TOKYO--Electronic Arts is in the midst of a Japanese marketing campaign for its FPS Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, which will be released here on December 4 for PS2 and GC. A GBA game, "Medal of Honor Advance," will join its big brothers on December 18.
As the latest installment in a well-known series, the game is getting its fair share of coverage from Japan's gaming media.
But it's interesting to note that articles in the mainstream game media have discussed the game's play modes and setting without ever commenting on the history the game covers: the Pacific campaigns of World War II.
A review in Softbank Games remarks: "This game is set in the Pacific, where deadly combat between the Japanese Imperial Army and the American Army unfolds." The reviewer describes stages like the landing on Guadalcanal as "extremely intense." There is no indication that the reviewer finds anything unusual about playing as a U.S. soldier trying to defeat the WWII-era Japanese army.
Conversations this reporter had with gamers themselves indicate emotions run a bit warmer than the mainstream press suggests. Although some gamers may write it off as "just a game," many are uncomfortable with the premise of Rising Sun. As one gamer put it, "You know, even though it's just a game, those are our fathers and relatives we're killing. There's something about it that I just don't like." Another wondered how a game like this would be received in other countries, saying, "...this is a game in which you play as a foreign soldier and try to kill troops from your own country. I bet that you couldn't even sell a game like this overseas. I have a feeling that Japanese are the only people who would brush this off because 'it's only a game.' I don't know if that's good or bad..."