Players can develop good and bad reputations based on actions they take in individual towns or with specific groups of people. Helping to fight off a group of raiders raises your good reputation in the town, but also decreases your reputation with those raiders who you might meet later.
The impact of your reputation has an effect on how you are treated, what other quests may be available to you and prices on goods and services.
Be prepared to spend a lot of time doing these quests. In addition to helping you build up your levels and your finances, which you will need to enter New Vegas, it also adds to the story and helps flesh out what happened in the region and how the inhabitants are dealing with it. It was nearly 11.5 hours of gameplay before I had the necessary requirements to enter the Strip.
There are no cars or other modes of transportation other than your feet. Once you visit a location, fast travel allows you to revisit that same place without the necessarily time spent walking from one place to another. But until fast travel kicks in, get ready to see the sights as you must walk from location to location, taking up a lot of time and exposing you to attacks from animals and raiders.
New to the series, a modification and crafting system was added to allow players to change how their weapons and ammunition behaved during combat. Rates of fire, the amount of ammo in the magazines and damage can be tweaked to fit the player’s style of combat.
Items can also be gathered throughout the game and then later fashioned into healing powders, improvements on stats and forming more potent weapon effects. Whether you use either system is entirely based on how involved you want to get in the game. During the review gameplay, there was never a dire need for anything that had to be crafted or modified.
Graphics are pretty much what you’d expect to see from a desert layout. Most of the buildings in the smaller towns are rundown, but still standing.
New Vegas lights up nicely at night and shines like a beacon across the wasteland. But there are frustrating issues with graphics clipping and items that seem to float in mid-air for no apparent reason.
Backing out of a firefight and into a door melded my character with the door frame and locked me into place, necessitating a restart. Monster scorpions that chased me across the desert would sometime phase through obstacles in their way – and no, it isn’t one of their abilities.
Tossing dynamite into a crowded room is a good way to clear out enemies. While body parts and various items in the room would go flying, not all of them would make it back down to earth and remained in the air.
There was also an issue that froze the game when attempting to target an enemy around a corner. While I could see the enemy and target it, the action would not progress beyond the targeting mechanism and a restart was needed.
The game features lots of well-known voices for the characters. Felicia Day, Michael Dorn, Kris Kristofferson, Matthew Perry, Wil Wheaton and, of course, Wayne Newton as Mr. New Vegas all lend their vocal talents to add emotion and life to the people you’ll meet along the way.
“Fallout New Vegas” has a good storyline and a familiar feel if you’ve played “Fallout 3” before. There are only a few new things to the gameplay, but it still works well. There is a lot to see and do throughout the game and you can spend many hours just exploring all the different regions and locations.
Bugs and graphical issues plague the game in spots, but if you can overlook those instances, you will be rewarded with an exciting time as you make your way to New Vegas and the adventures that lie within.
Now to get past the security guards and get inside the casinos.
“Fallout New Vegas” is rated M for Mature (blood and gore, intense violence, sexual content, strong language, use of drugs). It is available on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the PC.
Gaming companies are looking to get people into the game more by virtually inserting the player into the action.
While the Move controller for the PlayStation 3 and the Kinect controller for the Xbox 360 have garnered all the headlines, Sony has developed a camera that attaches to its PSP-3000 handheld console in an attempt to bring real-world gaming to the small screen.
The first title to use the new PSP camera, “Invizimals,” is an augmented reality game that has players using the camera to survey their real surroundings for invisible animals. The Invizimals are then projected onto the screen and players are tasked to capture and collect the animals.
If this sounds a bit familiar — *cough* Pokémon *cough* — the concept of catching fantastical creatures is not new, but how players catch them is.
“We’ve been working on augmented reality for quite a while,” Senior producer Petro Piasecki said. “One of the guys (on the development team) was driving through the streets of Barcelona with no glasses and saw neon lights and thought they looked like ghosts of lights.”
Piasecki said it took about 2.5 years before the “ghosts of lights” idea would become a viable game. Advancements in technology helped get the game more in line with their vision of a monster capture/battle game. During that time, the technology to make the camera’s picture clearer and help build the augmented reality got cheaper and ultimately more affordable for the consumer.
With the tech in hand, the team worked on developing a game that would hold new appeal to gamers while highlighting the new abilities of their camera.
“We don’t just cater to kids with magical creatures that are cartoonish with attacks and moves,” game producer Emerson Escobar said. “There is also a little bit of strategy in the game and some multiplayer aspects where you can battle your friends so it appeals to everybody.”
During the game, players use the PSP and the camera to scan their surroundings. Visual and audio alerts let gamers know when they are getting close to spotting an Invizimal. Once one is found, players have to capture it by stunning it with a slap, tickling it, feeding it, or even whistling a tune to calm it down.
All of these actions are done in the augmented reality by the player’s hand appearing on screen and performing the needed task to capture the Invizimal. There are more than 120 different creatures to collect.
Technically speaking, the camera reacts to different colored objects to place the Invizimal in the virtual reality. During play, the game will prompt you point the camera at certain colors to trigger the capture moments so make sure to play where you have brightly colored objects to help.
“We really used (the PSP-3000) to its fullest capabilities,” Escobar said. “We use the microphone. We use the thumb stick. We use motion sensing. We really wanted to create unique capture mechanics for each creature.”
Rotating the thumb stick creates a hurricane attack. Blowing into the handheld console generates a blizzard attack. Piasecki said ultimately, the bottom line was it had to be freaking cool.
“If you can create a really compelling looking creature with crazy attacks and uses all the input options of the PSP, we were able to create a lot of cool stuff,” he said. “In a nutshell, this game is every 12-year-old boy’s fantasy dream.”
The new PSP camera also works as a still or video camera which can save pictures and videos to the PSP. The images and videos can be shared with friends and family via an Internet or Wi-Fi connection.
“People are already carrying around their PSP and the camera is just an added cool feature,” Escobar added. “It really does produce some great quality images.”
“Invizimals” isn’t the only game ready to use the PSP camera. “EyePet,” a game initially featured during demonstrations of the Move controller, is going to make an appearance on the PSP in early November, and games using augmented reality are planned.
“Invizimals” is rated E for everyone and is only available for the Sony PSP handheld console.
Despite the pre-release controversy over the inclusion of the Taliban, “Medal of Honor” (Danger Close, DICE, Electronic Arts) tries to tell a gripping tale of honor and sacrifice but can’t quite get to the finish line.
“Medal of Honor” is a first-person shooter game taking place during the current war in Afghanistan. It is a reboot of the series and is the first that does not take place during World War II as the previous releases did.
Players start off in the single-player campaign as a Tier One Operator, a special soldier who is tasked with the most dangerous, and often covert, assignments under the direction of the National Command Authority. As the missions progress, players will also play as a U.S. Army Ranger and Apache helicopter gunner.
The storylines between the three different types of characters are interwoven so that transitioning from one to another is relatively seamless. All are related to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and the military efforts to remove and eliminate the Taliban in the region.
The development teams included current and former military personnel to help achieve a sense of realism to game. Weapons, environments, troop strengths, and technology are recreated to help gamers get the feel of being in the battle zone.
Gameplay is fast-paced and sometimes frantic as firefights take place in villages and mountainous ranges. Mission objectives are clear, but how to get them completed often isn’t.
Some missions also require hunkering down in a location to await rescue or extraction and fighting off wave after wave of opponents.
Players will motor through the Afghan fields on ATV before stopping to clear out an enemy area. Ranger missions are more designed as typical infantry battles and Apache missions resemble bombing runs on opponent strongholds.
Each requires its own sense of touch and timing to get to the objective and it may take a time or two before finding the right strategy to achieve mission victory.
Graphically, the game boasts wide terrain features representing the Afghani countryside and minute details such as etchings on the weapons and proper logos on clothing. There were some instances when the graphics let down the sense of realism by leaving pieces of rock or slain enemies hanging in mid air.
There were a couple of missions where the entire scene was washed out (perhaps by a sandstorm or glare) where combatants were nearly invisible in rough terrain and could only be spotted after the fired their weapons. Frustratingly, they had no problem finding the U.S. troops trying to clear the field.
There were also instances when a battle would not end until the player hit a specific geographic location, and magically, the enemy fled the battlefield. Until that spot was hit, opponents continued to respawn, giving no indication they were ready to concede the battle.
The single-player story was, at times, compelling, but ran into clichéd generals sitting at a stateside desk, helicopters you know aren’t going to make it back to base, and an ending that probably had more to do with teaching a moral than anything to do with the game. Players are likely to be alternating between edge-of-their-seat excitement and slumping back on the couch in disbelief.
The multiplayer side garnered a lot of the early press for the inclusion of playable Taliban. After getting feedback from military personnel and families, Electronic Arts decided to change the name from Taliban to Opposing Forces, but not change any of the weapons, uniforms or locations.
There are three different classes on each side to play during multiplayer – rifleman, special ops and sniper. Each has its own weapons, strengths and weaknesses.
Players can level up by completing mission goals and stringing together scorechains by shooting opponents or performing certain tasks. Leveling up unlocks new weapons and abilities that stay with the gamer from mission to mission no matter which side they choose to play.
Up to 24 players, 12-on-12 combat, can be supported. Four different types of missions can be played across eight different maps. Combat usually involved each side converging and meeting somewhere in the middle of the map.
Multiplayer action is fun and exciting. Playing as a single class though the different missions really feels like accomplishment as the score and rankings rise. But the variety offers enough different spice to keep playing the same maps enjoyable.
Overall, “Medal of Honor” attempts to show a realistic experience of the life of a current soldier into the game. While many of the elements are done well, there are also enough bugs to detract from the experience if you are dedicated first-person shooter.
However, if you are looking for an intense experience and are willing to overlook a few hiccups along the way, this game delivers a solid helping of heart-pounding, trigger pulling action to keep you happy.
“Medal of Honor” is rated M for mature. It is available now for the PC as well as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles.
If you answered, “zombie pregnant car,” you are ready to play the new puzzle game, “Super Scribblenauts (5th Cell/Warner Bros. Interactive).”
The new video game exclusively for the Nintendo DS ramps up the vocabulary, the pictures and the puzzles from their 2009 hit, “Scribblenauts,” while attempting to address some of the drawbacks from the first.
You control Maxwell, a young lad whose mission in life is to collect stars… I mean, starites. Each level presents Maxwell with a puzzle to get the starites and it is up to the player to come up with the object needed to retrieve the glittery prize.
For example, Maxwell is shown with a starite up in a tree. Players then try to figure out how they want him to get it down (i.e. – a ladder to climb the tree or throw a rock to knock it out).
More creative solutions are rewarded with Ollars, which can be used to purchase hints for the more difficult puzzles.
Creative director Jeremiah Slazcka said the design team came up with nearly 35,000 words to be used in many ways during the game.
“We have about 25,000 regular words and about 10,000 adjectives, which are new to the game,” Slazcka said. “We also have eight guys doing the art for all the combinations of those words.”
The adjectives add a twist to the game, particularly when players need to solve some of the more challenging puzzles. Players can change the color, size, behavior and many other aspects of the object they are trying to create.
Players can also string together adjectives to create something new, like a shy green polar bear, when the need arises.
In the first incarnation of the puzzle game, there was a mix of puzzle levels and battle levels, where players would create something to fight against an opponent. Slazcka said the new game focuses mostly on the puzzle levels because that’s what people really wanted.
“The puzzles were really difficult for us to do, but people seemed to like them better,” he said. “We focused on how to solve the puzzles logically instead of using brute force.”
There are 120 new levels to be played, but there are chances to replay each level to come up with more creative solutions. The “fill in the blank” puzzles challenges players to examine multiple items and come up with an object that resembles the shown items.
These levels can be played over and over again to offer more solutions that haven’t been used yet.
If you stumble across a puzzle that you just can’t figure out, multi-tiered hints are available to help guide you to a solution. The more explicit the hint, the more Ollars it costs.
In the original, Maxwell was controlled by using the touch screen on the Nintendo DS. It did cause some problems where Maxwell would scamper around, knocking items over unintentionally and ruining a puzzle solution. In “Super Scribblenauts,” Maxwell can now be controlled with the directional pad (D-pad) to allow greater precision of movement.
The development team also added a level editor, so players can create their own levels and puzzles with unique solutions. Slackza said created levels can be shared with friends.
The game requires a healthy imagination, a good vocabulary and probably a dictionary. If you are creative and like to think out of the box, “Super Scribblenauts” is your kind of game.
It is fun, easy to play and has some very amusing moments if you play the right object at the right time.
Besides, hitching a ride on a giant, friendly yeti doesn’t happen every day.
“Super Scribblenauts” is rated E 10+ (everyone 10 and older) and is out now for the Nintendo DS handheld consoles.
Blizzard Entertainment announced that “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm”, the highly anticipated third expansion for the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, will be released starting on December 7.
There had been rumors that testing and development might push back “Cataclysm” until sometime in 2011, but Blizzard puts those rumors to rest and promises a pre-holiday release.
The expansion will be available for Windows PCs and Macs on a DVD and will also be offered as a digital download from the Blizzard Store. A special Collector’s Edition packed with bonus items will be available exclusively in retail stores.
“Cataclysm includes the best content we’ve ever created for World of Warcraft,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “It’s not just an expansion, but a re-creation of much of the original Azeroth, complete with epic new high-level adventures for current players and a redesigned leveling experience for those just starting out,”
The first two World of Warcraft expansions, “The Burning Crusade” and “Wrath of the Lich King”, each shattered PC game sales records upon their release.
In Cataclysm, the face of Azeroth will be forever altered by the return of the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing. Players will explore once-familiar areas of the world that have now been reshaped by the devastation and filled with new adventures.
In an effort to survive the planet-shattering cataclysm, two new playable races — worgen and goblins — will join the struggle between the Alliance and the Horde. As players journey to the new level cap of 85, they’ll discover newly revealed locations, acquire new levels of power, and come face to face with Deathwing in a battle to determine the fate of the world.
In a statement on their website, executive producer Greg Goodrich said the development team listed to the feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the game.
“This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about,” Goodrich said in a statement. “Because of this, and because the heartbeat of ‘Medal of Honor’ has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename to opposing team in ‘Medal of Honor’ multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.”
Goodrich said the change does not fundamentally alter the gameplay. He said the majority of the feedback on the game has been overwhelmingly positive.
But he said they were making the change “for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In a June beta test release being developed by DICE and Danger Close Studios, the multiplayer video game allowed players to be a part of the two warring sides in two Afghanistan settings. In that beta release, one side was the American forces and the other was known as the Taliban forces.
A month later, Dr. Liam Fox, the British Secretary of State of Defence, called for British retail stores to ban the game. He told the “Sunday Times” that he was disgusted and angry and asked stores to show support to the military and military families by not selling “Medal of Honor.”
“It is shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban,” Liam told the newspaper. “At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands.”
The Department for Culture, Media and Sports in Britian quickly distanced itself from Fox’s call for a ban, describing his comments as a “personal view.” The DCMS backed the adult rating on the game and called on consumers to exercise choice when making decisions about purchasing “Medal of Honor.”
Jeff Brown, a spokesman for EA, said the controversy surprised the game publisher, but there are two sides to the story.
“The misunderstanding starts with people who don’t understand the dynamics of video games,” Brown said. “There are cops and robbers, good guys versus bad guys, in nearly every game and we were surprised to be reminded that not everyone gets that dynamic.”
EA has received many letters from consumers, including military and retired military personnel who, Brown said, are supporting the company’s right to produce the game. Brown said it was comforting to get those letters of support because it showed the development team that they weren’t doing anything that was out of bounds or exploitive.
“We do stop and take measure of people who are offended,” Brown said. “People who say it is difficult actually seeing the Taliban when we’ve lost someone to the war.”
William Gaunter, a former Hospital Corpsman Third Class with the United States Navy, played in the early beta testing and said he wasn’t too surprised that there was an uproar about the inclusion of the Taliban in the game.
“(The war against the Taliban) is happening right now as we speak,” Gaunter said. “The American public — there is a certain time period when they are willing to accept as playing the enemy. There is a cut off somewhere.”
Gaunter pointed out that enemy forces have been depicted in movies, such as “Hurt Locker”, and books in the past without a similar public backlash. He thinks “Medal of Honor” is similar to other war video games by including two sides during multiplayer combat, but in their attempt at realism, they became a target for using the Taliban name in the game.
“Since (other games) didn’t use that name, it really didn’t bother anybody,” Gaunter explained. “It looks the same as the Taliban (in the other games), but since they didn’t use the name, they don’t get the controversy.”
“It is not the game play, it is the name. People are offended by the naming convention — menus that say Taliban,” he said. “We are not changing the game play.”
Brown said former and current military personnel helped with making the game feel as real as possible to appeal to video game players and also to stay respectful to the men and women serving in the Armed Forces.
Gaunter said the in-game realism shows that EA and DICE really did their homework.
“The weapons are what is being used now. Etchings on the guns are spot on,” he said. “It is definitely the Taliban from everything from the clothing to the weaponry.”
Despite EA’s efforts to show respect to military personnel, the U.S. military Army & Air Force Exchange Service asked on-base stores not to stock “Medal of Honor.”
“Out of respect to those we serve, we will not be stocking this game,” Major General Bruce Casella, the AAFES commanding officer, said. “We regret any inconvenience this may cause authorized shoppers, but are optimistic that they will understand the sensitivity to the life and death scenarios this product presents as entertainment.”
Brown said EA sent a letter to Casella, not to appeal the ruling, but to outline their position and history in dealing with respect to the military. Brown feels the dispute is generational.
“Younger people who are familiar with video games, the good versus bad concept, are okay with that,” he said. “Older people who don’t play games and understand the concepts have a problem with it.”
“If you aren’t a person who plays these games, you aren’t going to understand the dynamics of the game,” he said. “It is a game. It is not real life. I don’t correlate the two.”
Gaunter said he talked with other military and former military personnel about the prospect of playing the Taliban in the game. He said it was a wide range of opinions.
“Some are like me. It doesn’t bother them,” Gaunter said. “Some who were in Afghanistan or Iraq aren’t going to play the multiplayer. They are going to get the game and only play the single player, where you play as an American.”
“And I respect their decision,” he continues. “That’s what they are out there fighting for – freedom of choice. We shouldn’t have anyone tell us what we can and cannot do.”
EA plans on releasing the open multiplayer beta version for the PC in October, Brown said, to see if the servers can handle the stress but also to let people decide for themselves.
“When people see the multiplayer, people are going to see the same situation they’ve seen many times before in other games – someone has to be the cop and someone has to be the robber.”