Electronic Arts is launching its Zero Dark Thirty map pack today on Origin.com for its Medal of Honor Warfighter modern combat game. The release of the game’s map pack is timed to coincide with the movie debut of Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicles the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. The film opens for screenings on Dec. 19 and will be in theaters everywhere on Jan. 11.
Before you get too excited, the map packs don’t include a rendering of Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Rather, they depict scenes where elite soldiers known s Tier 1 operators clash with terrorists in a couple of new hot spots around the world.
The map packs allow players to walk in the shoes of special operations soldiers who hunted for Bin Laden. The new multiplayer levels include Chitral and Darra, with 10 map and mode combinations. There are also six new weapon configurations and 14 new weapon camouflage decorations.
Darra (pictured at top and right) is set in Pakistan in a gun market that is considered one of the largest black markets for weapons in the world, home to dozens of back alley shops. The combat takes place in multiple-level buildings. If you rack up enough kills in the infantry combat, you can call in support from a helicopter gunship or direct an artillery strike. Various modes include one that requires you to find a bomb and defuse it while the enemy team tries to stop you.
Chitral is set in a Pakistani compound that was allegedly one of Bin Laden’s hiding spots. It has a wrecked helicopter and allows you to roam through a bunch of hills. It features a lot of close combat among buildings clustered around a central square. You can call in an 81 millimeter mortar fire mission on a specific spot. If you take a perch above the square, you can dominate the action during the dusk/early evening battle.
EA has a new trailer that makes the combat seem exciting and important. It isn’t clear how well these map packs will sell. Medal of Honor: Warfighter received bad reviews (with an average score of 53 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic). By contrast, its chief competition, Call of Black Ops II, got a an average score of 83.
The association with the film could raise the awareness for the game. Zero Dark Thirty is the military term for 12:30 am, and the film was directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker. But the game has already been associated with considerable controversy: Some former Navy SEALs were accused of discussing secret information with game developers and were reprimanded as a result.
The map pack will be published for $9.99 (or 800 Microsoft points) on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. It will be available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network on Dec. 18. EA plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to its Project Honor campaign, for families of fallen special operations soldiers. The map pack is available at no cost to those with Limited or Deluxe editions of Medal of Honor Warfighter.