The Medal of Honor Curse

 Pages PREV 1 2

I for one, love the gritty graphics. In games, and comics, and movies. I love it. Don't get me wrong though, if you wanna go all colors of the rainbow by all means do, I simply can't forget how great that Prince of Persia game was (the one that seemed water-colored), but then again, that was a game that in my opinion had nothing to gain with gritty filters.
On the other hands I wouldn't enjoy Gears of War so much if it wasn't "brown" like that, nor Call of Duty, or even God of War. But those are all violent games, and the more depressing the mood, the more into context it gets.
Halo now, Halo would get very strange with "brown" filters, I feel they could put some more "realistic" DETAILS in it (like they did with Halo 4, it's subtle bullshit actually, like Master Chief's armor now seeming more tangible), but it has more of a "happy sci-fi" feel to it, like Star Wars, in which case, more COLOR will add to it.

It's a matter of context, I believe. And there's a lot of hate running towards games that are using it within the context...

So, it's another case of copycats mistaking surface for substance without thinking? Just like superhero comics in the '90's.

captcha: Get The Hopper Free
Yes! Free the Dish Hopper!

there was some skepticism at DreamWorks Interactive about whether a historical setting and retro weapon options would appeal to a modern audience.


Oh, that's cute.

There are a few things that can be done about this: The first is to recognize that the idea is tired, outmoded, and not particularly necessary. The second is to realize that World War II was literally that - a World War, with interesting and heroic actions taking place all over the globe. Games have largely neglected The Pacific War, for example, and many of the major actions have gone almost completely unexplored. Saipan has never appeared in a game, and neither has the Burma Campaign or any theater of the Sino-Japanese War

Hello, Medal of Honor: Rising Sun and CoD: World at War? Not so much the Sino-Japanese war but definitely Burma. Though it is true that they have been neglected in comparison to the West and East European theatres.

Good article, very informative regarding Spielberg's influence.

Some additional remarks from my own:
The 'Brown Is Real' syndrome (and the related / overlapping 'the past lacks colour' syndrome) is not unique to military shooters. Spielberg may ultimately have been responsible for its popularity in military shooters, but something similar exists when it comes to historical movies that take place in different periods, as well as a large subset of 'historical' / 'medieval fantasy' games and comics. This wasn't always the case, but since Terry Gilliam's 'Jabberwocky' many 'medieval' historical movies - and fantasy movies and games that are based on medieval Europe - tend to be very...brown and grey.
There's also some direct Spielbergian influence in 'historical' epics as well; Ridley Scott's Gladiator starts with a Roman warfare scene that's clearly influenced by Saving Private Ryan, including the colour scheme (which, given both Roman and barbarian love of colour and 'bling-bling', is actually downright silly).

It's actually gotten so bad that historians, archaeologists and historical reenactors are forced to educate the audience that 'No Sir, not everybody dressed in brown and grey' during presentations and historical re-enactment events.
I've actually noticed something I call 'colour shock' among parts of the larger public (and some educated people too) when they are confronted with state of the art historically accurate recreations of ancient and medieval arms, armour, clothing and painted (classical and medieval) statues and architecture. They are surprised, incredulous, sometimes question the accuracy of the recreation, or are annoyed and declare that they prefer the standard / Hollywood depiction. Though to be honest, the 'wow, amazing!' is also a common reaction.

You're preaching to the choir here.

A good article, very informative, but the message is old news here.


I think most of the value of this article comes from the context the author provides with regards to the origin of the "realistic" aesthetic.

The way the frontline moved is exactly why nobody makes a Korean wargame: nobody got anywhere- the Allies pushed well up north and were doing very well, before China got involved and pushed the border all the way back down again. Playing a game based on Korea would seem just like the war itself- entirely pointless.

I would disagree that it would be pointless to play. I don't think every game needs to end with a ticker-tape parade, secure in the knowledge that all evil has been vanquished by the player, Huzah! The war wasn't an unmittigated success story, but that in and of itself makes it more interesting than stomping on Generic Middle Easternstan again. Tell the story of the blood and tears sacrificed for a stalemate, because it was about the best result that could be achieved. That's a far better way of making a gritty war game than putting a brown filter over the screen.

Besides, there's been a number of Vietnam-based games. And that war was considerably more pointless. The Korean war started when North Korea invaded the south, and whatever else may have gone wrong, South Korea was still there afterwards and has made decent progress in productivity and democracy since then. South Vietnam... didn't. And from a gameplay standpoint, the Vietnam war is far more pointless to play, since the open battles were mostly pretty lopsided and the real threat came from ambushes, traps and sneak attacks. And no one wants to play a game where you have to patrol for days only to be killed on the 6th day by a hidden sniper. A game that starts with a frantic retreat south, an amphibious landing to turn the tide, driving the enemy back, then being confronted by huge enemy reinforcements from China, followed by a new retreat untill the tide can be turned again to push the enemy back sounds far more interesting.

Actually, a game with a Vietcong protagonist side would be considerably more fun gameplay wise. Doubt any studio would dare release it in the US though.

I agree completely. 'Spec Ops: The Line' seemed to do well enough and it was apparently one of the few modern shooters to actually incorporate some real ambiguity into its story. The idea that a war who's progression physically epitomises the futility of conflict wouldn't be "fun" to play may be true, however I have no doubt it would be an entertaining and interesting experience.


the pacfic never really flew because it wasn't a "nice" war, the fighting was nasty and completely broke a lot of the soilders.

any story based there has a marine posted for 4 months on a rock, with no way out, no manaver against a suicidal enemy that can shoot straight, and at least initially was better trained and battle hardned.

[quote="oliver.begg" post="6.393074.15910253"]

I live in th UK, but I'm Australian and I was raised on stories of the Burma Trail, and the Kokoda trail. Horrendous fighting but excellent for stories. CoD World at War captured some of that. The one thing you'll notice will ALL shooters though is that it has to revolve around American Soldiers at some point. Admittedly most of the developers are American but the focus is on campaigns that are well known to an American audience. It's not something I mind so much, I just feel a lot of good history gets ignored if it's not relevant to America. One of the reasons I quite liked the Assassin's Creed series, until this latest one, because it focused on points in history that are rarely covered. Admittedly the American Revolution has been ignored in games generally, but not in education or media. I only recently read about the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and Russia. Something I've rarely seen covered.

I agree with the author. I even believe that much of the success of Far Cry 3 is due to its lush surroundings, a great contrast to the boring brown shooter.

Robert Rath:
This mix made Medal of Honor a hit both critically and commercially; it sold more than 2.5 million copies and made WWII a landmark setting for shooters.

Uh, no.

WWII was already a landmark setting for games well before Medal of Honor. Because it's freaking World War II! How would it not be a natural setting for games involving shooting? It's not like Steven Spielberg invented the war, or games related to it.

 Pages PREV 1 2

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
Register for a free account here