In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the new, best-selling video game by Infinity Ward, a fictional nationalist organization tricks the Russian government into attacking the United States. Gushingly and rosily pro-Russian, this game ain't.
And now, the real Russian government has reportedly banned sales of Modern Warfare 2 for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3, even as Infinity Ward works to roll out a censored version of the eagerly-anticipated first-person shooter.
On Friday, the fan site Hellforge reported that all copies of Modern Warfare 2 had been pulled from store shelves in Russia:
Pending validation from the Russian government, the censored console versions of the game are expected to be released within less than a month, with the mission removed. The game’s content has raised the ire of the Russian gaming public as well as a number of politicians who object to its portrayal of Russia’s armed forces as terrorists who invade the United States and subsequently erect statues of dead terrorists in Washington D.C.
At issue is a level called "No Russian," where the player is given the option to fire on a crowd of innocent civilians in a Moscow airport. There is a certain irony to Russia's objection – but we don't want to start drifting into spoilers.
As we noted recently, Modern Warfare 2 publisher Activision has already issued a statement explaining the scene's importance to the plot:
Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2 features a deep and gripping storyline in which players face off against a terrorist threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. The game includes a plot involving a mission carried out by a Russian villain who wants to trigger a global war. In order to defeat him, the player infiltrates his inner circle. The scene is designed to evoke the atrocities of terrorism.
Still, the scene was apparently enough to rankle the folks over in Russia. Talk to us – should Activision and Infinity Ward be prepping a censored version of the game? Have you had a chance to play the scene in question? Drop a line in the comments section, or find us on Twitter.