Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has been subject to a few controversies since it was revealed earlier this year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC by Infinity Ward and Activision. And that should come as no surprise, after all the game's gritty, realistic take on modern warfare apparently makes the series' infamous "No Russians" level look like a Pixar movie. What also shouldn't come as a suprise is that the game and Infinity Ward are once back under some Internet artillery fire, this time for one of its newly revealed killstreaks, more specifically, its white phosphorous killstreak, which is an air strike that results in the battlefield being covered in white phosphorous gas that disorients the enemy and burns them if they get too close.
For those that missed it: yesterday Activision and Infinity Ward confirmed killstreaks are coming back for Modern Warfare, and even revealed the first three: Juggernaut, Infantry Assault Vehicle, and White Phosphorus. And as soon as the pair revealed these killstreaks, they came under fire.
cod singleplayer: war is bad and everyone loses
cod multiplayer: check this shit out you can do war crimes with our new white phosphorus kill streak https://t.co/Nbpmf3LeSc— steve rousseau (@steverousseau) July 30, 2019
Spec Ops: The Line, 2012: Includes white phosphorus to question why war is used as a guiltless source of fun in video games
Call of Duty, 2019: https://t.co/oTXldadgVV— Emma Kent (@GoneEFK) July 30, 2019
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - We want to tell a meaningful story about the horrors of war.
Also Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - In multiplayer you can deploy WHITE PHOSPHORUS after killing enough people! pic.twitter.com/82NIoxil6t— Lewis White - MSPU (@Lewis_D_White) July 30, 2019
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (new, not old) includes white phosphorus as a reward for a "killstreak". That is, if you kill enough, you get the joy of committing a war crime.
Call of Duty and its collaborators in the US state are advertising war crimes. https://t.co/icJLEjA0FN— ☭ jrbml ☭ (@GlumBird) July 30, 2019
White phosphorus is used to comit warfare crimes ans crimes against humanity. Proudly presenting it as a feature in a videogame is a total shame.— DisruptiveCyclo (@CycloDisruptive) July 30, 2019
To be fair to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, white phosphorus is still very much a weapon and strategy used by military forces around the world. And if you're going for a realistic take on modern warfare, then yeah, you'd include it. Further, the series has literally had killstreaks that allow you to drop nukes. So, it's odd to now draw the line in the sand. However, it does juxtapose the messaging around the game a bit. There's ways to use white phosphorus in the game responsibly, mostly via the campaign, but to make it an award for killing a certain amount of people was probably not the right decision.