EA removes links to real-world gun manufacturers from Medal of Honor Warfighter site

Medal of Honor Warfighter

When EA first began winding up the gears on the Medal of Honor Warfighter PR machine, the company wanted to highlight the game’s realism. That’s nothing new for the first-person shooter genre, and especially not the military-focused subgenre, but EA took it a step further than most publishers had at any point previous. If you were to visit the official site for Medal of Honor Warfighter at the time of the game’s October 23 release you would have noticed that alongside the standard lists of game features and screeenshots, EA had included links to the websites of the real world companies who manufacture the weapons found in the game. Ostensibly the idea was that players would enjoy shooting virtual insurgents with a given weapon so much that they’d be unable to resist the temptation to rush out and buy a .50cal anti-material rifle of their own.

That’s a pretty ballsy marketing scheme, no matter how you look at it, but in the wake of the tragedy that befall Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, it becomes undeniably macabre. While EA didn’t immediately realize how this marketing effort would look in that light, the Internet masses (specifically the fine people over at The Gameological Society) called the company out, and EA was quick to claim that it had effectively forgotten about the links — no surprise given the financial and critical failure of Warfighter — but then removed them post-haste. Now a visit to the Warfighter site will only include overt advertising links to Zero Dark Thirty, a film based on the events of the SEAL raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound that resulted in the death of the terrorist leader. An in-game map pack based on the film may be a baffling promotional tie-in, but it’s certainly less chilling than efforts to boost sales of military weaponry via a game that is arguably more popular among teenagers than it is discerning adults.

Despite EA’s efforts to strike its ill-advised marketing efforts from historical record, the Internet never forgets and those who look hard enough will still find remnants of the campaign. As the New York Times points out, part of this effort included EA filming a promotional video with arms designer/manufacturer Magpul which is still readily available on YouTube. The video, which clocks in at just a bit over three minutes, is mostly a behind-the-scenes look at a promotional photoshoot for Medal of Honor Warfighter, but it’s quite apparent from the lingering shots focused on assault rifles and their accessories that the footage (and resulting promotional photos) could quite accurately be described as “gun porn.”

In reaction to all of this the Times published an article this morning highlighting the until-recently growing trend of games being cross promoted alongside the real-world incarnations of the weapons they feature. The piece cites games like Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 as well as EA’s Battlefield 3 as two examples, before stating that neither publisher received any monetary compensation from weapons manufacturers for including their guns within these games. Instead, it seems, the gun manufacturers are perfectly happy to license their guns’ likenesses to gaming companies purely for the exposure it provides. The article is quite illuminating, and a great read for anyone intrigued by how these efforts might change in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting — or, more worryingly, why these efforts might not change at all in the long run. As the gaming publishers point out, these companies view such efforts as no different than their titles which use other real-world people and items, such as the cars found in EA’s Need for Speed titles, or the NFL players seen in EA’s ubiquitous Madden football franchise. Only time will tell if the recent tragedy might inspire true change in EA’s advertising plans.


Skateboarding legend says ‘Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam’ will appeal to his fans

Tony Hawk's Skate Jam is now available for free on iOS and Android devices, and Digital Trends had the chance to talk to the legendary skater about its development and how it captures the magic of his best games.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Ice meets fire in HBO's latest 'Game of Thrones' season 8 teaser

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

Cops called to handle ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ noise end up playing the game

A group of friends were playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch when cops arrived to respond to noise complaints from neighbors. In an unexpected twist, the officers ended up playing the game, too.

The third DLC for ‘Spider-Man’ swings onto PlayStation 4 next week

The third part of Spider-Man's episodic DLC, Silver Lining, releases on December 21. The episode focuses on Silver Sable and Hammerhead, and it includes three new suits for Peter Parker.

Spawn creator suggests the antihero could appear in ‘Mortal Kombat 11’

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane hinted that the comic book antihero could join the cast of Mortal Kombat 11 during a Reddit AMA. Spawn previously appeared in SoulCalibur II on the original Xbox.

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.

Grabbing a Switch for the holidays? Here's what you need to know to play online

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.

Check out the best deals from GameStop’s Game Days Sale

GameStop has hundreds of games available for discounted prices between now and December 25 as part of its Game Days Sale. We checked out the deals and have rounded up all of the best Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One deals here.

Trash at 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Use this guide to train up and get good

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the biggest game in the entire series, and it can be overwhelming for newcomers not used to the universe-colliding fighting game. Here's what you need to know when you're starting.