Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's campaign is now available in early access, and players have taken note of a controversial decision made by the game's developer Infinity Ward. Video game developer Enrique Colinet of The Game Kitchen has shared a video on Twitter in which Modern Warfare 2 tasks players with de-escalating a potentially dangerous situation. When civilians come out to question why there's a man walking around with a loaded weapon in their front yard, the game encourages players to de-escalate the situation by pointing their gun at the civilians. Somehow, this actually works, encouraging the civilians to turn around and head in the other direction!
The video shared by Colinet can be found in the Tweet embedded below.
From the creators of "Press F to pay RESPECTS"— Enrique Colinet (@Baxayaun) October 24, 2022
"Hold Right-click to DE-ESCALATE civilians"
A brand new meme waiting to be exploited.
The idea of de-escalating tense situations could have been a compelling addition to Modern Warfare 2, but Infinity Ward's take is highly unrealistic. As many fans have pointed out online, pointing a gun at someone is much more likely to escalate a tense situation, rather than de-escalate! If the game had given players multiple options for de-escalating the situation, it wouldn't be nearly as ridiculous; however, requiring that players draw their weapon to de-escalate (while showing no negative impact) glorifies violence and gun culture.
Over the last two decades, there has been a lot of debate about gaming as an art form, and the medium's ability to handle controversial subject matter. Activision has made a lot of effort to show the negative impact of war and violence in recent Call of Duty games, but this sequence from Modern Warfare 2 shows that there's still a long way to go. For a genre where most problems are handled by shooting at them, it's not all that surprising that the game missed an opportunity to show a better way. However, it is a shame that this area couldn't have been fleshed out more, while missing the very definition of de-escalation.
How do you feel about the game's "de-escalation" strategy? Are you looking forward to Modern Warfare 2? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!