Brace yourselves for the mother of all media shitstorms, folks. But first, if you want to avoid spoilers regarding Modern Warfare 2, then stop reading ... NOW.
Still here? Good, then I'll start.
Earlier today, a gameplay video of Modern Warfare 2 was leaked. Developer Infinity Ward confirmed that it was genuine, and then ordered for it to be pulled from everywhere. This alone is newsworthy, but the contents of the footage will give reactionary media outlets an absolute field day.
That's because it shows a player playing from the perspective of a terrorist in an airport shooting innocent civilians. During the opening five minutes of the level, there appear to be only civilians to shoot. That loud pop you heard was Glenn Beck's head exploding (not really, but I think we'd all tune in for that).
Apparently, this part of the game can be skipped, and a flow-breaking warning comes up on screen before it begins. Anyway, Infinity Ward has since offered an explanation for letting players fill the shoes of a terrorist:
"The scene establishes the depth of evil and the cold bloodedness of a rogue Russian villain and his unit. By establishing that evil, it adds to the urgency of the player’s mission to stop them. Players have the option of skipping over the scene. At the beginning of the game, there are two 'checkpoints' where the player is advised that some people may find an upcoming segment disturbing. These checkpoints can’t be disabled.Notice IW's comparison of Modern Warfare 2 to an action movie? Infinity Ward knows that games are treated differently to movies, and is already battening down the hatches in anticipation of a media onslaught. I'm yet to catch the footage personally, but I really hope this isn't as gratuitous as it sounds.
"Modern Warfare 2 is a fantasy action game designed for intense, realistic game play that mirrors real life conflicts, much like epic, action movies. It is appropriately rated 18 for violent scenes, which means it is intended for those who are 18 and older."