If it were up to THQ’s Danny Bilson, the Taliban would never have been included in EA’s Medal of Honor reboot, but North Korea is still up for grabs.
EA and Danger Close’s Medal of Honor reboot caused a storm of controversy over its inclusion of the Taliban as a playable multiplayer faction that saw the likes of Jack Thompson get involved, and the game was even banned by the U.S. military. Eventually, EA gave in and renamed the Taliban. THQ’s VP of core games Danny Bilson calls EA’s use of the Taliban at all a mistake, in a seemingly hypocritical statement considering THQ’s use of North Korea in the upcoming Homefront.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Bilson said: “I wouldn’t have put [the Taliban in Medal of Honor] in the first place.” He separates Medal of Honor from Homefront by pointing out that Medal of Honor is based on a real, ongoing conflict, while Homefront, whose storyline follows a North Korean invasion of the U.S., is “speculative fiction.”
“When you get into reality – and that’s real, that’s not speculative science-fiction like ours,” he added. “I don’t want to play as the Taliban, particularly.”
Bilson wouldn’t even want to play as the Germans from World War II. He said the “heroes and villains” from real world conflicts are in his “psyche,” and they play into his personal sensitivity when making games, though not necessarily THQ’s in a broader sense.
Homefront uses real-world imagery and politics to display a future where a North Korean invasion of the U.S. puts a death grip on its citizens. The latest trailer shows U.S. soldiers killed in brutal ways. To Bilson, this is apparently different than Medal of Honor‘s use of the Taliban, because “if people are dying in the real world that becomes sensitive.”
Is there really a difference? Homefront and Medal of Honor both deal with the toll that war takes from humanity, and both display it in a realistic manner. Homefront might be an even harsher view, albeit one based in an alternate reality. Just because it doesn’t take place in the “real world,” is Homefront somehow different from Medal of Honor in regards to what it depicts? I’m not so sure.