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Letters from the Front

I grew up with Medal of Honor in the early 2000’s, Medal of Honor introduced me to military shooters and it introduced me to First Person Shooters. WWII was the rage in those days, after the success of Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, alongside the original 1999 Medal of Honor which brought the setting back into the mainstream. Battlefield 1942, Medal of Honor, Wolfenstein, and the new Call of Duty franchise that released in 2003 all were set in The Second World War.

Eventually, things started to change. World War II began to fall out of favor by the late 2000’s and Modern Warfare was now all the rage, thanks to the release of Call of Duty 4 which propelled Call of Duty to the top of the charts. Call of Duty and Battlefield, with the return of the franchise in 2008 with Bad Company, sealed the fate of Medal of Honor and it disappeared. Ultimately, Medal of Honor’s fate was sealed and it failed to keep pace with Battlefield and Call of Duty, especially Battlefield 3, and fell off the map.

However, that was at the beginning of the decade. Now, that we’re about to enter a new decade in 2020 and things are once again changing. The trend has reversed and World War II and historical settings has reemerged as shooter settings. Many of the mainstream franchise have returned to the Second World War and both sadly have failed in this department: Call of Duty WW2 was a game that felt dated, old, and was ultimately a game that failed to do anything new in this setting. Battlefield returned to World War 2 in 2018 with Battlefield V, ultimately it too didn’t do well as the game itself is encountering problems, Battlefield V is a politicized game, one that doesn’t do WW2 justice and one that the fans of the franchise didn’t envision a WW2 game in the Battlefield franchise would be like. Battlefield V has almost destroyed the franchise with its take on World War II and DICE is in the hotseat, so there’s no better time than bringing Medal of Honor back with a great game that doesn’t focus on politics, doesn’t have a political agenda behind it, a historically accurate and respectful piece of entertainment that is set within the confines of World War II. A game that everybody wants.

WHY MEDAL OF HONOR MATTERED

Originally, the child of Steven Spielberg, director of Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg aimed the franchise at a generation who were the great-grandchildren of those that fought in World War II and had a purpose to educate and entertain this generation about the conflict that changed the course of the world. If it wasn’t for Steven Spielberg then I wouldn’t have had much interest in World War II or interest in history. After Spielberg sold the franchise to EA, the franchise saw continued success. In 2002, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault released to the world and it was a gamechanger, a game that can still be felt in today’s modern gaming world.

Allied Assault was a gamechanger. I never experienced a game like that, it advanced videogames at a time when videogames were really considered weird and nerdy, a stereotype that continued from the 1990s, Allied Assault was a mirror image of Saving Private Ryan which added tension to an already great game. 5 months later, another Medal of Honor would release to the world and this one too was a gamechanger on an epic scale that was never before seen, Medal of Honor: Frontline was that game. Frontline took the best parts of Allied Assault and built on them, creating not only an engrossing game but one that would be a landmark in military shooters, Frontline ended up being the best selling game in the entire franchise.

As the genre changed and games like Battlefield and Call of Duty entered the modern day, Medal of Honor stayed with World War II which it did well, Medal of Honor took the playerbase throughout the entire Second World War; from the Pacific to telling the story of an Army Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. Medal of Honor: Airborne would be the last game in the franchise that was about World War II before moving to the present day.

Medal of Honor’s attempt to modernize was met with great controversy, as Medal of Honor 2010 was set in a war that we, as a nation, was still fighting in and still losing troops in. Medal of Honor 2010 was set against the backdrop of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict and was inspired by Operation Anaconda and the Battle of Robert’s Ridge, a battle that was part of the overall Operation Anaconda and was named after Navy SEAL operator Neil C. Roberts who was the first Navy Seal to be killed during the battle. Marred with great backlash from actual military officials who found the game offensive, veterans who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq, news networks, and much more including making the jump to the modern day too late, the franchise was eventually buried by its competitors who had long made the jump before Medal of Honor did.

After Medal of Honor 2010 and Medal of Honor: Warfighter, the sequel to the 2010 game which was even more marred in controversy and wasn’t received well, EA decided to shelve it in 2013 and dissolved Danger Close Games and rename them to DICE Los Angeles, the studio that now helps DICE Stockholm with Battlefield games and expansions.

MEDAL OF HONOR: WWII, RETURNING TO THEIR ROOTS.

Now that two iconic franchises couldn’t do World War II right or give it the proper justice that it needs with today’s graphics and technology, Medal of Honor can make a proper comeback and deliver what many of us who are in love with the setting expect from a game set in WWII. The return to the roots of the franchise could refresh the WWII market and pave the way for the franchise’s return to greatness. EA still publishes Battlefield but Battlefield V harmed the franchise to great lengths, such a great length that if the next game doesn’t hit it out of the ballpark then the franchise could be in peril. Since Battlefield V failed to do WWII justice, Medal of Honor can come in and break ground once again: A new Medal of Honor could construct a historical accurate, respectful, representation of World War II that the next generation would surely need but also construct new formats of multiplayer play that run parallel to the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty; it could also lay down an epic campaign that showcases certain battles of World War II or set in a single battle that follows one specific soldier or Marine in the Pacific Theater or European Theater.

Medal of Honor’s campaigns was very unique as the campaigns within the games never focused on regular infantry until Pacific Assault and Airborne. Majority of the campaigns in the Medal of Honor games placed you in the boots of an OSS agent, most particularly Jimmy Patterson who makes an appearance in a good portion of the games, who was sent out to complete certain objectives for the OSS and focused a lot on undercover missions and stealth missions. The new Medal of Honor could bring that back but in a more adult-oriented, dark, gritty version of those stories that could take us across some of the most famous WW2 battles or a single battle like Normandy or Guadalcanal.

The Medal of Honor games of the early 2000’s were ambitious but very limited. Hardware restrictions, especially on PC, battles were low quality and the jungles of the Pacific were quite empty and lifeless. With Battlefield V focusing on the lesser known battles of the war and focusing on something that does not resemble World War II in the slightest, Medal of Honor could focus on some of the war’s greatest fights. Photogrammetry and ray tracing can help bring Guadalcanal and can help bring places like the Pacific or Europe to life.

Multiplayer can also go back to its roots. Medal of Honor was always known as a singleplayer-game but there was multiplayer. The multiplayer for Allied Assault and its expansions were inspired by Quake but times have changed. Medal of Honor multiplayer could break ground, similar to Modern Warfare’s multiplayer modes in where Medal of Honor could have 100 players or 32v32 or a variety of different playercounts and modes that could bring WW2 to life: A realism mode, a Conquest-style mode, and much more that could bring the conflict to life and pick up the pieces that Battlefield V seemingly dropped in their version of World War II. The MP can build upon whatever Grand Operations was in its initial design, whatever Combined Arms was going to be; making it a complete package for everyone while giving us the option of historically accurate gear like proper American uniforms, proper German uniforms, and much more that Battlefield V doesn’t seemingly want to do for whatever reason. Multiplayer and Campaign need to come together to make Medal of Honor a huge hit once again.

It’s time for Medal of Honor to return and give us the game that many of us wanted for such a long time. Battlefield V failed to give us the WW2 that we wanted for such a long time, Call of Duty returned to the setting and absolutely failed at giving us WW2 as it was just a retread of what we already played through and multiple sappy moments that failed and the game just failed. It’s been a long time, this influential franchise needs to come back and make a great resurgence now that the setting that it did so well in is making a comeback. We need a proper WW2 game done right and Medal of Honor as all the keys to the kingdom, this franchise shouldn’t be forgotten about. It should be given another chance to live.

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