Infinity Ward, for nearly two decades, have provided us with some of the best first-person shooters. Even though their games are strictly limited to the Call of Duty franchise, they have set industry records, developing the best games in the franchise. It’s been nearly 3 years since they developed a title, their last game being Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare which was released in November, 2016. Infinity Ward has developed all of the three games in the Modern Warfare series of Call of Duty. While their titles, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, received generally positive reviews, the Modern Warfare series has always been a fan favorite. For years, fans have been asking for a sequel to Modern Warfare 3.
Rumors about a potential Call of Duty game set in the Modern Warfare franchise have been in the air since the past few months. Many were sure that it would be a sequel titled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4. However, just before E3 2019, Activision officially revealed a trailer for their upcoming game, titled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, is said to be a “soft reboot” to the Modern Warfare series. Instead of following the ongoing story in the series, it’ll feature a totally new campaign with references and connections to previous games.
But let’s get to the real discussion. We all know that video games are more subject to censorship than any other entertainment product. And the Call of Duty franchise has always been a center of attention for media critics. The franchise has been criticized for it’s depiction of war and glorification of violence. The most notable example would be the “No Russian” mission from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which allowed players to shoot innocent civilians in an airport. It ignited a worldwide controversy and provided a golden opportunity for reporters and politicians to advertise gaming as a form of violence inciter. The game was banned in various places, and heavily censored in some.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Infinity Ward will probably have some more in store for us in a few months. Based on several reports, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will feature certain narrative and gameplay elements, which would carry even more emotional weight than what we’ve seen in the “No Russian” mission.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare features a Threat Assessment score, which rewards players based on their actions and the resulting amount of collateral damage. The score is based on the number of civilians the player kills or wounds. Let us ignore the scoring system and focus on the game’s portrayal of war. Given the series’ history, it wouldn’t be surprising at all that Infinity Ward would add even more realism and depth to it’s campaigns. In fact, players should accept the fact that in a first-person shooter whose story is set during a war, it is obvious that they will come across certain elements which would be mature and horrifying. While it is less likely that the gaming community will criticize the game solely because of it’s portrayal of violence, we must take into consideration the fact that we aren’t the only one judging the game.
Even though the game will be cleared for release by ESRB and PEGI, media outlets and government officials will immediately turn this game into a global controversy. As per a preview by Eurogamer, the game features a hostage rescue mission where enemies would be tightly packed with civilians and it is really easy for players to shoot a civilian, accidentally or otherwise. Another mission lets the player control a child where they have to critically injure and murder an attacking soldier. And these are probably just a couple of examples from what the game will feature. Given the series’ past, we can be sure of the fact that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will definitely be banned or censored in certain countries. It seems like Infinity War is really pushing it’s luck with this game, even knowing the amount of backlash and negative attention they’ll draw.
I've been in love with video games ever since I developed consciousness and that love is what drives me. I enjoy playing games that have good narrative and gameplay, and occasionally join in for co-op sessions with friends. My goal is to become a QA Tester for any AAA game development company and I hope to make it there someday.