Call of Duty Modern Warfare games have immersed gamers in fictionalized yet seemingly realistic combat experiences that reference real world events. So it’s not surprising that the upcoming Modern Warfare 3 game refers to the Navy SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden.
The reference could prove to be very controversial for the game, as it could mean that publisher Activision Blizzard will be on a tightrope. The reference could make the game get more attention on a worldwide scale and sell a lot more copies, or it could result in protests and boycotts if the matter isn’t handled properly. Those are high stakes for a game series where each new version sells more than $1 billion.
Kotaku, a game news site, reported that leaked information about the still-secret Modern Warfare 3 game (which is reportedly debuting on Nov. 8), refers to Navy SEAL Team Six, which killed bin Laden in a raid on May 1. Kotaku said an audio file from the leaked materials said “Seal Team Six was sent in but they lost half their team on infil. We need to strike fast before the Russians can launch a counterattack.”
It isn’t likely, however, that the game will include a scene where players participate in an attack on bin Laden’s compound. That’s because it is pretty late to integrate such a major battle scene into the game and it hasn’t been Infinity Ward’s style to make its combat scenes too close to real-life events. Rather, the games recreate an immersive feeling of combat. The combat takes place in areas that resemble real-world places such as the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. But the scenarios often involve fictionalized characters and make-believe terrorists.
On the other hand, Infinity Ward hasn’t been afraid of making controversial scenes in its games, such as one in Modern Warfare 2 where the player takes part in a massacre of civilians at a Russian airport.