One of the Navy SEALS who consulted on EA's upcoming Medal of Honor: Warfighter may have done so without getting proper military permission, according to the Los Angeles Times. This same person, identified by the newspaper as Matt Bissonnette, is also the author of No Easy Day, the controversial book that details the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Bissonnette wrote No Easy Day under the pen name Mark Owen and came under fire for not getting the proper clearance from the Department of Defense before the book was published. It appears that EA didn't get the same kind of clearance for this year's Medal of Honor game either:
Military personnel are required to receive authorization to work on such projects to prevent classified information on military tactics, strategies and protocols being made public, officials said.
No such requests were made for the "Warfighter" game, according to Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart and Col. Tim Nye, a spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command that oversees the Navy SEALs.
The L.A. Times quotes EA spokesperson Jeff Brown as saying:
"The Department of Defense has never asked to vet the games or the contribution of veterans and active service members."
Later in the piece, Brown confirms that Bissonnette/Owen worked on Warfighter through an intermediary company and says that EA didn't directly pay him for his work on the game. This latest development is the latest in a line of troubles that have trailed the Medal of Honor games.
If you've played today's crop of military shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3, you know that developers and publishers go to great lengths to make their games feel as accurate as possible. The guns look and reload the way they're supposed to and vehicle suspensions bounce and rumble as they would in the field. That's all well and good for gear and weapons, especially since specifications for some of these elements are sometimes publically available.
But engagement tactics are more rarefied information and any unsupervised exposure of them is viewed as potentially dangerous. The reasoning is that, without proper military vetting, the next Medal of Honor game could be giving up crucial secrets as to how American military forces respond to terrorist threats.
The L.A. Times piece ends by recounting Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta's angry condemnation of No Easy Day earlier this month. You have to wonder if that kind of scolding—and its associated legal repercussions—might be headed in EA's direction before too long.
‘Medal of Honor Warfighter' enters dangerous territory [Los Angeles Times]