Medal Of Honor: Warfighter – when realism goes too far
Medal Of Honor: Warfighter will allow players to represent their home countries, with a web-based app tracking the progress of 193 nations around the world, EA has confirmed. It's just the latest move in the publisher's apparent bid to make a game that has what Warfighter's announcement press release described as "a dotted line to real-world events". In addition to a story written by US Tier 1 operators while based overseas, Warfighter has also officially licensed a host of real-world weaponry – and you can buy it too, if you want.
Gameological was first to spot that weapons manufacturers are among the "brands" EA has partnered with; each has been announced in a dedicated blog post on Warfighter's official site, each linking out to the manufacturer's official website where the gun or attachment of your choice can be ordered and delivered to your local weapons dealer.
A post announcing a partnership with McMillan – four of whose guns will be in the game – praises the CS5 sniper rifle, with Warfighter's executive producer Greg Goodrich admitting, with no apparent irony, that he was "blown away" by McMillan's new gun. "The mere idea that its design stems from the need for a compact, concealable and suppressed .308 capable of consistently holding ¾ MOA [Minute Of Angle)] is impressive," he writes. "The fact that it will consistently repeat this performance with 200 grain subsonic ammo AFTER being assembled (in less than a minute) from a backpack is awe-inspiring.
"It doesn't get any more authentic than this. Check out the official McMillan website and shoot to win!"
If buying the real-world inspiration for the gun in your virtual hands doesn't flick your switches, perhaps you might be interested in SOG Knives' Voodoo Hawk, a tomahawk designed specifically for Warfighter in consultation with Tier 1 operators? Yours for just $75, including metal butt cap and Nylon carry sheath – and there's a limited edition version with Medal Of Honor branding. Don't worry, the proceeds go to charity.
This, EA says, means that "no other gaming brand brings authenticity to life like Medal Of Honor". We don't dispute that, but we're not sure we wanted it in the first place and we want it even less now. Having the military write a story that realistically portrays a Tier One operator's role in a war is one thing, but what possible benefit can there be in allowing – encouraging, even – players to buy real-world equivalents of the meticulously modelled guns they've been using in the game? Do we want a ranking system that will show once and for all which nation is the best at killing people online? Do we really need videogame developers praising a sniper rifle that can be hidden in a backpack and assembled in less than a minute? Of course not. So why do it?
The point, of course, is to differentiate Warfighter from the competition, to give some kind of USP to a game that few people seem to be terribly excited about – and if glamorising war and fetishising weapons gets the job done, EA appears to be fine with it. War is, to put it mildly, a distasteful business – it's just one of the many reasons why we're not in the military – and while licensed real-world products are hardly new to games, and Warfighter is far from the first shooter to sport officially licensed weaponry, this is on a completely different level. If this is authenticity, you can keep it.