Users are review bombing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on Metacritic over the game’s depiction of the Russian forces. Currently, the title holds the user-generated score of 2.4 out of 10.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
We rounded up some of the users’ comments:
Activision Blizzard decided to sell this game on a scandal, distortion of facts, lies.
Goebbels would be proud of you. Haven’t seen this much propaganda since The Cold War.
Disgusting Russophobic garbage, created only for one thing – stinking anti-Russian propaganda, which is now pouring out of all the “independent” media on the orders of their Washington masters. 0/10.
It is sad when the game turns from an alternative story into an instrument of political pressure. I do not recommend this game because encouraging such pressure will lead games to manipulation tools.
User reviews on Metacritic
Joel Emslie, studio art director at Infinity Ward, has already responded to the backlash by explaining the thought process behind one of the game’s most grotesque scenes. In this graphic sequence, a Russian soldier breaks into the home of protagonist Farah Karim. Emslie justifies his depiction of the character by the artistic ambition to create a cinematic experience.
Children struggling with a Russian soldier amidst a chemical attack
And this is what Jacob Minkoff, single-player design director, said during E3 in the game’s defense: “Ultimately, [Western forces] work with Russians to take him out, because he’s a problem. […] The CIA and FSB [the Russian Federal Security Service] have to work together against this existential threat. So there is a very substantial portion of the game where we have this uneasy alliance and we are working alongside Russians, all the way up to their intelligence-gathering high command.”
Not a lot of players see it that way though. Only a rare commenter on Polygon would point out: “You’re literally working against corrupt Russians, with good Russians, in a story […] about working against corrupt Americans. You’re fighting corruption and terrorism, not the country of Russia.”
The problem is that this “later” part only takes place during the game’s coop missions, while the single-player campaign does not show the Russian troops in the nuanced way promoted prior to the game’s launch.
The original Modern Warfare series, too, came under fire for its controversial “No Russian” mission. But curiously, it might have done a better job at the nuanced depiction of the opposing forces. While the protagonist of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the leader of the Russian ultranationalist party, the game’s main campaign also featured two Russian characters as “the good guys”. The sequel also centers on a Russian villain who commits acts of terrorism across Europe, but one of the game’s plot twists reveal an American general to be the catalyst of the Russian-U.S. war.
Anyway, Sony decided not to sell the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare through its online store in Russia. Call of Duty’s Russian Twitter calls on players to think of the game as a work of fiction.