The hottest PC game on the planet right now is Battlefield 2, a first-person shooter developed by Digital Illusions and published by Electronic Arts. The game, a sequel to best-sellers Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield Vietnam, is a near-future look at combat involving U.S. forces in two theaters.
Half of the game's twelve maps feature combat between the United States and China, while the rest have American forces battling it out with a fictitious group known as the "Middle East Coalition," or MEC.
It is interesting, however, to note that the appearance of the MEC combatants has evolved in recent months from street fighters like those seen on the news, to a more obvious military force. It's unclear what caused the change, but with U.S. troop losses in Iraq mounting, it may have been problematic for EA to have BF2's American forces engage troops that look like insurgents.
Comments made by BF2 Producer Sean Decker during an interview with GameSpot earlier this year, make it clear that the issue was on the mind of the design team.
"The Middle Eastern Coalition," Decker explained, "was formed out of a number of current-day Arab states that felt their futures were brighter together rather than apart...The MEC is anything but a terrorist state. It's well armed...It is also highly trained and motivated...We will not portray terror in any way. All sides in this game are portrayed as professional armies."
Take a look at the MEC fighters depicted in a set of screen shots posted on the official BF2 website last December (upper left), then check out the MEC soldier as depicted in the retail version of the game (center left). Only one resembles the Iraqi insurgent at lower left.
Political correctness at work?