In recent weeks, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 publisher Activision has received heat over a Twitter marketing stunt done to promote the upcoming entry to the Call of Duty franchise. If you haven’t heard, the Inquisitr previously reported on the Twitter stunt which portrayed a fictional terrorist attack hitting Singapore, the city-state in which the story of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 takes place. After changing its Twitter feed’s appearance to look like a legitimate news organization, the Call of Duty account, which boasts over two million followers, started to “live tweet” the goings on in their fictional attack.
The PR Stunt, which took place at the end of September, tweeted a few “reports” about explosions in Singapore, as well as a 30-mile quarantine zone in the 31-mile radius of Singapore, brought condemnation from fans and media alike, something that the Call of Duty publisher has yet to address publicly since the outcry. However, in an interview with IGN, Treyarch, the Black Ops 3 developer, admitted they were “shocked” at the reaction. Talking with Jason Blundell, the producer shared his thoughts on the subject.
“Here’s my view – and again, I’m a simple director and not involved in the marketing at all, however, it was absolutely not done for any kind of attention in any way. It was not done maliciously, or as any kind of scare tactic. I personally am very sorry for anyone who looked at it and got the wrong idea because it genuinely wasn’t meant that way.
It was done on our channel, and it was to talk about the fiction of the world. I think we were as shocked as everybody else when it started blowing up, because essentially we were teeing up ready for a story beat. So again, very sorry for anyone who took it that way. It wasn’t meant that way at all – it was supposed to just be getting ready for a campaign element.”
The claim that the marketing wasn’t done for any kind of attention is a little off-putting, as the point of marketing is to garner attention for your product. However, while Activision and Treyarch seemingly meant no harm other than drumming up interest in the story of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, the fact remains that this is yet another example of irresponsible marketing stunts by PR professionals, especially in a day-and-age where terrorist attacks are a very real thing.
Speaking of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and its story mode, Blundell also talked to Gamespot about the studio’s decision to remove the campaign it attempted to promote from last gen hardware versions of the game. As Inquisitr previously reported, Black Ops 3 on PS3 and Xbox 360 will not contain the campaign mode seen on the PC and current-gen console release. The game will cost players a little less on the last-gen hardware, but many fans who haven’t made the jump to a gaming PC or new console are left without a story mode to play. Activision took the mode out, however, in order to preserve the gameplay and vision as seen on the newer hardware.
“When I heard that an old-gen version was going to be made outside of Treyarch, and found out the things that would have to be cut in order for it to work, I was fully behind Activision’s decision to remove it.”
Blundell also waxed eloquently on the idea that to remove storytelling or campaign modes from games, it could be seen as the “death of society.”
“As a medium, we have to tell stories. For Black Ops, it’s absolutely essential to continue the art of storytelling.”
What are your thoughts on the way Activision tried to promote the story being told in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3? Sound off below.
[Images via Activision]