Sorry, mainstream press, but we already beat you to the headline! Much like the level of anticipation amongst us gamers, controversy is set to reach uncomfortable levels when Activision and Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 starts shooting up the sales chart (and the airport) on November 10th. By now, you've likely seen or heard of the leaked footage depicting a civilian massacre, perpetrated by the player himself.
Speaking to Joystiq, Activision noted that consumers will be given the option to skip such scenes, which it claims are not representative of the overall game. They'll also be preceded by explicit warnings about their "disturbing" nature. While we imagine most players will judge, discuss and react to the sequence within its context -- did you know that the plot tasks you with infiltrating a terrorist group? -- don't expect the mainstream media to handle the issue with equal consideration. Witness Mirror.co.uk's initial reaction: "Modern Warfare 2: Leaked level makes light of terrorist activities." Terrorists in my vidgame -- haha!
"The game includes a plot involving a mission carried out by a Russian villain who wants to trigger a global war," reads Activision's official statement, included in full after the break. "In order to defeat him, the player infiltrates his inner circle. The scene is designed to evoke the atrocities of terrorism." Whether or not it crosses a line in doing so is up for debate ... but don't tell Fox News that.
On the bright side, at least you can't shoot a pair of alien lesbians having sex on the luggage carousel. We'd never hear the end of it.
"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."