‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’ continues the franchise’s long history of courting controversy

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The Call of Duty game franchise isn’t any stranger to controversy. In reality, controversy is as regular as the gunfights in the collection. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is the newest installment in the collection to take real-world geopolitical occasions and use them to fabricate controversy. Whether it is the participant unemotionally gunning down civilians in an airport or the re-framing of an American war crime as Russian, the collection has a long history of stunning moments. Modern Warfare II isn’t any completely different.

Without getting too detailed, the plot of Modern Warfare 2 is a globe-trotting journey from Mexico to Amsterdam to Chicago that includes chasing terrorists and uncovering a secret plot by a rogue American normal and his non-public navy faction.

But as a substitute of the plot, the internet is abuzz over the recreation’s interpretation of current geopolitics, and plenty of have referred to as out the collection for its not-so-subtle — and maybe superficial — use of real-world headlines for marketing campaign content material. And all of it harkens again to an interview with gameplay director Jacob Minkoff, round the launch of the first on this Modern Warfare collection in 2019, during which Minkoff stated “I don’t think it’s a political game.

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Is any of this political? Does Call of Duty even consider in something?

The new Call of Duty begins with an assassination much like that of Qassem Soleimani

In the opening seconds of the campaign, the participant is tasked with visually confirming that Iranian Quds Force General “Ghorbrani” is in attendance for a Russian paramilitary arms deal. The participant then takes management of a drone-guided missile that’s used to destroy everybody in the neighborhood. Just from the identify and white beard alone, Twitter was fast to level out the disturbing similarity of the mission to the Trump-authorized assassination of Iranian Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

If you have not performed the recreation, it might look like Modern Warfare II would then have interaction in some introspection about the ethics of the American navy enjoying decide, jury, and executioner in international nations. “There’s no time for that,” the recreation appeared to say as we had been instantly pushed onto the subsequent mission.

The missile strike is the catalyst of the recreation’s plot, which sees the management void left by “Ghorbrani’s” assassination stuffed by Major Hassan, the recreation’s fundamental antagonist, who groups with a Mexican cartel to smuggle ballistic missiles into the United States. It’s not the first time that Call of Duty has used fictional stand-ins for real-life figures. 2008’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare‘s Khaled Al-Asad was a not-so-subtle 1:1 of Saddam Hussein, however not like the actual like man, his in-game doppelganger actually had nuclear weapons (additionally one other level of introspection that does not linger long).

Hold right-click to de-escalate civilians

The second main controversy to return from Modern Warfare II occurs actually minutes after the assassination of the totally-not-Soleimani Iranian normal. In the mission “Borderline,” antagonist Major Hassan is being smuggled into the States by the Mexican Cartel with the participant assuming the position of Mexican Special Forces quickly on his path. The participant fairly actually jumps over the U.S-Mexico border wall in pursuit of Hassan (illegally, I would add, as the recreation’s CIA Station Operator states).

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The drawback arises when the participant has to sneak via a trailer park and “de-escalate” the civilians whose properties you break into. You do that by pointing a gun at them. Somehow, this truly works, encouraging the civilians to show round and head in the different route.

Near the finish of the mission, a cop in a cowboy hat profiles the Mexican Special Forces and says “it’s hard to tell you boys apart from the cartel.” Are these sequences of occasions saying possibly one thing about disproportionate police violence or racial prejudice? Hmmm, possibly, however earlier than I might placed on my essential pondering cap and ponder, the cartel blew up the cops, and the gameplay resumed as regular.

It’s only a recreation, why does it matter?

As Mashable’s Rebecca Ruiz identified, politics is a major source of stress for young people. Regardless of the place any given gamer falls on the political spectrum, border safety and the killing of a navy chief of a rustic with which the U.S. is just not at conflict are heady, multifaceted matters. While the occasions in these missions would possibly simply be edgy window-dressing for a navy shooter, the sample of driving headlines to market these video games is obvious. And because you’re studying this it clearly labored.

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