New Zealand is the latest country to jump aboard the anti-Medal of Honor bandwagon as the country's Minister of Defense claims that the game "undermines the values of our nation."
British Secretary of Defense Liam Fox caused a stir last week when he urged retailers in the U.K. not to carry the upcoming Medal of Honor because its multiplayer mode gives gamers the option to play as Taliban. Describing the game as "un-British," he said, "I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product." Fox maintained his stance even after it was pointed out that the game doesn't allow players to kill British troops.
And he's not alone in his outrage. Speaking to Gameplanet, Fox's counterpart in New Zealand, Minister of Defense Wayne Mapp, expressed a very similar opinion about the game. "This game undermines the values of our nation, and the dedicated service of our men and women in uniform," Mapp said. "Terrorist acts have caused the deaths of several New Zealanders."
"Hundreds of New Zealand servicemen and women have put their lives on the line in Afghanistan to combat terrorism, and this month Lieutenant Tim O'Donnell died in action over there," he added. Lt. O'Donnell was killed near the beginning of August while on patrol in the Afghan province of Bamiyan.
The angry reaction of Fox, Mapp and all the others who will no doubt pop up as the game approaches release is understandable, if not entirely rational. The Taliban is a despicable collection of thugs and scumbags who engage in behavior so abhorrent that it's bound to inspire strong, visceral reactions. It is a uniquely evil foe - or is it? Nazi Einsatzgruppen murdered over one million men, women and children as they followed in the wake of the Wehrmacht across eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the Second World War, yet playing online as a German soldier doesn't even rate a raised eyebrow. So is all this really a matter of right and wrong - or just one of perspective?
Medal of Honor is being developed by Danger Close and is scheduled for release on October 12 for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.