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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War trailer censored worldwide removing Tiananmen Square footage

Activision has censored itself in regards to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, removing and reposting a trailer that removed footage of Tiananmen Square protests.


The intricacies of doing business in China when it comes to entertainment of any kind have always required some tiptoeing, but a recent move by Activision regarding the trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has eyebrows raised worldwide. The official trailer for Cold War has been removed and re-uploaded cutting, among a few other things, footage of late 1980 Tiananmen Square protests in China.

The new trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was posted on the Call of Duty YouTube channel pretty recently and a change in its content was quickly noticed by Hong Kong news site Apple Daily and the South China Morning Post. While the original trailer was blocked from viewing in China, the new post cuts about a minute of footage off, including a small glimpse of hostile Tiananmen Square demonstrations in which students attacked an armored vehicle in 1989. The trailer, somewhat ironically called “Know Your History,” can be seen below in its altered form, as well as the unaltered version still live on IGN. First, the unaltered version in which the footage appears around 1:05.

And the altered trailer currently on the Call of Duty YouTube channel.

Having been revealed on August 19, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was slated for a full reveal this week. Given the tricky nature of the era known as the Cold War, it’s likely a difficult subject matter to broach with Activision. While the series hasn’t shied away from ludicrously violent imagery, such as an airport terrorist attack in Modern Warfare 2, graphic torture in the original Black Ops, and even child soldiers in the recent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Activision has also shown its not afraid to get a little problematically revisionist. This includes controversial decisions regarding things such as the Highway of Death which saw Activision and Infinity Ward come under fire for portraying an American war crime as carried out by Russians, as reported by GamesRadar. It’s also worth noting that Chinese media giant Tencent has a 5% stake in Activision that may have influenced its decision.

Regardless, while it’s rather strange to see Black Ops Cold War’s teaser trailer altered worldwide instead of just in China alone, it appears that the revisions are coming early ahead of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s reveal. It will remain to be seen what else is altered as Activision skirts a difficult and tumultuous period of world history and tensions in an era where a lot of powerful nations would rather not have their dirty laundry aired.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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