Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Game Launches Amidst Controversy

Dennis Faas's picture

One of the most anticipated games of all time was released early Tuesday morning, and it's brought some controversy with it. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 simulates the modern war on terror, and as part of that simulation has introduced a level where players fill the shoes of a terrorist and slay innocent bystanders.

Lively Fox News has been all over this story, calling the game "controversial" from first word that such a level existed. A few months ago, very early footage from the game made its way onto the Internet, revealing a level whereby players shot innocent victims in a recreation of an airport-based terrorist attack.

Level Evokes "Atrocities of Terrorism"

Makers of the game Activision Blizzard Inc. immediately tried to clarify the reason for the level and to address accusations by certain sensationalist sites that the game was, in fact, a virtual act of terrorism itself. In a statement the game company assured the public that the leaked video was of a level that was not representative of the game's total experience. Activision Blizzard Inc. emphasize that the game is about realism and felt in order to immerse the player such a level would evoke the "atrocities of terrorism". (Source:

To their credit, Activision Blizzard have built in both a warning about the level and the option to skip it altogether. However, they have refused to remove the sequence, arguing that it would seriously detract from the game's atmosphere. "We push the story," said Vince Zampella of Infinity Ward, the game's developer. "We want the player to be emotionally attached. We want them to be emotionally shocked."

Activision Blizzard Establish "Call of Duty Endowment"

Still, both developer Infinity Ward and Activision Blizzard want consumers to buy the Modern Warfare 2 this holiday season. In order to change some of the stigma around the game, Activision Blizzard yesterday announced it has established the Call of Duty Endowment, a fund intended to help veterans find work once they're no longer a part of the armed forces. Activision Blizzard followed up that news by announcing it would donate $1 million towards the fund.

Clearly, Activision Blizzard believe the real controversy should not surround one level in their game, but the way veterans are treated once they return from Iraq or Afghanistan. "The joblessness rate that [veterans] should have should be far less than the national average, not more," said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision. "How do you expect people to actually join the military if when they leave the military they can't integrate back into the free market they're supposed to be protecting?" (Source:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2007. Already reviews suggest the sequel is equally impressive.

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