With Sequel Confirmed, What Does The Next Medal Of Honor Need To Do To Distinguish Itself?

Danger Close, the developers of last year’s Medal of Honor reboot, has confirmed that it’s working on a sequel. In the words of Opie, “Good luck, bro.”

The game’s producer, Greg Goodrich, confirmed the development on the Medal of Honor blog, and promised that the team has taken the game’s criticism to heart:

Since our launch last October, we’ve studied, listened and absorbed much of your feedback and are very excited to be marching forward on the next title. We can’t wait to tell you more about it, so check back often to the website and the fan page on Facebook.

What should Danger Close do for the next game?

The multi-player wasn’t too bad, but that’s primarily because it was essentially a “streamlined” Battlefield. But Battlefield 3 will be released later this year: why play a “streamlined” game when the real deal is readily available? It’s tricky: where do you find the balance between sophomoric nonsense (Modern Warfare 2) and sophisticated elegance (Battlefield 3)? More bluntly: why would this even need to exist? A glut of multi-player military shooters has cluttered the landscape, and it’s harder and harder to tell these things apart.

The campaign mode? For my taste it was entirely too linear, but that’s probably a symptom of it being a console shooter more than anything else. I’m not saying the game needs to be Stalker, or even Crysis (at least the first part of the game before you discover the “other”), but at parts it felt like I was playing Time Crisis or House of the Dead: on rails the whole time, always pushing forward, with the left-click button essentially being the “win” button. For all the talk of it being a visceral experience, I felt decidedly let down. The very first Medal of Honor game, first released for the PlayStation in 1999, felt more impactful.

Another problem with Medal of Honor: people tend to be put off by “real” war. How well have any of the movies based on the Iraq War have done? One of them, The Hurt Locker, even won an Oscar, and more people probably have probably seen a random episode of iCarly than have seen that. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare takes place in a fictional country with a caricatured “bad guy” that you can tell the audience to hate without having to get too political. And even if Danger Close goes out of its way to only tell the story of the solider on the ground (as opposed to the various machinations that put him on the ground in the first place), there’s still a feeling of, “Man, this is actually happening right now, and here I am playing it on my couch. Hmm.” In the Call of Duty games you’re very clearly playing a silly video game that doesn’t dare try to be “heavy” or “weighty.”

But more than anything else, the fact that every other publisher now has its Call of Duty killer necessarily means that each game seems a little less special, a little less unique.

How many more totally awesome scripted sequences can you play on your Xbox 360 before saying, “I could have sworn I played this same thing last year”?