When news spread about the recently leaked video of the airport scene in the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game, it caused considerable concern from gamers and news outlets alike. Although no background details are given about the mission in question of the footage, it has many concluding that that player is involved in a terrorist massacre inside an airport where civilians are gunned down amid screams and chaos.
While more details are coming to hand, Infinity Ward (the developers behind Modern Warfare 2) are still keeping details considerably tight lipped. The OFLC Classification Board, which has given Modern Warfare 2 a MA15+ rating and the green light for release in Australia, has remarked that "no post mortem damage can be inflicted on victims and, in other missions in the game, killing a civilian results in mission failure".
That, however, has not stopped outraged groups from calling for an immediate re-rating for the game. Jane Roberts, president of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, is requesting the Office and Film Literature Classification (OFLC) to re-review their MA15+ classification for Modern Warfare 2, with the hope that it won't receive a classification (and therefore banning it from any local sales) the next time round. The argument being put forward is that the game could still b easily accessed by people under 15. From the Sydney Morning Herald...
"The consequences of terrorism are just abhorrent in our community and yet here we are with a product that's meant to be passed off as a leisure time activity, actually promoting what most world leaders speak out publicly against," said Roberts, who is also the principal policy officer in Western Australia's Department of Premier and Cabinet.
"We understand that it's a game but ... we're not far off when you look at the images that you could actually put it on a Channel Nine news report and you'd think maybe that is real.
"If that material was on the internet about how to become a terrorist, how to join a group and how to wipe out people - that would be removed because it would not be acceptable."
Perhaps even more perplexing is the following sweeping comment by the South Australian Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, on the matter...
Expecting game designers to be responsible by not glorifying terrorism will always lead to disappointment.