It sounds like the perfect public relations ploy: “Buy this game! Top secret military info revealed! Most realistic first-person shooter ever!”
According to CBS News, a group of seven Navy SEALS — elite special forces trained to operate by sea, air or on land — has been disciplined for passing along classified information to video game maker Electronic Arts, information that may have been used in EA’s just-launched modern-day military shooter, Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
There’s even a SEAL Team Six angle (the group of SEALs that took out Osama bin Laden). CBS reports that one of the seven participated in Operation Neptune Spear, the U.S. special forces mission that culminated in the death of bin Laden on May 2, 2011.
The SEALs allegedly passed the classified information to EA while working as paid consultants earlier this year. What did they reveal? No one knows, but clearly nothing worth losing their jobs over — all seven remain on active duty, says CBS.
That said, the punishment could be career-stunting: Each of the seven received a letter of reprimand and had their pay docked for two months.
“We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as sailors in the United States Navy,” said deputy commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli, in a statement (via Associated Press), adding that the punishments “send a clear message throughout our force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability.”
It’s hard to say whether the news helps or hinders EA’s game at this point. Medal of Honor: Warfighter has received “mixed or average” reviews on Metacritic from critics and users alike, a pretty lackluster reaction compared to last year’s more warmly received Medal of Honor series reboot.
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