It’s that time of year again — like clockwork, as they’ve been doing so for over a decade, we’re seeing the gaming world reel under a new addition to the Call of Duty series. The ever-popular FPS returned with Modern Warfare II last weekend, ushering in an all-new player campaign to pad players out before diving into the upcoming multiplayer extravaganza.
The plot summary of most Call of Duty games aren’t too diverse — the Modern Warfare lineup, for instance, usually puts us in the shoes of elite special forces operatives, usually tasked with morally ambiguous missions that have big stakes for (western) geopolitics. Nothing new there. This time around, though, a certain mission raised eyebrows amongst the videogame’s fanbase — who have described the presented narrative as ‘unbelievable’ and ‘dehumanising’.
One of the game’s seventeen campaign missions takes us into the shoes of Rodolfo Parra — the second-in-command of Mexican special forces top gun, Alejandro Vargas. While stalking through a trailer park, the two characters come across a couple of citizens stressed out by two armed men making their way around their home — with one of them stepping outside to tell off the special forces operators.
While Vargas simply waves the bystanders off, the game gives us a rather problematic way to deal with the situation — pointing an armed gun at an innocent person’s face.
Bringing up the (admittedly curated) realities of war and global conflict isn’t unusual for the series — which even had you play as ruthless terrorists, gunning down hordes of innocent people to complete one of the series’ earlier storylines. This time around though, seeing an armed officer point a gun at someone and yell orders at them rubbed Twitter the wrong way — especially given that the game’s massive American fanbase has a close connection with state brutality.
Some felt that the sequence was being intentionally explicit with its reference — more of a commentary than an insensitive point:
Others were shaken and disturbed, however:
In the meantime, sales racked up for developers Infinity Ward and publishers Activision-Blizzard, who have been embroiled in their own controversies as of late. As the October 28 final release date draws closer, fans with early access have been posting campaign footage online, discussing what many think is the most-challenging story experience in several years.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is available to preorder on consoles and PC, at Rs. 4,999.
Lead Image: Activision-Blizzard