The Russian Government has seen fit to ban all console versions of Modern Warfare 2 due to its “offensive content”. Every copy of the game for PS3 and Xbox 360 has been recalled to the stores. No word on internet censoring of the game yet but you can bet its on the way. The diluted PC version is still available in Russia as far as we know.
Reports say that not only politicians, but Russian gamers are not happy with the portrayal of the Russian Military in the game. Of course the sticky widget in this case is the infamous “No Russian” level in the single player campaign that portrays Russian ex-Military operatives entering an airport and shooting scores of innocent civilians as the player is forced to shoot as well. Infinity Ward has released a patch that completely eliminates the mission from the PC version and are working furiously to release a censored version of the game before the end of the month.
The censors and concerned parents in Australia are getting close to getting the game banned entirely in their country as well. Although the game was released in said country, there was a lot of talk about stopping it from circulating entirely. Strangely, the game received only an MA-15 rating rather than the R-18 rating which I think is entirely justified in this case.
MW2 is easily one of the most violent (realistically violent) games I’ve ever played. The sheer realism and intensity of the combat were enough to make me sweat and feel truly frightened at some points in the campaign. The continuous loss of my characters made me feel more than once that all of my efforts were in vain. [SPOILER ALERT] Especially when the “No Russian” mission was completed and the character I was playing was shot. All of the effort to get him into deep cover and close to the terrorists and having to shoot civilians was a complete waste and I died for nothing. The missions taking place on North American soil were just as disturbing, with battles taking place over parking lots in familiar looking box store plazas. I was led to think about how many civilians have already died before the army arrived.
The point I’m trying to make here is that this is definitely adult entertainment and it should be treated as such. The efforts by concerned parents to stop children and minors from accessing this software are pretty legitimate in my eyes. I can feel some of the pain of the Russian people for being portrayed in this manner as well. The writers for MW2 have scratched the surface of old Cold War tensions to try to create a legitimate scenario for an invasion of the United States, and who knows how they’ll feel about the possible Cold War setting of next year’s World at War 2.
Banning the game won’t stop anyone from playing Modern Warfare 2 and we should all have the right to play the game. I must applaud Infinity Ward, not only for creating an exceptional game, but for the sensitivity they have shown about their product. The warning at the outset of the game which states that you have the option to skip the Airport Massacre mission shows that they realize they are pushing our boundaries of taste. This is the first time I’ve seen a video game with that kind of option and the fact that I scoffed at it and clicked through means that I wasn’t paying enough attention to their obvious warnings.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is not anything like the video games of old. This is visceral, violent, realistic, interactive entertainment at its finest. If the game scares us and makes us think about what could happen at any moment in this crazy world I think that the developers at Infinity Ward will feel that their job is done.