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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Teaser Sparks Controversy over Hyper-Realism

Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:45 PM
Ryan Smith
Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:45 PM

By CCN.com: May 30th. Activision has just released the much-anticipated trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to their legion of fans. In what’s being hailed as a reboot of the original franchise, the video game publisher appears to be directing their upcoming release back in the direction of the games’ dark past.

The trailer reveals in-game footage of hyper-realistic scenarios that the hardcore gamers of today demand. Activision is pulling no punches with this release as it weaves sensitive political themes into its plot.

Harking Back to the Days of ‘No Russian’

Fans of the franchise will no doubt be aware of how it harkens back to the days of Modern Warfare 2. In that installment, players were encouraged to take part in an infamous campaign known as “No Russian” that involved gunning down civilians at a Moscow airport.

Not surprisingly, some countries completely removed the campaign  from the final release. Infinity Ward, the developer behind the franchise, controversially used the opportunity to present a completely different viewpoint. This time from the side of the terrorists. Debates to this day still rage online whether that gamble was a good decision. Fans are already calling the new installment, ‘No Russian: The Game’.

Meanwhile in the Real World

In an interview with Andrew Webster from The Verge , single-player design director Jacob Minkoff went on to talk about the realistic nature of the plot:

If we whitewash it, if we backpedal from it, if we show a world where the heroes fight the terrorists and win, you never see the impact on the average person, the collateral damage, or the morally gray situations that soldiers themselves have to face.

That objective certainly rings true for many fans. They’ve come to expect a more realistic view of war. And conflict in general. Trouble is, that heaps a lot of responsibility and direction into the hands of Minkoff. One design director who hasn’t experienced battle first-hand.

There’s no doubt that Minkoff and his team have done their research. But you cannot substitute second-hand accounts for real-world experience. Webster received a hands-off demo by the developers and noted some of its disturbing scenes:

What followed was a methodical killing of everyone in the building. Well-armed soldiers moved through every room and floor, shooting normal-looking folks in bedrooms and kitchens.

In such a world, you may have to ask yourself, just who, in fact, are the heroes and who are the terrorists? Indeed, a recent tweet from the U.S. Army highlights this predicament.

The self-promoting tweet massively backfired after a sh!tstorm of replies came flooding in, regaling stories of heartache and loss. As Zerohedge  succinctly put it:

…people used the opportunity that the Army had inadvertently given them to describe how they or their loved one had been chewed up and spit out by a war machine that never cared about them.

Will Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Rekindle Activision?

Investors have absolutely hammered Activision’s stock (ATVI) since September of last year. Shares have fallen by almost 50 percent since then. This comes at a time when greedy publishers look to increase their profits through shady practices like loot boxes and microtransactions.

Activision Stock Price
Can Call of Duty: Modern Warfare help support Activision’s lagging share price?

Fans will agree that Modern Warfare 2 was one of the legends of its time. Its successors never quite lived up to its hype though. Clearly, Activision believes that regaining that success will only arrive by ramping up the shock factor for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The game is scheduled to be released for PC, Xbox One and PS4 on October 25th.