A screen grab from Modern Warfare 2's terrorist attack at an airport
Well, this one hit home and it wasn’t quite comfortable. Leaked in-game video footage of the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is bound to rake up a controversy.
The poor quality video has already been yanked from YouTube, Vimeo and other video-sharing sites by publisher Activision, due to copyright violations. However, Gamespot wrote a detailed report on the video, which depicts the player stepping out of an elevator with four terrorists, who go on to open fire into the crowd. The player joins in, and is seen shooting wounded people as they crawl for freedom.
Gamespot says: “The game will depict the massacre, reminiscent of last year's mass killings in Mumbai, which left nearly 200 people dead. In a move sure to ignite controversy, the footage indicates the game will cast players as one of the killers, having them shoot civilians en masse from a first-person view.”
The pre-mission briefing (which is in French) suggests that the player is an undercover agent, infiltrating the terrorist organisation of a man called Makarov, writes Eurogamer.
"Yesterday you were a solider on the front, but today the front is a thing of the past. Uniforms are too. War is everywhere, and there will be victims," says the voiceover.
The spokesperson for Activision UK offered an explanation: "The scene establishes the depth of evil and the cold-bloodedness of a rogue Russian villain and his unit. By establishing that evil, it adds to the urgency of the player's mission to stop them."
The spokesperson also said that players will have the option of skipping over the scene, and will be warned that the upcoming segment is disturbing.
The game will also undoubtedly come with an adults-only rating.
However, Activision and developers Infinity Ward had to know the amount of publicity and controversy this scene would rake up, and that the media would pounce on it. Is this a case of ‘no publicity is bad publicity’?
Having the player slaughter civilians is nothing new to the world of video games. But doing it as a terrorist act that draws a close resemblance with a recent real-life event? That’s just asking for trouble…