Not only does EA publish Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall series, and DICE's Battlefield franchise, but it has also been sitting on the iconic Medal of Honor franchise. While Medal of Honor did receive a VR title through Respawn Entertainment, the last mainline title was released all the way back in 2012. Since Battlefield 2042 proved to be less than stellar for fans of the franchise, EA should fill the void with Medal of Honor.
When Battlefield 2042 was announced, fans of the franchise were intrigued with what DICE was planning. After two titles set in the past, one being in World War One and the other in World War Two, the franchise was once again returning to the more modern-day settings of Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4. It promised to bring players back to large-scale destructible maps through exciting multiplayer matches. This time, the battles would include natural disasters like tornadoes and were set in the near-future of 2042.
Before release, trouble had begun brewing with the game. For starters, Battlefield 2042 would not include a single-player campaign unlike previous titles. The game would instead be solely multiplayer focused with any possible story being told through the multiplayer environment. Anyone interested in the story could also head over to the Battlefield 2042 website and read up on the lore, or they could head over to the Battlefield YouTube and watch a short film called "Exodus."
The loss of single-player was not a huge loss for some players, as they came for the multiplayer shenanigans. Battlefield 2042 was the first Battlefield to offer cross-platform play and included the iconic modes of conquest and breakthrough. However, instead of allowing players to select a class to play as, they had to select from ten different specialists with their own abilities. These specialists turned Battlefield 2042 into a hero-shooter-like title instead of a Battlefield game, and that alone angered many fans.
Upon release, Battlefield 2042 was met with mixed reviews from critics and panned by the playerbase. Many disliked the specialist system and felt like the maps were less than stellar. On top of that, the game was missing many staples of the Battlefield genre, including a scoreboard, and had extensive bugs upon release that made the game virtually unplayable. Instead of being a triumphant return for the franchise, it quickly received overwhelmingly negative reviews on Steam. As of February 2022, the player base had dropped well below Battlefield 5.
The Medal of Honor series began all the way back in 1999, and was developed by DreamWorks Interactive. The first game in the series put players in control of a fictional soldier named Lieutenant Jimmy Patterson, who was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services from the United States intelligence agency during World War Two. The story followed Jimmy Patterson as he completed missions for the OSS; the story concept being an idea from Steven Spielberg.
The first game in the series was met with high praise by many game critics, and a sequel was quickly ordered called Medal of Honor: Underground. The series would spawn multiple sequels after that, and the first 12 installments all took place during World War 2. It placed more of an emphasis on the campaign than it did the multiplayer, and the majority of entries improved upon each other. After Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 released in 2007, the series did not see another entry until 2010.
The series made a return in 2010 with Medal of Honor. It was the 13th title in the series and was the first one set in the modern era. Dice was recruited to help with the multiplayer component and the game was the first in the series to receive a mature rating. It was met with strong reviews and a sequel came out two years later titled Medal of Honor: Warfighter.
Unlike the 2010 entry in the series, Medal of Honor: Warfighter was met with mixed reviews. The game picked up right where Medal of Honor left off and was praised for its visuals. However, Warfighter received criticism for its poor AI and confusing storyline. EA called the game a critical and commercial failure, and the series was once again put on hold with EA’s resources being directed towards Battlefield instead.
The most recent entry in the series was called Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, and was a huge departure from the series formula. Respawn Entertainment took the reins and crafted a VR title set during World War Two. It received mixed reviews, but was one of the best-selling games on Steam throughout December 2020. It felt closer to the original titles than Medal of Honor: Warfighter did, but it did not reach the same heights as the original titles did.
With Battlefield 2042 failing to retain an audience and receiving negative reviews, it would be a perfect time for EA to revive the beloved Medal of Honor. The series was once a staple of the first-person shooter genre alongside Call of Duty and Battlefield, but has mostly faded into obscurity over the last couple generations. If the response of Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is anything to go by, there is still an audience out there who want a Medal of Honor title.
Instead of trying to reinvent the genre or the franchise, the next Medal of Honor should return to the series roots. It should take the series back to World War 2 like the VR title did and provide franchise fans a well-constructed story. Respawn has shown that it can create compelling first-person shooter stories with Titanfall 2, and it could replicate that success with a standard Medal of Honor game. Tie on a fun-filled, class-based multiplayer mode, and it could be the perfect return to form for the franchise.
Medal of Honor was once one of the biggest shooter franchises on the market with 15 different entries. Now that Battlefield 2042 has failed to enthrall genre fans, it is a great time for Medal of Honor to make a comeback. The franchise deserves its time in the spotlight again, and EA should give it that.