DICE, the studio behind the multiplayer portion of the recently released Afghanistan shooter Medal of Honor, reckons reviews were affected by the controversy surrounding the game's setting.
Medal of Honor hit the headlines for being set in Afghanistan, touching on fresh in the memory battles, and allowing gamers to play as the Taliban in multiplayer - the faction was eventually changed to Opposing Force.
"The controversy did affect some reviews," DICE veteran Patrick Liu told Eurogamer.
"It stirs a lot of feelings, just the setting. And that does affect people's judgement. But otherwise, this is a reboot of a franchise. It's an investment for EA as a company. We need to build upon what we have achieved so far and improve and build up the franchise again from scratch, basically.
"In that sense, I think we're off to a very good start."
Liu's view tallies with EA's. This week the company announced two million units had been sold to consumers since launch.
The news followed an admission from Patrick Soderlund, the EA executive in charge of EA's shooters and driving games, that Medal of Honor "didn't meet quality expectations".
"In order to be successful in that space, we're going to have to have a game that is really, really strong," Soderlund said.
"Medal of Honor is to some extent judged harsher than it should be. The game is better than today's reviews are indicating."
Eurogamer awarded Medal of Honor 8/10 upon its release, and it's currently sitting on a 75/100 Metacritic review score average, but critics argued the game's "lukewarm" review scores failed to match up to those traditionally gained by Activision's Call of Duty series – a franchise EA's shooter is pitched squarely against.
Liu said another factor that played into Medal of Honor's supposed lukewarm reception was the competition.
"It's partly because we're in a very competitive genre," he explained. "We're also competing with ourselves. Obviously we're competing with Call of Duty. It's a very tricky situation to be squeezed in between those giants.
"Either the reviews are favourable, or they're not. There's nothing in between. It's polarised opinion about the game."
How did DICE feel about competing with its own Battlefield series?
" It can feel awkward sometimes," Liu admitted.
Whatever the case, EA confirmed this week that the game was successful enough to warrant a sequel, turning thoughts to the future.
While, according to Liu, "plans aren't set yet" for a MOH sequel, DICE is in the envious position of being able to pick and choose which game it creates next alongside Battlefield 3.
"Both yes and no," Liu replied when asked if DICE would like to work on MOH again.
"It would be cool to continue to develop the franchise. At the same time we have a lot of exciting stuff going on in DICE as well that we have been working on in parallel.
"I'm in a very good situation in that sense. I could pick and choose. It's a win win situation."
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