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Medal of Honor developers to celebrate Tuesday game debut with straight-edge razors

Greg Goodrich Medal of HonorMost developers celebrate the debut of their video game by drinking champagne, slapping high-fives and plotting how they'll spend their cash bonuses. But some on the team that created Electronic Arts' Medal of Honor, which debuts Tuesday, will mark the occassion by shaving.

For months, half a dozen of the game's senior developers have been sporting beards. And not just manicured goatees or prim jazz patches but full-on, Grizzly Adams beards. The game's cover shows a soldier in profile, his prodigious beard billowing between his nose and chest.

We asked the game's executive producer, Greg Goodrich, what the obsession was all about. Goodrich, who stopped shaving in March, said the developers were paying homage to a particular type of U.S. soldier featured in the game. Called Tier 1 troops, the soldiers are elite tactical operators who dive into hot zones and fix problems. The ones who landed in Afghanistan in 2001 grew beards to blend in with the country's culture, which regarded beards as symbols of manly, um, potential.

The developers, who consulted with some of these soldiers in making their game, started a "beard-a-thon" to raise money for the Navy Seal Warrior Fund, which assists widows and orphans of Navy Seal soldiers who died in training or combat. "We're paid for every week we don't shave our beards," Goodrich said. "Some of us come in to work, and we'll start talking about what shampoo we're using, whether or not to blow dry and who has the best grooming standards."

Goodrich estimates that the group will have raised "several thousand dollars" by Tuesday, when the beards come off. That won't include several thousand dollars that an undisclosed company offered him to put their logo in his beard, which he turned down.

There have been other nutty suggestions, including an idea to give his beard its own Facebook page. "I didn't do it because then I would have had to give it a name," he explained.

Not everyone on the team stuck with it. "They were single," Goodrich said. Apparently, women in Los Angeles and Sweden, where the game's developers live, don't hold beards in the same way high regard as Afghanis.

Not that Goodrich's wife is appreciating his facial hair, however manly. "I have a feeling that at 12:01 a.m. on October 12, my wife will be standing over me in bed with a straight razor," Goodrich said.

— Alex Pham 

Photo: Greg Goodrich, executive producer of the Medal of Honor video game, which hits retail Oct. 12. Credit: Greg Goodrich.

 
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