The Medal of Honor series is coming back and, although it may look similar to the titles which have come before, the game promises to be something entirely different. It's been two decades since the original Medal of Honor, published by EA and developed by DreamWorks Interactive, released on the first PlayStation featuring a story created by Steven Spielberg, and although the series spans over fifteen games in a thirteen year period it hasn't been seen since 2012's Medal of Honor: Warfighter, developed by Danger Close Games.
Although later games in the series adopted a more Enemy at the Gates-inspired Call of Duty approach to gameplay, early Medal of Honor titles were all about espionage and subterfuge in addition to the gunfights. The game's story often focused on members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a secret American branch of the military that used silenced pistols and fake documents in order to infiltrate behind enemy lines in World War 2, but later entries would see players running and gunning in the more modern battlefields of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Now under Respawn Entertainment's control, Medal of Honor is finally coming back as a Oculus Rift virtual reality exclusive game. Titled Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, the game promises a return to the series' roots of OSS infiltration while also letting players experience the warfare in a new, tangible way thanks to VR, which the developers say is what they always wanted to do. In a dev diary-style trailer put forth by Oculus, the game shows off levels like open European countrysides, airfields, and Nazi submarine bases that contain interactive elements such as playable piano keys and climbable chains.
According to EA, who announced the game earlier today, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond will be releasing sometime in Summer 2020 and will also include unique multiplayer modes. The company states the game will be leaning into the "franchise's history of education through entertainment," and they are hoping to bring the emotions and events experienced by Second World War veterans to the forefront of the player's mind.
Fans of the early games in the Medal of Honor franchise are surely happy to hear EA has not fully abandoned them in favor of the far more popular Call of Duty titles, but it will be interesting to see just how well the game performs upon release. Buggy, poorly-scripted enemies in Warfighter has left a seven-year bad taste in many players mouths, but if biting the pin off a grenade and throwing it at an enemy is as fun as it looks above then Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond might just be the refresher the series needs.