Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s ‘No Russian’ Mission Divided Infinity Ward

“No Russian” is perhaps one of the most controversial moments in gaming, a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 mission where players were tasked with playing as an undercover U.S. agent who’s forced to participate in a mass shooting at an airport alongside a group of terrorists. The mission essentially sets the stage for the events that follow in the rest of the game as well as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. In an interview with Game Informer, Infinity Ward art lead Joel Emslie opened up about divisions that formed within in the studio due to “No Russian.” 

Like the general public, gamers, and media outlets, there was a division in the studio because of this mission. Emslie talked about some of the different ways the studio attempted to tackle such a gut-wrenching event. Emslie said:

There was a side of the studio that felt that it should be played from the perspective of a security guard that got caught up in it, then there was the other side that liked the way it was going. I remember doing all the civilians for No Russian, and I just wouldn’t … there was a point in time where we were discussing how gory we would get with the people who were getting hit. I pulled back, and I said, ‘You don’t need it. People are getting tagged and their squibs are going off; it’s all good.’

The mission actually ended up getting more gore after Emslie showed some gameplay to his wife, who asked him where “all the blood and guts” were. Other interpretations involved a less drawn-out mission where players shot the first crowd outside of the elevator and were then teleported to the aftermath fights. This was ultimately scrapped because the team decided that it did not want to shy away from or hint at doing something that would make players feel uncomfortable.

Additionally, multiple members of the Infinity Ward team, including campaign gameplay director Jacob Minkoff and narrative director Taylor Kurosaki, opened up about what they’re trying to achieve with 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern WarfareTheir goal is to have a multitude of moments that players can reflect on. Like many of the iconic missions found throughout the previous Modern Warfare games, Minkoff says “there will be a number of different moments” that may stand out as fan favorites. He then goes on the mention missions like Crew Expendable, All Ghillied Up, and Death From Above. None of these missions really reflect the same impact and found in No Russian, so it’s still unclear how far Infinity Ward is going to go.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is set to launch later this year on October 25. Infinity Ward hasn’t shown much of anything from the game’s campaign so it’ll be interesting to see what moments Minkoff is referring to. Already the studio has had to respond to controversy for including a white phosphorus killstreak in the game’s multiplayer.

[Source: Game Informer]