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Modern Warfare Games and Artistic Liberty: What side to portray?
Posted on Friday, October 26 2012 @ 13:29:59 PST

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.


So I bashed Medal of Honor: Warfighter for the plethora of bugs needing to be addressed via a day one patch, but, the following day I read an article regarding a terrorist training sequence found in the early stages of the game. In the last edition of Medal of Honor, an uproar was had over the ability to take on the role of terrorist and actually go against US troops in multiplayer. Now this… it made me think of where the line between artistic liberty and social preference intersect.

In order for a war to occur, it tends to need a minimum of 2 distinct groups; in this case, the US military and the militant terrorist groups. Is it appropriate in this age of information to portray only one side of a conflict? What are the benefits? What is the downside? On the one hand, we seek transparency of our government and you have sources like WikiLeaks dumping confidential information onto the public via the internet. This seems to point to a demand by the current generation to utilize technology to provide and take in as much information as possible.

Historically, it was said that history is written by the victor, but with YouTube, the internet, and numerous other forms of technology, can this saying still be applied today? At a time when it is evident from “fact”-checking “fact” checkers that people are keying in on getting the full/”whole” picture, it leaves developers at a bit of an impasse. They know the public wants realitysee Honey Boo Boo, Tru Tv, etc… then burn your eyes out. But how do developers/creators of war games give the whole story if it is socially unacceptable to portray certain facts, regardless of the fact that it’s simply fact?

From the one perspective, I empathize with the stance of "hey, don’t put kids in the shoes of terrorist to shoot US troops in a game I have several family members who serve proudly", but on the other hand, other countries may view this differently. Do you provide country-appropriate content? It reminds me a bit of HomeFront being banned in Korea… and that was pure fiction. I guess it is difficult to understand the need by the current generation for the “whole” truth while, when presented, it is deemed inappropriate.

Make no mistake, I have no sympathy for some jackass terrorist, but I am hard pressed to believe that they don’t have their own “real” story. What happens when you humanize a term associated with such atrocious acts. As a creator of games, are you ever allowed to portray a human/personal side of a terrorist? It reminds me a bit of Breaking Bad and how someone so average can become such a damn monster. It’s a bit of a conundrum for creators as you know the dynamic is there and we all to some extent want to know what made the characters do such a jack assthing, but how do you present this side of the story appropriately... That’s the question.

The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. It has been submitted for our monthly Vox Pop competition. ~Ed. Nick
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