By Joseph Leray
The long national nightmare of “Medal of Honor” is finally over, or at least on reprieve for the time being: after bad marketing, dismal reviews, and a potential leak of classified information, Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore finally put the horse out to pasture.
In a conference call last month (caught by Polygon), Moore called the game “a miss,” explaining that “this one is behind us now. We are taking Medal of Honor out of the rotation.”
EA’s chief creative director Rich Hilleman has since come out to explain the series’ breakdown in a refreshingly frank interview. “It’s an execution problem. We don’t think Medal of Honor’s performance speaks to any particular bias in that space against modern settings or World War II or any of that,” he explains. “It’s much more that we had some things we should’ve done better.”
A little human humility from a company like EA is nice to see -- in the best case scenario, “Medal of Honor”’s failures can engender some lessons for future development, particularly given the fact that both Moore and Hilleman have been explicit about EA’s renewed focus on their “Battlefield” series.
Hilleman continued, though: “I think a key part of this is having the right amount of high-quality production talent,” he noted. “And we didn’t have the quality of leadership we needed to make [Medal of Honor] great. We just have to get the leadership aligned.”
I may not be fluent in the language of damage control -- the idea of leadership alignment kind of makes my head spin -- but it sounds to me like Danger Close games, who developed 2010’s “Medal of Honor” reboot and 2012’s “Warfighter,” are getting thrown under the bus here. I wonder if Greg Goodrich (“Warfighter” producer) likes hearing that his “production talent” wasn’t “high-quality” enough to make a good game.
In any case, Hilleman also dispelled the idea that “Medal of Honor” was shelved for good -- it’s just a matter of taking a break: “To my mind, there’s always somebody at EA who loves a property. That property will come back when it’s time is right and there’s someone to carry it.”
Presumably, that “someone” carrying the franchise might not be Danger Close unless they can get their leadership aligned properly.