The new game “Medal of Honor” focuses on the actions of the special operations community.

This elite group of servicemembers gets the call “when results matter in the most critical mission.” In order to ensure accuracy for their presentation, developers at Electronic Arts turned to troops with extensive experience in Afghanistan.

To offer some insight into the process, EA put Stripes in touch with one of the servicemembers who helped with the game. The interview was conducted via e-mail while the servicemember — whose identity remained concealed for security reasons — was deployed to Afghanistan.

What roles did you play in the game’s development?

Consulting for EA on this game has taken place on many different levels. It’s easy to build a badass cyber ninja to sling lead. What isn’t easy is building a character who has those same abilities and bringing out the human side, a side that exists but is mostly ignored or unheard of. It’s probably the most important thing we brought to “MOH” — the human element of these warriors. We’ve shown people what it’s like to make that phone call home to the ones you love most when you know you are going into harm’s way. We peeled away the stereotypes so they could create an image for themselves. Once it was laid out there, they got it and took the ball. They not only ran with it, they took a dead sprint. This is why the characters in this new “MOH” are rich, realistic and will relate to the men who have been there. Some characters were built from inspiration from stories we shared — and will hopefully resonate with the audience.

Furthermore, what the men think, how they react, their weapons, the sounds, the gear — how it sits, weapon employment — for the most part are in a realistic fashion. And most importantly — the banter.

In the early stages, we sat at a round table at EA, the designers had story lines drawn out on these huge whiteboards. One by one these guys got up and gave great presentations showing off what they had been working on. Continuously, they asked us the same question, “what would you say here” and our reply remained the same nearly every time, “nothing.” This led the presenter to give us the same inquisitive look each and every time. After a lunch break, we returned to the round table when they all looked at us (the consultants) and said characters have to “talk.” Our reply to them was “you asked what we would say, and we told you ... ‘nothing.’ ” Having no understanding of our nature and work on an intricate level, we had to enlighten them. Years of training have engrained a second-nature understanding of each other — we know what our guys are going to do. Not articulate. More times than not, there’s not enough time for that. We act. So as you can see, there was a slight disconnect between reality and gaming. Basically, a lot of the verbiage and banter between the guys has purposely been injected for the sake of character building and allowing the gamer to get a look into the psyche of these men. And we helped build that, the storytelling via the dialogue as well as through the game design. It was another opportunity to help build something where we got to introduce the true nature of our guys. In real life, most men are quiet professionals, but we got to use some of them as inspiration. ... Personalities run the gamut in our line of work. We took some of the stronger ones, highlighted their natural characteristics and EA got something to chew on. Sometimes more than they asked for. The process was entertaining to say the least.

What difference did your participation make? For example, what elements are in the game because you were there? What changes were made because you were there?

It was important for us to grab the tiller at times. There was an occasion where the storyline flew too close to home. It’s easy for the game developers to read books on the current conflicts and want to implement these stories. But they were true stories of heroism and triumph over adversity. Stories built on the blood of brothers and loved ones. Our input was, “The only ones who should be telling those stories should be the men who lived it.” Again, EA took this to heart and did a great job creating a fictional story using true landmarks of character (and true lat long coordinates, which blew my mind) where the fight has been taken to the enemy and built with alternatives from inspiration.

How does all of this end up making “Medal of Honor” different from other games about modern warfare?

The “authenticity” that is being touted in the upcoming “MOH” is going to be relevant on many different levels. Mindset of the Special Operator is delved into throughout the game. There are moments of humor as well as extreme moments of seriousness. And the rhythm and dialogue when speaking on comms delivers an authentic feel.

The true authenticity brought to this game is in the storyline. It portrays these men not only as warriors, but as fathers and husbands. There are highs and lows in the game that are the result of decisions made. What is perceived as “right” by the politicians sitting behind the desk and what is “right” by the brothers who are fighting beside them are two different things many times. In our line of work — these are realities, these situations and concurrent decisions are costly. ... EA understood this and used it. In this “MOH,” the human element is exposed, and that is what truly makes this game authentic.

What do you hope gamers will take away from their time playing “Medal of Honor”?

We hope more than anything that the story has a powerful impact. EA has bent over backwards for us. Knowing that we would come in with some reservations, they truly kept their ears open and absorbed as much as they could. We hope that the audience is moved, proud and the military traditions are upheld in the highest respect.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now