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EA removes Taliban from Medal of Honor

Electronic Arts is to the remove the ability to play as a member of the Taliban from upcoming shooter Medal of Honor. Or at least, they won't be calling them the Taliban.

The game, which is set amid the war in Afghanistan, had attracted considerable criticism in some places for including a multiplayer option that let users assume the role of Taliban insurgents, taking on coalition forces.

In August, UK defence secretary Liam Fox called the game "very un-British" and called on retailers to banish the title from their shelves.

EA today announced it was bowing to the criticism. Right-thinking people across the UK can rest easy in the beds, knowing that the country won't be awash with would-be Talibs knocking seven bells out of Uncle Sam on their computers.

Well, kind of.

Call us cynical, but EA's seemingly gracious volte-face is perhaps not quite what the game's critics had in mind. All the game's developers have actually done is to rename the allies' enemy from 'Taliban' to 'Opposing Force'. Same characters, same scenarios, still blowing up US troops with roadside bombs. But no-one's mentioning the dreaded T-word.

Announcing the 'U-turn' today, executive producer Greg Goodrich said: "While this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay, we are making this change for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice - this franchise will never wilfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service."

"This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about. said Goodrich.

And lest we forget, respect and dignity haven't always been top of the agenda for coalition forces in Afghanistan - who, as WikiLeaks revealed earlier in the year with the release of a shocking cockpit video, have been playing their own real-life game of shoot-'em-up with live ammunition.

We'd have thought that might be something to make more of a fuss about.

Medal of Honor is sensitively set for release on 4th October, almost nine years to the day since US troops invaded Afghanistan.