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Medal Of Honor: Warfighter Was A Massive Flop For EA

Some younger gamers may not remember, but true "Call of Duty" fans know there was a time when the "Medal of Honor" series dominated the military shooter genre. Beginning in 2003, "Call of Duty" and "Medal of Honor" competed against each other across numerous entries, and "Call of Duty" ultimately came out on top. Arguably, the demise of "Medal of Honor" was mainly due to the release of "Warfighter" in 2012. This title proved to be a flop for EA and led to it putting the series on the shelf for a time (per GameSpot).


At the time, it was somewhat surprising that "Warfighter" did so poorly. The previous title, simply titled "Medal of Honor," was released in 2010 to solid reviews and sold well upon launch (per GameSpy). This entry followed the lead of "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" by moving the series from World War II to the present day. For "Warfighter," EA sought to build on this success and emphasize realism and modern military action.

Real life stories and real life scandals

"Medal of Honor: Warfighter," EA was advertised as being "based on actual events" with a story and gameplay inspired by the experiences of U.S. special forces fighting in Afghanistan. Developer Danger Close Games hired Navy SEALS and other special forces veterans as consultants and specifically highlighted their contributions in its promotion of the game (per Polygon). However, these attempts to capture the true nature of modern combat created controversy and real-world consequences for the consultants.


As it turned out, "Warfighter" may have been too accurate in its presentation of special forces weapons and tactics. Several SEALS who worked as consultants on the game were later reprimanded and punished by the Navy for revealing classified information (per Game Rant). While it was never revealed just what shared information was secret, the events certainly harmed the careers of the soldiers involved and left a shadow of controversy hanging over the game.

Realistic but not fun

The story of "Medal of Honor: Warfighter" may have been realistic, but it certainly wasn't told in an entertaining way. Critics found the game mediocre at best, with many declaring it outright bad. IGN considered the graphics the only redeeming quality of an otherwise unpleasant game. It argued the title was boring and muddled its message of realism and respect for actual warfare with its over-the-top violence. Eurogamer was only slightly less harsh, classifying both the campaign and multiplayer aspects as serviceable at best and far below the standards of the competition. Fans weren't impressed either, and "Warfighter" failed to meet sales expectations upon release (per GamesIndustry).


With such a poor reception and its main competitor, "Call of Duty," performing much better, it's no surprise that "Warfighter" was a flop, and the series was put on hiatus. While EA did take a step towards reviving the franchise in 2020 with the release of "Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond" for the Oculus, this game also received negative reviews from critics. Since then, there's no indication that EA is interested in returning to the series, focusing instead on "Battlefield."

Today, "Warfighter" stands as a sad chapter in the story of a successful franchise's decline. Unfortunately, it's also a reminder that authenticity and realism don't always mean fun and exciting.