Controversy surrounding the Call of Duty franchises is nothing new. The second entry in the Modern Warfare series received a ton of negative media attention due to its “No Russian” mission, where players were told to run through an airport shooting up innocent men, women and children. Sure, in the context of the game you were attempting to infiltrate a terrorist organization and needed to prove your dedication to the cause, but the brutal scenario was viewed by the media and politicians as nothing more than another strong bulletpoint in the never-ending “Games are the devil” debate.
That’s why I groaned quite loudly when my co-worker, Joey Davidson, passed along to me a clip from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 this morning. It seems as though the follow-up to Modern Warfare 2 will also feature its fair share of controversial content, although unlike Modern Warfare 2, players won’t be in direct control of killing innocents.
As of the time of this posting, Activision has hastily sent around cease and desist letters to YouTube users who've uploaded the video. If you try hard enough you can still find it floating around the ether of the Internet. But if you're not able to find it, I'll give you a brief rundown right now…
In the clip we're shown a family on their third day of vacation in London. The father is recording his wife and daughter with a handycam as they make their way to Big Ben. Then a truck quickly pulls up to the sidewalk, men jump out and the truck explodes, killing the wife and daughter who were unfortunately standing right next to it.
Talk about a gut-punch of a sequence. But it clearly is included in the game to establish that the terrorists are most definitely the bad guys and worth shooting in the face. But will the media latch onto this clip and use it as more ammo in their fight against games for ruining the youth of the world? Oh, most definitely. Although movies, books and TV have been using this plot device for ages, somehow it’s different for games. Yea… we don’t understand it either.
So, what’s your take on the scene? Is it effective at getting you motivated to fight terrorism, or do you think its shock value far outweighs its usefulness as a plot device? Sound off with your opinions below!