U.S. Dept. of Defense

Navy SEALs in trouble for consulting on Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Navy SEALs are supposed to work in secret, but several of them are getting lots of unwanted attention for their work on Medal of Honor: Warfighter, a first-person shooter from Electronic Arts.

Seven Navy SEALs have already been reprimanded for revealing classified information during their work on the game, and four more are under investigation, according to the Associated Press and CBS News. The punishments include letters of reprimand--effectively ruining any chance of promotion--and forfeited pay for two months.

Although it's unclear exactly what classified information the SEALs disclosed, or how much of it went into the game, an unnamed military official told the AP that the participants showed EA's game designers some combat equipment that was unique to their unit. In any case, the SEALs didn't seek permission to participate.

A follow-up story from CBS News claims that Matt Bissonnette, a SEAL who participated in the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden, and who wrote about it under the pseudonym Mark Owen, was responsible for bringing 11 SEALs into a deal with EA to work on the game. As with Owen's book, there was reportedly no sign-off from higher-ups.

The negative publicity for the Navy could be EA's gain, as it draws attention to Medal of Honor's efforts at authenticity. The story in Medal of Honor: Warfighter is inspired by real-world events—though not based on any particular historical event--and the developers spoke with more than two-dozen special operations consultants to create the game's elite soldiers. EA also partnered with military equipment brands from around the world to put their gear in the game.

Be warned, though, that despite those efforts, the game itself is nothing special. The review aggregation Website Metacritic lists a score of 52 out of 100, based on 36 reviews. IGN's Mitch Dyer wrote that the Medal of Honor: Warfighter “feels old, disrespects the player, and misses the mark in campaign and online.”

Perhaps the SEALs should have risked their careers to consult on Activision's Call of Duty series instead.

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