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Just a few days before Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II launches to what’s expected to be a new entertainment record, competitor Electronic Arts’ Medal of Honor Warfighter is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Seven members of the elite SEAL Team Six, which gained global attention leading the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, are in trouble with the U.S. Navy for divulging classified information to developer Danger Close Games for Medal of Honor Warfighter. Each of the seven soldiers received a punitive letter of reprimand and a partial forfeiture of pay for two months. In the military, these actions can impact future promotions.
“Naval Special Warfare (NSW) takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and conducts investigations to determine the facts,” said Rear Adm. Garry Bonelli, the deputy commander of Naval Special Warfare, in a statement. “We likewise take seriously the Non-Disclosure Agreements signed by Sailors and adherence to the articles of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as Sailors in the United States Navy. The non-judicial punishment decisions made today sends a clear message throughout our Force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability.”
During two days of paid consulting, the soldiers allegedly showed EA game designers specially-designed combat equipment unique to their unit.
“There are no plans to recall Medal of Honor Warfighter from store shelves and we have no plans to alter the content contributed by combat veterans in the game” said Peter Nguyen, spokesperson for Medal of Honor Warfighter. “We have no further comments.”
Medal of Honor Warfighter, which shipped Oct. 23, has only sold 300,000 copies in the U.S. and another 200,000 worldwide. The last game, Medal of Honor, sold 2 million copies worldwide in its first two weeks back in 2010.
Medal of Honor Warfighter has a Hollywood tie-in, as well. Gamers will be able to download special multiplayer maps on Dec. 17 that feature real-life locales from Kathryn Bigelow’s movie, Zero Dark Thirty. The Sony Pictures movie tells the story of the SEALs who took down bin Laden. One of those SEALs from the mission was reportedly among the seven reprimanded by the Navy.
One of the key selling points of Medal of Honor Warfighter has been the authenticity of its Tier 1 story lines. Former Special Forces soldiers, several of whom now work at EA, based the game’s fictional missions on real-life events like a raid on a Somali pirate den.
In contrast, Activision has opted for a more Hollywood-style, blockbuster movie story line for its Call of Duty games, which feature over-the-top action. Activision is forecast to sell 20 million copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops II globally by the end of this year.
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