By Jared Newman | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm
The following story has a spoiler on the upcoming first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It’s also a bit of a rant. But even if you avert your eyes now, the game itself will ruin the surprise for you anyway. I’ll explain:
Yesterday, some footage of Modern Warfare 2’s opening scene leaked onto the Internet. You can watch it at GameDat by clicking the video that says “modern warfare 2 leaked gameplay w/sound,” but I’ll tell you now that it sees the player playing as the enemy, experiencing their evil by gunning down scores of innocent civilians at an airport. The nature of the scene is a conversation for another day, maybe once the game’s out and I’ve had a chance to experience it. Briefly, I’ll say that I enjoy seeing video games push the envelope by making people uncomfortable.
What’s really grinding my gears today is how publisher Activision and developer Infinity Ward will handle this sensitive material in the game. Activision says players will get a warning message before the segments occur, along with the ability to opt out and skip ahead.
Who exactly is Activision trying to shelter here? Kids? If they’re playing the game unsupervised — which they shouldn’t be, per the game’s “Mature” rating — I don’t see why they’d be compelled to skip the scene. Extraordinarily squeamish adults? Oh please.
I’m reminded of the “viewer discretion is advised” messages you get before a TV show with explicit material airs, except those warnings occur at the outset of a show, so people know to change channels or make the kids go upstairs. Activision and Infinity Ward, to my knowledge, aren’t putting a warning on the box (aside from the aforementioned “Mature” rating that would’ve been there anyway). Instead, they’re essentially tapping you on the shoulder as you play and yelling, “Watch out! This scene’s going to stir your emotions!”
If you don’t think that’s silly and self-defeating, ask yourself if you’d want that to happen to you during a movie.