The past week has seen several major news stories centered on Afghanistan, culminating in last night's announcement by President Obama that is he is dispatching 30,000 more troops to the war-torn nation. Today, Afghanistan figured prominently in the game world, when Electronic Arts announced it would be the setting for the long-rumored reboot of its Medal of Honor franchise, titled simply "Medal of Honor."
Due out in fall 2010 for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, Medal of Honor will be the first installment in the once-top-selling series to not be set during World War II. The first-person shooter will instead focus on a member of the most elite group inside the modern-day US Special Operations Command, the shadowy Tier 1 Operators.
EA says its 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 story. Presumably one such solider is the inspiration for the game's cover soldier, who sports a distinctly non-military backwards baseball cap and bushy beard in addition to his assault rifle. However, such outfits were indeed sported by US Special Forces in Afghanistan, as shown in a 2002 Life magazine photo feature, to better blend in with the heavily bearded local population. Later that year, soldiers were ordered to shave, according to CNN.
In a statement, executive producer Greg Goodrich said EALA is emphasizing realism in the game. "When we first set out to reinvent Medal of Honor, we wanted to stay true to its roots of authenticity and respect for the soldier but bring it into today's war," he said. The most popular military shooter to date, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, took some criticism from reviewers for having a highly implausible storyline. Its developer, Infinity Ward, was created by former Medal of Honor developers who left EA in 2002.
While EALA will focus on Medal of Honor's single-player campaign, another internal studio, EA DICE, will be handling the multiplayer mode. The Swedish studio, formerly known as Digital Illusions CE, is renowned for the multiplayer modes of its Battlefield series, which will continue next March with Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
EA did not announce any further details on the game other than its cover art. However, the game's official Web site shows its setting will be in eastern Afghanistan, just southwest of the mountain stronghold of Tora Bora where Tier 1 Special Forces almost captured Osama Bin Laden in 2001. Last fall, that battle was recounted by a member of the unit involved on 60 Minutes on CBS, GameSpot's parent company. The video is viewable below: