Infinity Ward finally has been under fire recently, due to the inclusion of White Phosphorus as a killstreak in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s multiplayer mode. This is a weapon that many have deemed as glorifying war crimes, and the backlash has caused the developer to respond. Infinity Ward stated that the intention is to create a “playground to play on” and not to promote or glorify chemical warfare.
Multiplayer design director Geoff Smith explained:
Our game is more about two sides, that there is no good guy or bad guy, you play on either one. We’re just creating this playground to play on. I always felt like in the previous games that multiplayer is like the distant weapon fire that you hear a few blocks away from where the single player is.
For us it really kinda came out of the old EMP killstreak. It’s really hard to convey this electromagnetic pulse that disrupts maybe your HUD. So it wasn’t like a set change or a mood change, the stakes had changed for us.
Smith added that White Phosphorus does “a strip of damage, the smoke plumes come out, and there are just little hotspots of burning embers.” Many were concerned about the game’s realism, specifically in reference to White Phosphorus. He assured the community that no specific burning animations would be included.
Smith went on to compare White Phosphorus to the nuke killstreak found in previous games. “Maybe people are reacting to the photogrammetry, the more realistic visuals. Maybe if it was more cartoony would that be more acceptable?” he added. The nuke killstreak did not generate the same level of controversy as White Phosphorus, do to the lack of realism in older games.
This isn’t the only time Modern Warfare has generated controversy. Throughout the entirety of the game’s marketing campaign, the discussion of promoting warfare and the realistic depiction of terrorism has been a point of contention. Infinity Ward has stated that it’s approaching terrorism by “doing it tastefully.”
We’ll have to see how everything shakes out with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare when it releases on October 25, 2019. What do you think of Infinity Ward’s response to the White Phosphorus controversy?