NEW YORK — Footage leaked from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 reveals that players of the game, which debuts Tuesday, can shoot innocent civilians in an airport in a realistic rendering of a terrorist attack.
In a statement, game publisher Activision Blizzard said the footage was taken illegally and is not representative of the game's overall experience. Instead, the scene is designed to evoke the "atrocities of terrorism."
The game follows players as they "face off against a terrorist threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse," the company said. This includes a plot line in which the player infiltrates a Russian villain's inner circle to defeat him. Presumably, the airport attack is one of the scenes in which the player acts as part of the villain's group.
In an interview before the footage was leaked, Vince Zampella, head of the game's developer, Infinity Ward, said the studio intended for its game to startle players.
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"We push the story," he said. "We want the player to be emotionally attached. We want them to be emotionally shocked."
Activision says the game is designed so that part may be skipped without losing any of the story.
The game's makers said before the leak that they strive for "real world" authenticity in weapon types, military tactics and locations, but the plot is more James Bond action movie than ripped-from-the-headlines.
"As far as the story goes, Makarov is this super villain and you are this task force," Infinity Ward creative strategist Robert Bowling said in a recent interview. "And it's good versus evil. So we really like to be cinematic but also not let that ruin the fun."