Responding to pressure from gamers, active military and the friends and family of servicemen and women, Electronic Arts today said they are removing the Taliban as playable characters from their upcoming military shooter Medal of Honor.
The opposing force that the US military take on in Afghanistan in multiplayer bouts is now called the "opposing force".
Medal of Honor came under intense pressure from the military after it became known that in the multiplayer portions of the game, players would be able to take on the role of Taliban fighters.
In early September, the commanding general of the US Army and Air Force Exchange Services told Kotaku that he decided to have Medal of Honor pulled from US military bases worldwide because of the "well-documented reports of depictions of Taliban fighters engaging American troops" in the game.
Electronic Arts declined to comment at the time about whether the decision by the Army and Air Force Exchange Services would impact the design of the game.
In a statement today on the Medal of Honor website, Greg Goodrich, executive producer of Medal of Honor, said the decision to drop the Taliban reference was driven purely by the feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers.
"This is a very important voice to the Medal of Honor team," he wrote. "This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about. Because of this, and because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force."
Goodrich said the change will not directly affect gamers or alter gameplay.
Here is Goodrich's statement in full:
In the past few months, we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor. We've received notes from gamers, active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas. The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. For this, the Medal of Honor team is deeply appreciative.
However, we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our game. This is a very important voice to the Medal of Honor team. This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about. Because of this, and because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.
While this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay, we are making this change for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice - this franchise will never willfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service.
To all who serve - we appreciate you, we thank you, and we do not take you for granted. And to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines currently serving overseas, stay safe and come home soon.
Greg Goodrich Executive Producer Medal of Honor