Can A Military Shooter Invoke Emotion? Medal Of Honor: Warfighter Is Going To Try

    August 1, 2012

You would think that game developers would realize that people don’t play military shooters for the story. After countless attempts at crafting a shooter with even a smidgen of emotion, there still hasn’t been anything that can even come close to depicting the true horrors of war. The only thing that ever came close was this year’s Spec Ops: The Line, but it was promptly ignored and put away. EA is going to try for the emotional pull again later this year.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter, winner of the worst video game name award, received its first real single-player trailer today. It introduces us to Preacher, a soldier that just wants to see his daughter. He’s caught up in a terrorist bombing and then goes on an adrenaline-fueled rampage to get back at those who blew up a train or something. The trailer is full of so many quick-cuts and close-ups that it’s hard to tell what’s going on.

The inherent flaw with shooters trying to convey a sense of emotion is that the story always contradicts the gameplay. We see Preacher claiming that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone and that he’s tired of war. That conviction is immediately made null and void by the next scene featuring what I presume to be Preacher and his squad running through a village gunning down every baddy in sight without even a bit of remorse.

If more games were to be influenced by Spec Ops: The Line, we might start to see more shooters that at least make you feel terrible for killing the bad guys. It turns out that they’re human, just like us. Sure they have different motivations and they have done some terrible things, but you haven’t? It’s that kind of storytelling that needs to happen before EA can start telling us that their next Medal of Honor game is going to be the new standard in military shooter storytelling.