Modern Warfare 2 massacre 'not representative of overall experience' - Activision

[UPDATE] Activision breaks silence following controversial leaked Call of Duty footage, emphasizes its plot significance, opt-out checkpoints; game's ESRB summary MIA; new ESRB summary reveals circumstances.

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SPOILER WARNING: The story below contains information that reveals major plot details about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The game's developer, Infinity Ward, is recommending a total media blackout for those who wish to play the game without any prior knowledge of its story.

Yesterday, footage purporting to be of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 began appearing across the Internet. Unlike prior gameplay trailers, it did not cast players as British and US Special Forces fighting terrorists. Instead, it put the gamers behind the iron sights of a terrorist's assault rifle during an airport massacre similar to last year's attacks in Mumbai, India.

Gamers won't have to participate in Modern Warfare 2's massacre.

Within hours, Activision's UK offices confirmed the footage as real. However, reps were quick to emphasize that the sequence was both optional and prefaced by warnings that it would contain images that some might find offensive.

Now, with the Associated Press picking up the story--often the first step in a news item getting widespread mainstream press exposure--Activision's US offices have broken their silence. "The leaked footage was taken from a copy of game that was obtained illegally and is not representative of the overall gameplay experience in Modern Warfare 2," a spokesperson told GameSpot.

"Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 features a deep and gripping storyline in which players face off against a terrorist threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse," the spokesperson continued. "The game includes a plot involving a mission carried out by a Russian villain who wants to trigger a global war. In order to defeat him, the player infiltrates his inner circle. The scene is designed to evoke the atrocities of terrorism."

The spokesperson concluded, "At the beginning of the game, players encounter a mandatory 'checkpoint' in which they are warned that an upcoming segment may contain disturbing elements, and they can choose not to engage in the gameplay that involves this scene."

The scene's carnage will be prefaced with warnings that its imagery may be "disturbing."

Activision reps were quick to emphasize that, in the US and Canada, the game has been rated M for Mature by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. They also pointed out that said rating is "prominently displayed" on all packaging and in all advertising. However, the ESRB Web site currently has no detailed summary of the game other than the basic descriptors for "blood, drug reference, intense violence, [and] language."

Detailed summaries became mandatory for all ESRB-rated games in November 2008 and are included for all new releases, such as Activision's own DJ Hero and Guitar Hero 5. Modern Warfare 2's DS spin-off, the T for Teen rated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized, also has a detailed summary.

[UPDATE] The ESRB's Modern Warfare 2 summary is now live, and it is easy to see why Activision wanted to keep it under wraps for as long as possible. The description describes the exact circumstances of the massacre, and what role the player will be assuming. (WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW.)

The most intense depiction of violence occurs during a "No Russian" mission where players take on the role of an undercover Ranger: Several civilians are gunned down at an airport as players are given a choice to participate in the killings (e.g., players can shoot a wounded civilian that is crawling on the ground), or walk by and observe without opening fire. In either case, civilians scream and emit pools of blood as they are shot to death. Within the multiplayer portion of the game, players can unlock "emblems" to be used on their player name cards. Some of these emblems contain images that reference drugs (e.g., a cannabis leaf; a name card with a depiction of a joint). Dialogue in the game contains profanity in both English (e.g., "s***") and Russian (e.g., "f***" and "motherf***er").

Discussion

759 comments
TheRealUser101
TheRealUser101

Modern Warfare 3 is currently in development by Infinity Ward with assisted development from Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software. All in all, Modern Warfare 3 needs 3 development teams to get the job done; including all the MW3 weapons, perks, etc.

MacenKrace
MacenKrace

Disturbing... not... who cares actually... it's just a game ppl so obliviously it's not real.

Falru
Falru

They didn't even go "that far". And by that I mean there's not any children/infants in the crowd. And it's skippable, and it's rated M, and no achievements are attached to it. What's the problem people? It had to be one of the most gripping parts of the story right at the end of the massacre when *SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS* the guy turns around and shoots you in the face. The soldier gets to die knowing the last thing he ever did was massacre civillians and put the blame on America, failing his mission.

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

can`t these people just have fun and play the game =,=

Lebowski-Dude
Lebowski-Dude

Oh, sorry, what was the problem with this? And not every slasher movie ever made. Never mind, it's all been said before.

Jakesta7
Jakesta7

i kinda think they went too far on this level

Xavi_Elric
Xavi_Elric

I want to remember people about a film call "The passion of Christ"... It probably the same thing, i mean its cruel and shocking but it also is a reality that most people deny, things like this DO happen in real life, infinite ward just had the guts to show it and i think the part that we should be talking about is about learning, this level should be a lesson to everyone about what terrorists really are and how they really behave. None then less playing it is still awfully disturbing.

fluffy_051991
fluffy_051991

PPL!!! THIS IS A HUGE DEAL. but i was shocked (Heavily) at the info ppl said there was. it made not sleep at night. but the day after, EVERYONE ON G4TV.COM, "Manhunt 2" was going to AO. EVERYONE DROPPED THIS "MASSACRE!" but then i played the mission. it was bad (Killing wise) I WAS SHOCKED AS HELL!!!! i felt pretty bad during the mission. But it contains a major part of the story. thank u activision for not giving ANY acheivements or trophies for it. but *SPOILER* at the end of the mission u'll get killed by the guy u suppose to kill at the end of the game.

zevy100
zevy100

how is this a big deal to quite a bit of gamers ........but while there complaining about this 10 min mission .....there sitting on there couching running over people , shooting there heads off , etc. etc. in gta4

Alex_09
Alex_09

My favorite part about this is it's not even that gory at all. If you ask me, World at War went far further with the brutality. There are multiple levels where you can kill Germans that are surrendering to the Russians, and it's far more realistic than MW2's gore.

TehPwnerer46
TehPwnerer46

gaming is just another form of entertainment like movies. Plenty of movies show terrorist attacks and people killing civilians. Its the SAME thing.

TehPwnerer46
TehPwnerer46

its not like you couldn't open fire on civilians in other games right? In gta 4 i used to walk down the streets blowing people heads off and committing mass murder but nobody made a fuss about that!?

NoLifeGamin
NoLifeGamin

i heard of all the news of this level and how it's all controversial and stuff...but when i actually played it. Oh man was i surprised, it felt so horrible, watching all of those civilians die. And i never felt that kind of emotion in any game.....yes even GTA4, which the civilians seemed pretty generic. But this was deep man, it really gives you a sense of what's it really like to be there, but honestly. It is STILL a game, no use fussing over it, just take it for what's it's for and move on, not like this is gonna spark some kind of terrorism where gaming idiots buy LMGs and start going to airports and shooting everyone.

calvinsora
calvinsora

I actually think this is the most interesting part of the game. The fact that it disturbs people just shows how emotionally impactful the narrative is. If you think it is wrong, don't play it. You don't even have to pull the trigger. Simple as that. GTA4 does the same thing. You don't have to play it, you don't have to kill innocent people, that happens more than is considered ethically right. People are overreacting here. We shouldn't stifle an attempt to showcase different PoVs of war. The scene is depicting that you aren't necessarily a hero in war. You're just another guy, doing anything to reach their goal.

Hey_Cage
Hey_Cage

It's supposed to disturb you. It's supposed to point out the horrors of war how far some people are willing to go. Simply don't play it if you don't want to see it, you'll see stories in the same grain on the 11 o'clock news.

partytimekegs
partytimekegs

Can we be a villain in a video game now and not be pestered by people? I'd honestly love to see a game that is nothing but in this perspective because it is so different. Villain's do evil things. They do things that would question your own morals. Why is it people seem to forget that this is a VIDEO GAME. The images are not real. There are games about WW2, Vietnam, and countless other horrid conflicts that involved an enormous loss of life.. and yet people seem to think MW2's "No Russian" scene is disturbing? Do you honestly step back from events in a video game and say, "That is wrong." I never bad mouthed Mr. Mario for eating amanita muscaria mushrooms to save his Princess. I'd rather play a game were you do nothing but destroy civilians and do other questionable things than watch.. oh lets see.. Halloween 2. If you find this disturbing than you really don't know the true meaning of disturbing.

halberdierv2
halberdierv2

If you dont have to do it for trophies/achievements, im not doing it. even if you did, im still not doing it. I saw it played, and, its not pretty.

junggoo
junggoo

Wait a minute, you people ARE over the age of 18 right?

vino_fino
vino_fino

it's probably the best level in MW2; not because you kill civilians but because it's new and fresh in giving a different perspective in shoot em ups. Guys this is a game, don't be all cry babies now! How come no one seems to be bothered by GTA4 and everyone is bothered with this level? Grow up

starburst121
starburst121

At least they gave you a option to play it...

SPARTANR17
SPARTANR17

Am i really the only one who found this level to be fun? maybe im just a murderous person...

penguins227
penguins227

It's not as bad as they say. Seriously. Sure... it's extremely sad and such, but you do the exact same thing to people shooting at you. The only difference is that they have a gun too.

penguins227
penguins227

It's not as bad as they say. Seriously.

MW2alltheway
MW2alltheway

pleeeeeeeease, its not that intense, i've played it like 4 times and its fun!!!! haha go ahead and hit thumbs down, i dont care!

muhammadd
muhammadd

i have to say i was quite disturbed by that level and i am not new to the video game business

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

I brought the game a few hours ago and recently just finished playing "No Russian". I completely avoided the details of this story so I had NO IDEA what I was in for. I was confused by the two part in game warning system and just figured, yeah I'll play it. HOLY CR*P was I shocked! That was probably the most intense and emotionally disturbing thing I've ever seen in a game. Not even MGS4 hits home that hard. I don't think I'll be playing that sequence again. It does make you really hate the game's antagonist though, I've never found myself getting so attached to the idea of hating a fictional charecter. The developers made a huge gamble with this, but it's paid off I guess...

The_Last_Saiyan
The_Last_Saiyan

I love being 20. ^_^ I played through this sequence 30 minutes ago. Jaw-droppingly heavy. Really really heavy. Probably the most intense sense of loss and sadness a game has ever drawn from me. Serious business. People were right to be concerned in the case. It is brutal. But the options to avoid it are made present to you by a two part warning. Accepting it once, then again to be sure. The game has been rated and detailed accurately, and parents that are concerned should stay on top of it. Activision and IW have taken the necessary steps to keep everyone in the know.

Broken_Cerberus
Broken_Cerberus

Look, its just a game. Yeah I'm going to play through it. At least there's a skip function for those who find it offensive. so hopefully any media circus is kept to a dull roar. But i think some war games should put you in the boots of the enemy. war in real life is a nasty business. always has been.

Finalninja447
Finalninja447

Atleast you can skip it. i thionk i'll only do this scene once than never do it again. It''s so disturbing.

DaGamer444
DaGamer444

better not tell my parents about this _> (glance glance)

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

So many ideias could be developed... and they create this?? People are becoming nonsense in defending this..

Super-Saiyan_4
Super-Saiyan_4

@arc170pilot22 you know if you actually read what infinity ward had to say on the matter you would understand why you comment is just completely stupid. First off it does server a purpose...once again if you would read and quit assuming you would have seen that IW said that it is part of the campaign where you play as a CIA agent and you are trying not to blow your cover. It also says that its to let the players know how important it is to stop these terrorist. And secondly you are not forced to kill civilians in the scene you can just walk past them. So instead of assuming how bout you get your head out of your a## and quit trying to make it seem like you actually care what is really happening out there in the real world.

arc170pilot22
arc170pilot22

This is just plain wrong. The simple fact that they think people will enjoy the slaughter of helpless civilians in scenes that server no purpose than slaughtering people seems horrible. I don't care if its real life or not. It's just plain wrong. No challenge, just killing people. This has crossed the line 50 times over. I realize it can be skipped, which I intend to do time and time again, that dosn't change the fact that it is there and Infinity Ward thinks gamers will enjoy the brutality of terrorism to the extreme.

avb1g
avb1g

just hope they don`t find a way to cancel this great (GAME) does anybody remember it`s a (GAME)!!!

Buttonio
Buttonio

MrTissueMan77 ever heard of the IRA?

samissleman17
samissleman17

I think there becomes a point where a games no longer fun and just gruesome. at least in this level you get attacked by the FBI later in the level. you dont just get to walk out. But no, I'm not going to show this to my mom lol

Super-Saiyan_4
Super-Saiyan_4

ya know if you guys cant seperate your real life from a video game then yeh dont bother getting this game. Im tired of people TRYING to find a reason wrong with this game. Its funny how people can get all pissed off at IW about putting that in the game but out there in the real world stuff like that is happening everyday and they dont even blink an eye. If you have a problem with it go trade your xbox 360 in for a wii.

frazzle00
frazzle00

@dabalz7 I did exactly that originally, and you can see such a post on this very page. Unfortunately however someone else did mention something political that to me was too annoying to overlook. I just had to reply even if it is a bit off topic.

dabalz7
dabalz7

Wow you guys, your going into this huge political debate on a video game website. Maybe you should take your argument somewhere else and write a review about your opinion on the information released, "hey i really think this will be a great game!!" or "i don't like this game much" stuff like that. Leave the politics to other forums.

Bradley7777
Bradley7777

You know any normal gamer WILL participate in this massacre. They bought the game they want to expierience every nook and cranny of the story

ferntfactor
ferntfactor

can anyone translate Dangerous231's comment into some sort of language... any language?

Dangerous231
Dangerous231

dang i cant wait to play this game and from hearing about the leak and all the ppl u kill as a cia agent makes say damn thats a hella tight sounding stroyline and it makes me want to play it even more great job i cant wait tell it drops on the 10th also just to add this is just a f ing game so all u losers get runing around talking about dont buy just get the f out of here and dont buy it or look online to see whats it doing

frazzle00
frazzle00

@XXMadManVII I'm not criticizing the soldiers either. After all they do not decide foreign policy, the government does. However I do not agree that America has a right to interfere in the affairs of sovereign states when IT deems that intervention would be righteous. After all America has a pretty dreadful track record when it comes to righteousness; Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Latin America, Afghanistan and Iraq immediately come to mind. There are plenty of people in this world that see the American government (and unfortunately the American people by proxy) as just as tyrannical as the dictators you've mentioned. The fact that America deliberately bypassed the UN in its war on Iraq is to me, as unforgivable as what the Al-Qaeda terrorists did in 9-11. Are Bush, Cheney, Rice and the rest of the previous administration's upper echelon ever going to sit in front of a war crimes tribunal? I sincerely doubt it (although one can still hope :P).

Notebook_holder
Notebook_holder

So as long as they have guns in hand it will be ok.... why find this controversial i live in US and i found this probably the best thing ever.... I might just rent this game now... the only thing that got me was you weren't playing as the US soldiers

Gamma_Fit
Gamma_Fit

GREAT MW2 INFO AT: www.modernwarfare247.com

pathaze
pathaze

I still cant wait for this game, forget all the nonsense! ppl can play the scene if they want to. if they dont, they can skip it. this game will still be probably the best selling game of all time

XXMadManVII
XXMadManVII

@frazzle00.... I am not justifying agreession on anyones part. I am defending the soldiers who where brave enough to do thier horrilbe jobs while we sit here and argue over a video game. TBH I think that most of the aggression these days could be avoided through tolerence and diplomacy. But without our fighting men and women the world would be overrun by truely opressive and evil people, like Hitler and Stalin. So just because the Military today is fueling western aggressaion, doesnt mean that they have not fought for a righteous cause in the past. The Persian Gulf War of 1991-92 comes to mind. We helped Kuwait out of a little problem they had with foreign aggression.

Luigi123260
Luigi123260

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]