Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has generated quite a bit of buzz, with a lot of attention on its extreme, graphic violence. There was some backlash to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare single player campaign footage that was shown behind closed doors to journalists at E3 2019, with some taking to social media to express how they weren't fans of the game's grim tone. After this, there were some rumors that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare may be toning down the violence, especially in light of the reignited debate about a possible link between video game violence and gun violence, but according to Infinity Ward studio narrative director Taylor Kurosaki, that's not the case.
Kurosaki was asked by multiple Call of Duty fans on Twitter if the violence in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was being toned down, as there had been some reports by "leakers" that the game was going to be hit with an Adults Only rating because of its content. Kurosaki denied these claims, confirming that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare doesn't have to change its content to get its M for Mature rating that the ESRB will likely assign to it.
Those looking forward to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will likely be relieved that the game isn't in danger of getting an AO rating. An AO rating is essentially a kiss of death in the gaming industry, and it means that the vast majority of retailers simply wouldn't sell the game.
Nope.— Taylor Kurosaki (@taylorkurosaki) August 7, 2019
Since Call of Duty is consistently the top selling game each year, Activision would never risk it being hit with an AO rating. Video games can get away with quite a bit in terms of graphic violence before they get an AO rating, so it's unlikely that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was ever in any real danger of being assigned an AO rating instead of an M rating.
In the meantime, it remains to be seen how the general public will react to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare when it hits store shelves. The game is releasing at a time when the video game violence debate has been reignited, and its shocking scenes - like the child soldier mission that will reportedly show dead kids - may not sit well with some. Others have praised the game for not shying away from the horrors of war, so public opinion could go either way.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches on October 25 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.