Game play from the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which appears to cast players in the role of a terrorist, has caused a maelstrom on the Internet.
While Activision has been extremely active in trying to get the footage off of the Web, clips still appear on a variety of websites.
Warning: if you were planning to play the game without knowing anything about it, these videos definitely contain spoilers, so watch at your own risk.
CNN’s iReport still has a 3.00 minute plus video up, showing a group of characters, dressed in civilian clothes with body armor over top, emerging from an elevator into an airport and wantonly gunning down a group of (what appears to be) civilians. Another disturbing image shows a non-player character attempting to drag another injured NPC to safety, only to have them both gunned down by the player. The group of terrorists then systematically marches through the building killing and finishing off any people still left in their path.
OnlineGamingEurope has much the same footage, but with a little differing overlap, showing the group of terrorists emerging from the airport and killing people on the tarmac in the shadow of an airplane.
Comparing officially issued screenshots with the leaked footage, along with other visual cues, GameSpot verified, to the best of their knowledge, that the footage is from the actual game. Activision’s full-scale attempts to take down the videos appear to back up GameSpot’s claims.
GameSpot further compared the rampage shown in the video to the killings that took place in Mumbai, India last year. The gaming site speculates that the terrorist mission might be one of an undercover nature for the player, who must contribute or blow his cover.
What’s different about this bubbling controversy is that even some gaming websites are questioning whether or not this takes things too far. OnlineGamingEurope wrote that they found the footage “hard to stomach.” GameSpot added that, “The brutal nature of the airport massacre and the ever-sensitive subject of terrorism might prove a toxic mix, publicity-wise, if the mainstream media decides to pounce on it.” The Escapist asks, “Tell me that this doesn't have "moral outrage" written all over it.”
IndustryGamers was a bit more reflective:
It'd be easy for Infinity Ward to simply have a non-interactive cut scene depicting parts of this terrorist action, but by putting players into the middle of it, it makes the actions much more real and the consequences more tangible; it's hard not to get a lump in your throat as innocents are being shot down in your gunsights.
GP: The context of the footage is still unknown, and while it could even be a dream sequence or flashback, players do man the guns and pull the trigger. What makes the footage so striking is the level of visuals in Modern Warfare 2, as even in blurry online footage the action looks almost real, taking this a level beyond the cartoonish violence of games such as Grand Theft Auto.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in, we saw it too!