Modern Warfare 2 massacre sequence confirmed, skippable

[UPDATE2] Activision authenticates leaked video as showing optional sequence where gamers can participate in slaughter of unarmed civilians in an airport.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated at the bottom.

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.

Source: Leaked video viewable (for now) on CNN's user-submitted iReport section and on Mapmodnews.com. The same video has been pulled from YouTube "due to a copyright claim by Activision Games Inc," indicating its authenticity.

What we heard: In every trailer released for Modern Warfare 2--including the almost image-free teaser released at the 2009 Game Developers Conference--one event has loomed large. Each trailer depicts a group of Russian ultranationalist terrorists massacring civilians at an airport with assault weapons.

Now, footage has leaked that appears to show the game will indeed depict the massacre, reminiscent of last year's mass killings in Mumbai, India, which left nearly 200 people dead. In a move sure to ignite controversy, the footage indicates the game will cast players as one of the killers, having them shoot civilians en masse from a first-person view.

Several sites have posted footage showing the same group of five terrorists (including the player), wearing body armor over business suits, as has been shown in every trailer for the game. (See screen comparisons, which have leaked, lower-resolution footage on the bottom.) The killers first emerge from an elevator, as the sound cues in the very first trailer portrayed. Once out, they open fire indiscriminately into a crowd by the security lines before moving up a series of body-draped escalators shown in the "Infamy" trailer released earlier this month.

From there, the terrorists move through a shopping level--with the player dispatching wounded civilians squirming on the ground--before moving down another escalator. Then, the scene shifts to the airport's tarmac where they encounter a group of security personnel under a large passenger jet with red, white, and blue stripes. The same jet appears to be shown in the "Infamy" trailer but from the opposite viewpoint of the security personnel moving to stop the killings.

At that point, the leaked footage ends. However, despite being of low quality, the footage bears several telltale signs that indicate it is authentic--or an extremely elaborate mod. First is the fact the terrorists shown look identical to those in the last two official Modern Warfare 2 trailers. Second is the fact the blurry subtitles appear to show the name "Makarov"--the last name of the game's primary antagonist, Vladimir Makarov.

Third is the onscreen heads-up display, which appears to be the same as that in preview versions of the game shown to the press. Fourth are indications that the footage came from the same European source that posted video of a third-person multiplayer mode in Modern Warfare 2. Reflections on the screen showing another monitor and PlayStation 3 menu cues are the same as footage that appeared on YouTube before being pulled.

That same yanked third-person footage was confirmed as being legitimate in Twitter postings by Robert Bowling, director of communications for Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward. In a tweet today, Bowling also indicated that footage from the game's campaign had leaked out. In response to a message from a user asking "Do you think the leaked SP footage is too much?" he responded, "I know man. Media Blackout! I'll keep this Twitter feed and the official Infinity Ward YouTube spoiler free. Singleplayer leaks suck."

Interestingly, the footage shows a multiplayer icon over another terrorist's head, indicating the level could be played in the game's Special Ops co-op mode. One rumor circulating is that the player will be an undercover operative who is forced to participate in the massacre or blow his cover.

The official story: Reps for Modern Warfare 2's publisher, Activision, had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus. Infinity Ward is known for taking major risks to surprise its audience, and comparisons between official Modern Warfare 2 trailers and the leaked footage leave little doubt of the latter's legitimacy.

The bigger question is will the sequence impact Modern Warfare 2 sales? Sure, players can commit similar mass killings at any time in almost every Grand Theft Auto game. However, the brutal nature of the airport massacre and the ever-sensitive subject of terrorism might prove a toxic mix, in terms of publicity, if the mainstream media decides to pounce on it.

[UPDATE] Though US Activision reps remain mum on the matter, a UK spokesperson confirmed the leaked footage as authentic to game site VG247. The spokesperson also offered the following statement from Activision:

"The scene establishes the depth of evil and the cold-bloodedness of a rogue Russian villain and his unit. By establishing that evil, it adds to the urgency of the player's mission to stop them."

"Players have the option of skipping over the scene. At the beginning of the game, there are two 'checkpoints' where the player is advised that some people may find an upcoming segment disturbing. These checkpoints can't be disabled."

"Modern Warfare 2 is a fantasy action game designed for intense, realistic gameplay that mirrors real life conflicts, much like epic, action movies. It is appropriately rated 18 for violent scenes, which means it is intended for those who are 18 and older." (The BBFC 18 rating in the UK is the equivalent of M for Mature in the US.)

[UPDATE2] Activision US has now issued the following statement. "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. "

"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 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. "

"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. Consistent with its content, the game has been given an "M" for Mature by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. The rating is prominently displayed on the front and back of the packaging, as well as in all advertising."

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1162 comments
TheRealUser101
TheRealUser101

With MW3, Infinity Ward announced that they will fix bugs and glitches faster! The weaponry and perks in Call of Duty: MW3 will also be more balanced and the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will have a working party chat system. Infinity Ward has also revealed that it has revamped the entire killstreak reward system!

Shade_of_Dusk
Shade_of_Dusk

IMHO I think this scenario is a nice touch to the game, I mean it's just so chilling, gruesome and possibly even rather realistic and I think this makes a game quite unique and stand out from the rest of the games of this genre.. I do wish there was more games in this genre with that huge immersing feel like I felt in MW2. The fact people have bought this game and are complaining about this scene is just plain stupid I mean why buy a game where there is OBVIOUSLY going to be REALISTIC warfare from a company who like to do REALISTIC stuff to shock their audiences.. and also the fact that there is 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 game play that involves this scene" doesn't that scream don't play if your likely to get out raged by the following scenario??? But to raise a menial argument over an interestingly realistic aspect gee whiz it's just a game and if you have such a problem with it don't buy the game or just don't complain, trade it in to your local game dealer and get your cash back or buy a new game and if there is no other game you want just go back to your non-controversial harmless Spyro the Dragon games. Spyro 1 FTW =]. Peace.

penguins227
penguins227

Going off of what squidb8 said, seriously, did ANYBODY listen to what he says before the mission? Your guy says compared to all of the lives that would be lost if you didn't do this, this current amount would be but a small fraction. He's trying to save from a World War, for Pete's sake!

squidb8
squidb8

Am I actually reading this right? People actually believe that being a passive observer of civilians being blasted by a terrorist group in a movie is the same as actively making people dead in a video game? Have we all become so twisted? I expected to see people justifying their choice of getting this game with "It just part of the game," and "the scene was probably taken out of context." I did not expect people equate passive and active participants to be the same. Damn, if I have to shoot a bunch of civvies in order to get to the end of the game, so I can kill this twisted boss guy, then I won't like it but I'll get it done. It's part of the immersion, just a small empathy for what undercovers have to go through to put the bad guys in a cage with the rest of the animals.

NearlyPrescient
NearlyPrescient

@tauvy oh yeah, I was very uncomfortable playing it. I'm not saying I didn't shoot, or that I didn't gun down a civilian that was crawling away, but I was pretty shocked by how long and graphic it was. I don't think it was so much that they wanted to give the player a a reason to get back at the terrorists, but that they needed a reason for a global war and basically stole the main idea of metal gear solid 3: snake eater. I mean, at first, I said "okay, that was perfectly done with the context the ending brings to it" but then I realized that its basically what would happen if Snake didn't go on his mission in MGS3 and that they pretty much copied the scenario outright. the only part of the scene that offends me now is that its such a blatant ripoff of metal gear. and I suppose you've got a very good point in pointing out that they're all entertainment and unreal. I guess it just depends on where you draw the line on how realistic unreal can be and what it can depict, or how unreality can effect real people (not that I honestly think violent games make people violent), but really, you're right in that the bottom line should be that its all unreal.

tauvy
tauvy

@NearlyPrescient in the future when, say, VR games come into play, they will say the same thing. "Making comparisons to regular games is stupid. On a console or PC, you have a controller separating you from it. But this is closer to reality and the interaction makes it more offensive." It's all entertainment and the similarity between all of them is that none are reality. I understand people being offended, that's ok. But the movie analogy is very fitting IMHO. There is FAR more offensive in movies. Oh - and now that I have played the scene, I was a bit shocked... it made me feel uncomfortable. Therefore, mission accomplished. It was placed there to set the pace of the game - to give the player REASON to get back at the terrorists. I think it was great.

pazzyj
pazzyj

I hadnt seen the leaked footage and I was totally shocked. However, I understand Infinity Ward's reasoning. It's similar to the COD4 intro in that its trying to stir up emotion in the player. You don't HAVE to shoot the civilians. I played through almost the entire mission without firing one shot. I even tried to kill makarov and his cronies. I only had to fire at the very end because a riot shield enemy was grieving me haha. Anyway, dont freak out people. Dont kill the civilians if you dont want to. If you do....well. thats kinda messed up, but its just a game. sidenote: the story in mw2 is not that great......very dissapointed. especially since I like single player more than multi. Oh well. about to jump into spec ops and try it out. EDIT: i read that you fail if you shoot the civilians, is that true? because if it us, then this part of the game is essentially a cinematic and....i cant believe people are freaking out over this. In a cod4 scripted event a nuclear weapon wiped out a whole city and no one batted an eye.....also a prisoner of war was exectued (the leader with the beret, wtf was his name), a man committed suicide, and....a bunch of other **** its strange the way morality ebbs and flows. city of middle easterners getting nuked = OK, white people being machinegunned = woooah. draw the line.

odst_trooper117
odst_trooper117

there are a lot of worse stuff in movies/tv shows.... anybody watch the tv show 24??? thats got a LOT more terrorism/killing than in this game...not that thats a bad thing...

odst_trooper117
odst_trooper117

@ prodigy0330, i dont agree with you... you arent a bad parent for getting a game for your kid thats under 18....its like a/an rated R movie... people under 18 arent/shouldnt watch the movie WITHOUT A PARENT....it deppends on the situation, such as how old the child is like a 8 year-old playing gow... now that is NOT okay...but im ok with a 13/14/15+ playing gow though... (if your are under 18 ) ask your parents first before you get an M rated game... i have a friend who is 13 and has the halo series/franchise for xbox and xbox360... hes played gow, cod 4 and 5,and a few others... but he isnt a guy would go and get a gta game.....he knows what he shouldnt play and what he should play

prodigy0330
prodigy0330

Furnish "Who doesn't understand why killing innocent people even if it is just a game, because the majority children under the age of 18 will think otherwise." then dont buy them the game. its obvious this game was made for people 18 and up thats why it has the big m on the box. and if you get this for your children, your a bad parent straight up,

prodigy0330
prodigy0330

i cant believe you people!!!!! lets name off movies that everybody love's involving terrorist acts that innocent people get killed in and you didnt care 1. any die hard movie 2. speed 3.munich (although based off true events) 4.a clear and present danger these are just a few of the thousands that come to mind, now lets name games that some if not all of us have played that involve killing innocent people in the most tacky manner , but we still play 1.grand theft auto series 2.prototype 3.doom3 (you can shoot the scientist's that aren't demons yet) 4.farcry 2 5. the getaway 6.postal 7.black and white 8.the sims (we all know you have killed your innocent little sims) atleast modern warfare 2 does it in a respectful manner, its about terrorist takeing over the world!!!!!!!!! im sorry that crap like this happens in real life to people with SOULS every day live REAL PEOPLE!!!!!. i dont think after we get to VIDEO GAME AIRPORT and shoot the VIDEO GAME people everyone in video game world start crying a throwing funerals for the video game people we shot up. if you cant tell the diffrence between real life consequences and video game consequences maybe you all should stop playing video game befor you shoot up a school

Furnish
Furnish

Who doesn't understand why killing innocent people even if it is just a game, because the majority children under the age of 18 will think otherwise.

Qwertz82
Qwertz82

If you could justify killing innocent civilians in a video game, then what's to stop someone from making a video game where you go around raping a killing women and children and say it's cool because "it's only a game"? The "it's not real life" argument is bullsh*t. What's inhumane is inhumane, period.

Robin3103
Robin3103

I've already played that part and it's actually done very good. It seems like a very dramatic action movie. And it's just fun to kill those harmless ppl, finally shooting ppl that dont shoot back :D! No offense, but it's just a game..of course some ppl will get crazy ideas.....same with movies!

vilester1
vilester1

games these days are more of a movie then a game so why no "R" rating this will solve most of the problems.

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

Anyone that has spent any amount of time on the Internet has probably witnessed FAR WORSE than what they could ever depict in this game.

amill68
amill68

@ matthopekids i have to agree that many parents couldnt give two craps about what their kids are playing these days, but do you think that that is the problem of the video game companies? do you want them to censor and dull the entire game for everyone just so that it doesn't offend the few children that are being exposed to it? i would, personally, be quite upset if a company did that. i think that the responsibility of controlling these things (and i know that this has been hit on many times) falls on the parents. the fact that many parents are lazy and rely on television, the internet, and video games to do a large part of their parenting is not Activision's, Microsoft's, or any other company's fault- it is that of the mother and the father (or one or the other in some unfortunate cases)

Gamma_Fit
Gamma_Fit

Ive seen worse stuff in movies...

guzzfuzz
guzzfuzz

I think it is something that makes a game, and even a movie, more all the realistic and chilling. It gives the gamer a chilling sequence in which we must sit back and watch as the people we usually protect in COD games get murdered and mowed down by terrorists. The scene is gruesome and realistic as can be, but I have to say it was something that probably has to been seen to understand and love the new COD game's story for how great and realistic its going to be. I don't like it, but it will definitely live through it say how great this story is.

Tommz7070
Tommz7070

Its a video game! Being a terrorist will just add to the awesome story. Its not real! People already do it in GTA so everyone calm down and enjoy the game. Skip it if you will but youll be missing the story that IW was trying to bring to us!

gfunk1865
gfunk1865

We are exposed to this type of thing all the time on television, on the internet, and in movies. If you buy this game and let a child play it, and your main concern is THIS particular mission and not the language and violence throughout the rest of the game then I really have to scratch my head. Far Cry 2, Dead Space, GTA4, Gears of War (1&2), Resident Evil 5, and Prototype all have graphic violence and language, hence their Mature rating. I guess my biggest issue with all of this is the feeling that people would be ok with this if we just got to "watch" this happen, but the fact that we have the option to play through it is too much.

MattHopeKids
MattHopeKids

How stupid do you have to be to put this in a game? They aren't idiots they know a high percentage of their sales of the game will be people buying it and letting their kids play it. No parents even care about age ratings in the UK anymore, so I just think it's a disgrace to have something like this in a game and actually use it for entertainment. I really don't want to think what kids are gunna grow up to think in the future. Also I've never agreed with, or played, any of the GTA games before anyone jumps down my throat. I think their content is awful too.

wanted300
wanted300

Im not gonna skip it. Maybe Im just sick but its a game. The only real problem I have with it is how unapologeticly real it is. But for the sake of a good game, Ill press on.

realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

im gonna skip it unless there is an acheivement, and then i will quit right after i get it

XR782VT
XR782VT

I rlly have to agree with vengence. Killing a civilian is killing a civillian, no matter what game. In this game it is a pivotal story plot, in GTA u can kill civilians just because u want to. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. You're all trying to rationalize killing civilians but no matter how you look at it if you kill a civilian, you've killed a civilian; it doesn't matter what game it's in. Also it's no different that the opening cinematic in MW1 where u play as President Al-Fulani. They kill civilians in that too and u end up getting shot in the face and ur a civilian. The only difference is that it has been flipped but its still the same concept. While playing as Al-Fulani, were you all not shocked at what you saw and what ends up happening? YES!!! Didn't that make you want to kill Al-Asad faster?? YES!!! The same way here. U are forced to massacre these civilians and it shocks you so that you want, more than anything, to kill Makarov.

richboy101
richboy101

omg... that video was brutal... this game just pasted the "EPIC" mark

thereaper222
thereaper222

so what if you kill civilians it's not gonna make the game crap and they've put the option to skip it so wheres the problem?

NND1
NND1

WTF ? Now that's really HARDCORE ISH!!!!!

vengeance00
vengeance00

seems everyone has a seesaw for their morality. killing civs in GTA = fun times :D killing civs in COD = GONE TOO FAR :O honestly there isn't a differance, both games they run away, both games their unarmed (for the most part) and in both games your a bad guy. does being a terrorist really flip the switch but a psychotic murderer doesn't? EDIT: also theres quite a few people who begged for mercy in GTA and i bet theres one among those who think this is too far that turned them into a carpet stain, and most of you will probably do it if theres an archivement for it. no ones ever the good guy if they kill someone.

Supericano2
Supericano2

I actually thought it was kinda fun "No Russian"

futurebat
futurebat

I don't care what you guys say...for me the game looks like its gonna be more fun than GTA4, more action packed than GTA4 & more dramatic than GTA4. All in all its gonna be the game of the year!!!

Finalninja447
Finalninja447

feudemonj00 dude GTA you can kill people, yes its fun, yes its quite entertaining and funny but on Modern Warfare 2, that's the most graphic terrorist act I have EVER seen, striking my mind. Striking EVERYONE'S mind. Damn, I have a hard time digesting this stuff...

Finalninja447
Finalninja447

I saw the video and the only thing i asked myself was HOW THE **** CAN YOU ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?? WHY DID IW DID THIS? THIS IS NEARLY MORE THAN THE WTC TERRORISM ACT!

Valkirye22
Valkirye22

@feudemonj00 straight on buddy everyone's mad about it and yelling how IW crossed the line or something and that the game is wrong and anti-moral xD by this. And all of them still watch countdown timers, can't wait to buy it and I'm pretty sure they will get tempted and shoot a few in there or accidentally if there are going to be civilians in urban warfare parts

zcb4573
zcb4573

geez I just watched the video for that mission. I almost wish I hadn't. It was way heavier than I expected. Everyone do yourself a favor and save the experience for when you actually play the game. It's some intense stuff

JoetheMoe
JoetheMoe

IW is pushing forward in every way

feudemonj00
feudemonj00

I am also reminded of GTA missions where you plant a bomb in a city officials car and blow it up, kidnap someone's daughter, use terrorism as a way to intimidate people, etc. This isn't like L4D, because when you start shooting the zombies they don't scream bloody murder and try to get away from you. This is a pretty morbid depiction of a terrorist event, but I commend IW for having the balls to make the call to include controversial content, partly because it will be a moment in gaming that people will NEVER forget, and partly because I think it's funny to hear how so many people are offended by it, but are still going to buy the game.

feudemonj00
feudemonj00

What is the big deal here. No one made a big deal out of being able to kill unarmed people in Grand Theft Auto games? Seriously, a mission where you are in a terrorist group and you shoot up unarmed people is different how from the GTA Vice City mission where you go into the mall and start mowing people down? Everyone wants their realistic games until they are "too realistic". If you don't like it, don't buy it, don't play it. Don't tell others they can't and/or shouldn't.

chiefenator
chiefenator

Governments need to stop being wusses, that's what ratings are for right? Before you know it, they're gonna complain about pounding goombas in mario.

Freshmaker666
Freshmaker666

Australia's rating board is pretty retarded. Anyway, I am looking forward to this game, massacre or not. It should be loads of fun. Besides, people do this in GTA all the time. How is this any different?

hoossy1
hoossy1

@AkiraSAS wow, Australia kinda blows in that regard.

Siwuli
Siwuli

Yeah it's messed up, but 1) you can skip it if you don't like it 2) it's a game not real life and 3) civ's get killed in movies (quite graphiclly) all the time. All in all they should come out with DLC later and put the guys who leaked this in the airport scene, and you can get an acheivment/trophey for killing him :)

Gojomez
Gojomez

Im gunna try to kill more civ's than my AI buddies.....

FreakyBrettzky
FreakyBrettzky

This is a video game people just remember that. I wanted this game for so long and now after hearing about that scene I want this game even more. The scene is meant to drive the story forward and produce emotion. It is made so that you hate this russian guy and you now know that he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal. This scene is not to make you proud of killing inocent people, it is to do the exact opposite. Infinity ward really wants to dig the emotions out of the player and make you hate this villan, and this is how they are going to do it. Good move if you ask me.

Chill0078
Chill0078

Will be banned in at least 5 countries

pmili
pmili

Its actually funny because this game is actually worst than the game that Konami tried to release a couple of months ago about the combat in Iraq yet no one is complaining for the massacre in the airport in this game, mainly bacause it is not related to an american event. Even though people keep saying it is a game, keep in mind that games nowadays are very realistic and there are companies that work with the US Navy and other departments to train the soldiers with what is called "serious games". Games nowadays are more than just games and you need to develop content with care.

GamerJedi29
GamerJedi29

I agree with Tokugawa77 but im just glad you can skip this part it is kinda messed up But this game will be AWSOME