Leaked Modern Warfare 2 Footage Reveals Controversial Terrorist Sequence (Updated)

By Chris Faylor, Oct 28, 2009 8:59am PDT Update 2: Activision has released an official comment on the video, saying that the footage is "not representative of the overall gameplay experience in Modern Warfare 2." More below.

Update: The video has been removed at the request of publisher Activision, citing copyright infringement. The rest of the story, however, remains unchanged.

Though Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 isn't due out until November 10, someone out there managed to get their hands on an extremely early copy of the game. And as we live in the digital age, this means off-screen shaky cam footage of in-game antics.

The footage can be found below, along with a statement from publisher Activision. Be forewarned that the video is of low quality and spoils what is easily among the game's most surprising and controversial moments, as does the statement.

Video removed at request of Activision citing copyright infringement.

Preemptively addressing the controversy bound to emerge from a sequence in which players control a terrorist gunning down innocent civilians, Activision told VG247:

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 game play 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.

It's far from the first time that the sequel has ignited controversy. A recent trailer for the game showed Washington D.C. in ruins, with the decision to axe dedicated server support from the PC edition drawing a vocal response from fans of the series.

Update 2 (Cont'd): Activision has released this statement to the press:

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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59 Threads | 270 Comments

  • Didn't watch it but this probabaly has the potential to put CoD series on the map as a one of the most controversial games.

    The thing is, while I find this a little disturbing (so much for gamers being desensitized to violence, real or fictional), I really do understand what they're doing here. I expect most of the media, video game critics, activists, etc really won't understand this and end up sensationalizing it. The intent of games has always been misconstrued by people who can not comprehend their nature, and I expect that this will be no different.

    This is the exact same reason why they pulled the plug on the Iraq War game. A bunch of old people who are fundamentally out of touch with pop culture looked at it and immediately decided "hey, it's portraying something, so therefor it must be advocating it." No one but gamers understands that games are an art form, as as such it is possible for them to portray a situation without taking a moral stance on it.

    Thank god, jack thompson got shut down, but if he didn't, I can already see it "this game advocates terrorists killing innocent people zomg!" Ever since the earliest bank robber movies in black in black and white, the evil of evil people has been portrayed simply because it tells you about them and lets you form an opinion about them (thus pulling you in.) How many movies have shown evil people torturing other people, robbing places, etc?

  • Boo ya! Hats off to IW, that statement is exactly how it should be.

    I think its great they are doing this, and for once giving gamers a REAL emotion out of a videogame. I think the fact that people are getting upset by it means it works. Bottom line is you dont have to do anything with this scene if you dont want to, you dont have to play the game if you dont want to, and from the sounds of that post you may even be able to skip the scene all together.

    I felt a bit crazy simply watching the scene and cant imagine how id feel playing through it, but bet your ass im going to. Then afterwards ill be dying to take out ever single one of those bastards in what may be one of the most gripping and emotional videogames ever made.

    I doubt ill be running through guns blazing on my first attempt because ill feel awkward as hell. Though after the shock and awe is over on my 2nd 3rd playthrough ill most likely be mowing down every civilian i possibly can just to get the seen over with and get on with the rest of the game.

    (its just a game)

    You see this stuff in movies ALL the time. I think its great that an interactive game can convey better emotions than a simple motion picture.

  • You can always say that it looks real, that people will play it and say that they don't like it because of that scene.

    That kind of thing can happen in reality and I believe it does.

    But damn. Wake up, life can be tough and cruel.

    You can play this game because you feel like you are experiencing the reality or you can just play it for fun.

    But for the love of God, it's a GAME.

    I love running over people in GTA and I prefer playing on the Terrorist side on Counter-Strike but I don't do the same on the reality.

    People need to start separating things.