Massive Poll Results: The MW3 Controversy

By now, many of you will have played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and seen the questionable sequence. It appears in the middle of the game after a shoot-out and seems to be ‘found camera footage’.

Activision quickly removed the YouTube videos as they surfaced, but it still caused considerable discussion when the story appeared, especially given the characters involved.

Our two sided poll saw Team Adam, who eloquently argued that the scene was part of the story, face off against Team Tuffcub’s view that it was superfluous.

Here’s the gist of Adam’s argument:

This scene can be shocking and you could even call the act sick, but the fact is that these things happen and in fiction (whether a movie, book or game) real life events are often mimicked to engage the reader, viewer or player and this is no different.

On the opposing side, Team Tuffcub who questioned why the scene was included:

The child’s death is not shocking because they blew a kid up, it’s shocking as it’s in the game with sole purpose of generating headline news across the world and shifting a few more copies of Modern Warfare 3.

There was no need for this to be a family, the sequence could have had the same impact (possibly more) if they had blown the truck up amidst the crowds of tourists on Oxford Street.

So who won the battle?

Well it seems that both teams can claim a victory of sorts but with 43.54% of the vote Team Tuffcub stormed to the lead as many thought that the scene was deliberate tabloid baiting.

However, Team Adam can claim a victory as, by and large, the mainstream media have completely ignored the virtual child being murdered and concentrated on the important matter of publishing photos of the 7/7 London bombings beside screen grabs of MW3 despite the BBFC stating that there is no link between the two.

Thanks to everyone that voted.

Now that the game’s out and (hopefully) lots of you have had chance to play the section referenced, has your opinion changed at all?



  1. My opinion hasn’t changed. There was no need for that particular scene at all, never mind having child in there. It was clearly made in invoke controversy and therefore headlines/publicity.

    Team Tuffcub FTW

  2. Not played SP yet, Spec Ops co-op is soooo good!

    • However I don’t think it needed the extra attention even if it was a PR stunt…..$775M!!

  3. Nope, still hasn’t changed. In fact, it has reinforced my opinion that there is no need for it, it’s out of context and it’s only there for tabloid baiting.

    Thankfully it didn’t get much mainstream press.

    • Yeah, I wonder how Activision feel about that. I mean, I’m of the opinion that column inches were exactly the reason for the scene – it adds NOTHING to the game at all IMO.

    • The phrase “tabloid baiting” would suggest places that take the bait would be tabloids, no? Lowers my opinion of a lot of gaming media websites that did take the bait, even the Daily Mail didnt. Feels like a lot of websites were just going with the story for the sake of causing a drama where there was no need.

  4. I really think that this is thin end of the wedge with regards to bringing aggression towards children in to games.

  5. “There was no need for this to be a family, the sequence could have had the same impact (possibly more) if they had blown the truck up amidst the crowds of tourists on Oxford Street.”

    Couldn’t there have been families and children there?

    • yes, but the point being that it focuses almost exclusively on the mother and child, which is designed to cause emotional impact much more than just a crowd of people.

  6. I was surprised that you could control the camera before the explosion!

    While it was part of the story, I think it could have been done differently. And the way it was done was to bait the tabloids – which failed!

    • Oh and as for the tabloids comparing the train section to the 7/7 bombings, that was pathetic on their part, there was no comparison. Apart from being in the London Underground. Suprised they didn’t compain more about Battlefield 3’s trains filled with explosives!

  7. I avoided reading/watching what the controversial scene was before the game, and so when I came to playing it – it was a total surprise, but I hardly gave it any notice. If I’m honest, it wasn’t until a good 20mins later that I realised that that was probably the controversial bit in the game. Is it wrong that I’m not “phased” by witnessing this scene? No. It’s just a game. I’ve seen far worse videos on the internet of people dying in gory ways. I guess I’ve been de-sensitised by it all, even when it’s real.

  8. After thinking it over, I think it was a storm in a teacup. The scene added virtually nothing to the story, there was little emotional impact (in my view) and ultimately, no one in the mainstream press really cared about that scene.

    • Storm in a teacup eh? & I thought it was a bomb in a truck! :)

    • exactly right to be honest i have seen so many worse things in films i dont understand why we feel things like this are bad just in games…

  9. it was abit harsh having a family walking around london that get blown up by the van i dont think it needs to be there in the story it could have been done alot better or removed from the game
    but it did do the job of making the news and headlines like sony did with Resistance fall of man being made in manchester (aka gun crime) and the getaway using bt vans and mw2 with the airport

  10. I really don’t quite get why people think developers would want to cause anyone any offence. The only reason i’d believe it this time is only because Activision published it, and even then this is a fairly insignificant portrayal of death, with which we are all too familiar with in video games anyway, so a very quick and clean scene involving a child shouldn’t be so alarming.

    Maybe gaming journalism is jumping the gun too much with this kind of story because of our expectations of mass media, and although they aren’t flawed one bit, potentially the main reason why this was discussed more or became controversy is because gaming press pointed it out. Not that its necessarily a problem though either, the debate for this is interesting :3

    • Those are very much my feelings :).

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