news\ May 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

EA cuts ties with gun licensing partners

Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Shooting is a mechanic that's been on everybody's mind since the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Many developers are trying to escape the lazy design that guns bring to gameplay by searching for more creative means of interaction.

Now one of the biggest publishers of first-person shooters is joining their efforts — not by cutting out guns but by changing how it presents them. Medal of Honor and Battlefield publisher Electronic Arts has severed its licensing ties to gun manufacturers, according to Reuters.

"The action games we will release this year will not include licensed images of weapons," said EA spokesman Jeff Brown. The publisher pulled the Medal of Honor series out of rotation early this year due to the disappointing performance of Medal of Honor: Warfighter, but Battlefield 4 is still on for a fall release.

Basically, when a company licenses a gun to use in its video game, it's paying the manufacturer — and players are equally supporting that industry by buying the game, which also essentially provides free marketing.

EA showed signs of change back in December, when it removed links to real-life gun products from its Warfighter website following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the pressure of gun violence placed on video games and the NRA in response.

This new policy is a big step, but EA says it will also find ways to keep branded guns it its games — license-free.

"We're telling a story and we have a point of view," said EA's president of labels, Frank Gibeau. "A book doesn't pay for saying the word 'Colt,' for example."

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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