Activision's Call of Duty series has dominated the military first-person shooter space for the past several years, with Modern Warfare 2 racking up over $1 billion in sales before its developer was roiled by turmoil. Electronic Arts is hoping to buck that trend with a reboot of its once-dominant Medal of Honor series. This morning, the publisher dated that effort, announcing that the game would ship on October 12 in North America and October 15 in Europe on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Relocated from World War II to post-9/11 Afghanistan, the new Medal of Honor will offer contemporary combat with an emphasis on realism--something that fell by the wayside in Modern Warfare 2's Tom Clancy-like scenario. The first-person shooter will focus on a member of the most elite group inside the modern-day US Special Operations Command, the shadowy Tier 1 Operators.
EA's Los Angeles studio has been working closely with actual Tier 1 Operators, whose real-life experiences will provide the basis for Medal of Honor's fictional story. As outlined in GameSpot's recent preview, the game will follow a group of the commandos during operations behind enemy lines in Afghanistan during the US-backed Northern Alliance's push toward victory over the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
In order to better blend in with the populace, Tier 1 Operators grew bushy beards and wore civilian clothing and will also do so in Medal of Honor. Such outfits were sported by US Special Forces during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, as can be seen in a 2002 Life magazine photo feature, to better blend in with the heavily bearded local population. In 2002, soldiers were ordered to shave, according to CNN.
While EALA will focus on Medal of Honor's single-player campaign, another internal studio, EA DICE, will be handling the game's multiplayer modes. The Swedish developer, formerly known as Digital Illusions CE, is renowned for the multiplayer modes of its Battlefield series and recently won critical accolades for its PS3, 360, and PC shooter Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
EA also released a new trailer for Medal of Honor (viewable below) that shows a squad of special forces being dropped into a combat zone by Chinook helicopters--not all of which make it out in once piece. Earlier railers for the game have shown infantry infiltration, vehicular combat, and air support. Jet fighter bombers, Apache helicopters, ATVs, and unmarked pickup trucks are amongst the methods of conveyance featured, as were nighttime operations.