DICE, the developer behind the multiplayer portion of upcoming Afghanistan shooter Medal of Honor, has defended the decision to allow gamers to play as Taliban soldiers, saying: "It's a game."
"The hardcore online FPS crowd is not known for its tact, and I can't help but wonder just what sort of epithets will be flying across PSN and Xbox Live when armchair Andy McNabs are shooting at players openly identified as Taliban.
"Watching virtual Coalition troops gunned down by insurgents in the ruins of Kabul, I felt more than a little weird, especially since a friend lost his brother in Afghanistan only a few weeks ago.
"This is a real war that is happening right now, real blood is being shed, and simulating that for fragfest fun while being rewarded for kill streaks... Well, there's just something a bit icky about that. In single-player, there can be a story that adds context and meaning to the carnage. In multiplayer, it's all just for fun. At least the World War II games have the distance of history, and the fact that their conflict has been absorbed into popular entertainment for over 60 years."
"I think it is a fair point," said producer Patrick Liu when asked whether statements saying that gamers will feel uneasy playing as Taliban soldiers are fair, in the latest issue of PSM3 magazine (reported by Connected Consoles).
"We do stir up some feelings, although it's not about the war, it's about the soldiers.
"We can't get away from what the setting is and who the factions are, but in the end, it's a game, so we're not pushing or provoking too hard."
Medal of Honor will be released on 15th October for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
We wonder what Linkin Park think?