Modern Warfare 2 Opening Footage Leaked?

By John Walker on October 27th, 2009 at 6:51 pm.

Not as alive as he used to be.

People looking to avoid Modern Warfare 2 spoilers should not read on. A remarkable video (below) of what’s purported to be the beginning of Modern Warfare 2 has appeared. It’s in French, and we’ve obviously no idea if it’s definitely real at this point, but it seems to be showing the first level of the game, in which you play a terrorist mowing down innocent civilians in an airport.

It’s a useful gaming device: put you in the enemy’s position for a glimpse of the other side. Interestingly, however, it’s one that Infinity Ward never opted to do in the original Call of Duty WW2 games, avoiding letting you play as the Germans despite showing different nations’ perspectives on the conflict. Putting you in the position of a terrorist killing civilians is clearly a very controversial decision. It could be designed to give the player a horrible view of those they’re fighting against, but if this is the case it will be a contentious way to start the game. All speculation for now, clearly. Here’s the video:

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172 Comments »

  1. El_MUERkO says:

    I fully expect the mainstream media to explode in a ball of ignorant rage. Should be fun :)

  2. Heliosicle says:

    it was also the french that leaked the 3rd person multiplayer mode

    silly people.

    • Heliosicle says:

      also, the guy thats got his hands on the game in relfected, im sure activision will want to have a talk with him?

    • John Walker says:

      Yeah, the extended reflection does seem to make it slightly less than the perfect crime.

    • Jacques says:

      And pretty easy to track down. Go to the Vivendi offices in Paris, find out who had copies of the game, and then find out if they’ve got a [no need for that - Ed] kid. Bye, bye daddy’s career.

    • Aisi says:

      Editor owned your shit!!

  3. Melloj says:

    Geez – I am pretty ok with most anything in games and have mowed down pedestrians in GTA to no end, but I found that a bit disturbing.

    Yeah – the press is certainly going to have a field day with that.

  4. Dain says:

    I know MW is going to be very very very linear, but forcing a player to slaughter a load of unarmed civillians in the first level? That’s not very appealing to my personal sense of fun..

  5. Thirith says:

    Infinity Ward have to be extremely good at what they do if they want this to come off as anything other than thoroughly tasteless. Then again, I would’ve probably said the same about one or two scenes in the first Modern Warfare, and that turned out very well.

    • Funky Badger says:

      This has been the one thing I’ve heard about MW2 that makes me interested in it. Hope they’ve really gone through with it.

      Narrative bravery. Wow.

  6. MrTambourineMan says:

    Wow, if this is really the opening than hats of – > it should show us that IW have some balls after all!

  7. Rakysh says:

    I think the CIA thing is possible, or maybe a simulation first level to get you in the minds of the terrorists? either way, it’s pretty messed. That was disturbing. Still, the press will over blow it no doubt. You lot reckon it’s real then?

  8. Jimbo says:

    It’s worth noting that the intro says you’re a ‘Deep Cover CIA Operative’, rather than just a terrorist.

  9. ThePinkNinja says:

    Hmmm, that is very brutal.

    Not sure I’m entirely comfortable with having to gun down hundred of realistic people.

    Unless there’s a really good achievement for it anyway.

    • Heliosicle says:

      the problems of gaming today, people do anything for a “DING!” noise and a pop up message…

      Theyre pretty awesome though.

  10. Cooper says:

    Interesting, if this is real.

    Surely, if you are playing this scene you could, just, not shoot? Let yourself be taken out by any law enforcement or just refuse to participate? In which case, and you, as a terrorist, die, is it ‘game over’? If you refuse to participate, does the game not progress?

    In which case, do we not return to the problem of bioshock and what happens once you make apparent that gamers are all too often bound so tightly to a game’s linearity and the odd cognitive dissonance that occurs once that’s made apparent, but no alternative option presents itself?

    (On a side note, and with extra cynicism: There’s a reason the armed forces particularly target game players. We are used to accepting, and rarely questioning, strict rule conventions, despite idiosyncracies and obvious flaws in their reflection of reality (see: Those locked doors). Having vast numbers of game players forced through a ‘being a terrorist’ section appeals very much to this cynical reaction.)

  11. Lack_26 says:

    I can see it now,

    “Murder game, Modern Warfare 2, in which players take control of a terrorist [sic], now allows real-life terrorists to plan attacks on airports. The game also features combat in Washington DC and will tell the player to kill hundreds of American citizens. It also kidnaps children and votes Democrat.

    You have been watching Fox News, now over to Joe-the-righteous to tell us about how these terrorist training machines are turning our children into Jihadists.”

  12. RockPaperTerrorist says:

    …in which you play a terrorist mowing down innocent civilians in an airport.

    Thanks for spoiling that. Bet you were *that* guy that walked out of Empire Strikes Back talking about how Vader was Luke’s father in earshot of the people in line waiting to see it (simpsons reference).

  13. kyrieee says:

    I can’t wait for people to shut up about this game

  14. Jimbo says:

    Of course it’s real. ‘Kill these dudes to maintain your cover’ seems like exactly the kind of thing IW would do, and would need to do to top the execution scene in the last one.

    They’ve left themselves just enough moral wiggle room – obviously the media will still flip out, but this is about on par with something Jack Bauer would do.

  15. Kangarootoo says:

    Gone already :(

  16. Radiant says:

    I don’t want to play that.
    Sim or not.

  17. 678 says:

    The ending of the mission is… interesting. Bad guys pay in the end, is that what are they trying to say ?

  18. FernandoDANTE says:

    Those innocent civilians are human representations of the dedicated servers.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      /thread over

      On a mildly related note, IW will let you do this but you can’t play a German in WW2? Meh.

  19. Sobric says:

    “This video has been removed from Metacafe”

    well that was quick.

  20. cliffski says:

    “this video has been removed from metacafe”

    I’m a big COD fab, and havent ordered this yet. If its true that there is a ‘shoot the civilians’ section, I have to say that would help put me off the game.
    The reason I liked the old WW2 shooters is the whole thing felt pretty justifiable. This doesn’t sound so black and white :(

    • Funky Badger says:

      Have you played CoD4 at all?

      The bits where the SAS murder people in their sleep in particular?

    • psyk says:

      My memory of the cod4 stroy is hazy but the sleeping people on the boat were terrorists and they got killed in there sleep (boo hoo doesn’t happen all the time) because its easier than them waking up getting armed and attacking from behind.

    • Funky Badger says:

      psyk: the sleeping people on the boat were uncomprehending sailors, murdered in their sleep. You/your-character calls them terrorists because that makes it easier for “you” to sleep at night.

  21. TheApologist says:

    Not for me this one.

    I found MW pretty repugnant, and this looks pretty much worse. The problem is that the FPS is too restricted as a genre to tell these kinds of stories well and not be horrible.

    You can’t be entertaining FPS game #384723894 and be trying to tell nuanced, morally ambiguous stories. A character capable of soaking up tonnes of bullers with rechargable health who has to charge a corridor with a big gun massacaring civillians means, to my mind, this cannot work. By all means tell this story, but not in this way.

    The press will go nuts, but IF these first impressions are right, this time it will be with good reason.

  22. AndrewC says:

    I felt bad for the people getting shot, I didn’t want them to get shot, the shooting felt disgusting. At last, an FPS to evoke humane responses in me!

    And brilliant use of complicity and meta-comment in that the player dude decides after the first massacre to just join in with the shooting. The airport seemed full of defenceless, cowering, wounded people who pose no threat to you – and the player shooots them.

    Huge-balled game design there. Though, of course, if they had *really* huge balls, the player could refuse to shoot anyone else as all killing is morally culpable murder, and the game would then switch to being a relaxing fishing simulator. A switch that would be un-reversible.

    Anyway – good stuff, unless IW just included it because they thought it would be *cool*.

    • Buemba says:

      Anyway – good stuff, unless IW just included it because they thought it would be *cool*.

      Wouldn’t surprise me. I seem to remember hearing Shawn Elliot (I think) mention in an episode of GFW Radio that when he asked IW what they thought of all the discussions the AC130 level (“Death From Above”) elicited the reply was something like “we weren’t expecting that at all! I mean, we just did that level because we thought it would be kick ass”.

      But who knows, maybe the praise several story sequences in COD4 got encouraged them to try to do something with more of a message in the sequel…

  23. Yargh says:

    The briefing makes it pretty clear that you are an infiltrated US agent trying to get closer to Makarov (the end of the video shows how well thought out that was) and stresses that part of the cost of this is losing part of yourself to the mission.

    I’d guess that the intro serves to show up how the incompetent and amoral intelligence agencies screw everything up and the rest of the story is about how the real men from Special Forces clean up after them.

  24. Larington says:

    I don’t think it’d be bold of me to say this openning level, if what is claimed here is true, is actually a part of the marketting campaign for the game. People were watching videos of the first level of the original Modern Warfare which generated some buzz for the game… Only this time its the mainstream media that are the target of the buzz, not gamers or consumers (Directly).

  25. Michel says:

    This is obviously the 4th mission of Act 1. Where are people getting “opening” from?

  26. IN says:

    I am angry at IW, they do this to stimulate the fear of the people and bad press is all they want for this.
    You know why they coupled terrorism to flying? Because flying is a natural fear to people and attaching terrorism to that makes people fear terrorism much more effectively, terrorism is all one big lie!

    • Funky Badger says:

      I’m sure I remember something about terrorists and planes…

  27. obo says:

    I’m pretty sure if any mainstream media outlet gets a whiff of this, you won’t be able to do anything without getting this part of the game spoiled for the next three years.

  28. RockPaperTerrorist says:

    @John Walker

    Dude, the spoiler is immediately below it a couple of lines down in the same paragraph. Maybe if you add some white space after “…do not read on…”

    Anyways I’m just being indignant just to be indignant since gaming forums all over the ‘net are talking about this anyways.

    So much for the media blackout 402 wanted, eh?

    IW’s doing interesting things with MW. *Spoiler* Do not read ahead if you haven’t played the first: The first one briefly placed you in the role of a middle eastern president who gets executed as well a marine witnessing the effects of a nuclear blast firsthand before succumbing and dying. Really powerful stuff experiences since they are integrated into the game rather than shown just as cinematics.

    • Flobulon says:

      I’m pretty sure you’re missing the point – the characters you described in MW were, at the time of their deaths, innocent. Or at least more innocent than someone gunning down civilians in an airport.

      The two really can’t be compared.

  29. kyrieee says:

    Couldn’t they at least have made a new ‘opening the door and checking the room’ animation?

  30. Roadrunner says:

    The video is broken now :(

  31. Thrawny says:

    looks like a PS3 copy from the popups in the top right corner, can’t say i like the idea of mowing down civilians. :/

  32. Simon Jones says:

    I’d find it far more interesting to play as an unarmed civilian during such a sequence. I rather doubt I’ll be able to play through the level if it genuinely encourages you to shoot civilians.

    I can’t help but think there’s a lack of context here.

    • Lack_26 says:

      I’d find this far more interesting as well, although, the press is less likely to flip about that, so there would be less coverage, and publicity is always good (well, I’m sure sometimes it isn’t, but you wonder if Manhunt would have done nearly as well had the press not picked up on it).

  33. Dagda says:

    More or less in agreement with Yargh. It also explains how the US is getting blamed for the attack- the guy found at the scene was a CIA operative.

    Bravo to Infinity Ward for having the balls to pull something like this.

  34. Bobby says:

    “This video has been removed from Metacafe”

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…!

  35. TheBlackBandit says:

    No. I’m pretty good for violence in games, and I don’t mind it at all, if it aids the story, but this really is a little tasteless. Really.

  36. Dr Lulz says:

    I’ve slagged off a lot of overly senseless violent videogames like Manhunt or Saw, but this… this just takes the cake, and then some.

    • Thirith says:

      The difference to my mind is that from what little we’ve seen, I don’t see much of a sadistic element, which those other games have (in a virtual sense, of course). This strikes me as disturbing, on purpose, rather than “Ooh, cool, I can kill him with a hacksaw!”

  37. Tei says:

    I still think we need to make a mod for L4D, where all the zombies skins are cleared, and paint like normal people, and the zombies sounds replaced by “please don’t shot me” stuff.

    Who says THE PUNK movement is dead?

  38. 1stGear says:

    Congratulations, Infinity Ward. You have provoked a genuinely strong reaction in people, and thus done more for gaming as an art form than a thousand Hideo Kojimas or Bioshocks. I was wondering how you were going to top the aftermath of the nuclear blast in MW1 and you appear to have done it.

  39. Rick says:

    This justification that you’re a CIA operative undercover just doesn’t cut it for me. If you’re a CIA operative and you’re involved in a massacre of this scale (which we can probably assume from this video is at least a hundred) just to maintain your cover, then you’ve lost perspective and your connection to human decency is questionable by not attempting to stop it. The point of going undercover in these organisations is to stop attacks and large scale loss of civilian life.

    This feels like being controversial to get into the papers for publicity to me. Either way, I don’t want to play the role of a mass murderer of innocent civilians, regardless of what sort of rationalisation is given for it.

    • Funky Badger says:

      If MW2 achieves nothing else but this comments thread then its a) art, and b) the most important FPS of the year.

      Bravo.

    • Jimbo says:

      I’m sure you’re right that they intend for it to be controversial, but the fact that people are disussing and questioning the merits of undercover work has already elevated it above a simple publicity grab, imo.

      I bet you can go through that entire scene without killing any civilians. Given the ending, I consider it extremely likely that the player is even free to attempt (but ultimately fail) to stop the attack. So long as the net result is one dead CIA operative left at the scene of the massacre, they can, in theory, give the player the freedom to choose how it plays out without effecting the overall storyline one bit.

      If that is how it happens, then it’s a shame this leak happened, because that really would have been something to experience without any prior knowledge.

  40. Humus B. Chittenbee says:

    If this turns out to be ‘me’ dreaming, viscerally, about how a terrorist attack happened so as to cause me to be even more invested in fighting terrorism (esp. if I knew someone who was killed in the attack) – I would be all right with it being portrayed in the game. Otherwise, I agree – It feels as if it will be too upsetting to the general public’s view. Honestly, I think this will put me off the game without further information.

  41. Clovis says:

    If the press does go ape over this, then screw the press. I shoot random people in games all the time. I beat them with tire-irons and run them over with cars. If one of the randoms in GTA IV suddenly started begging for his life after a baseball bat wack to the head, it would totally freak me out. This seems to be the same idea. The audio and scenes like people dragging others to “safety” were especially affecting. Games should be allowed to shock us and make us question our hobby, and not be pilloried for it.

  42. Blah says:

    Would it be appropriate to point out that three posts ago, we were celebrating a man smacking around civilian miners with a sledgehammer. He is also a terrorist. He also destroyed buildings.

  43. medwards says:

    That’s bullshit absorption of common propaganda. Terrorism is NOT property destruction, and the attempt to imply that property destruction is the equal to murdering bystanders is the same crap logic that surrounded the Reichstag fire. Get some goddamned perspective.

  44. Tei says:

    I have just watched half the video with sound.

    It just sad. Is that what IW want to provoke, It worked.

    Let say that I don’t want to say this again. I think we know already too much about this thing (terrorist).

  45. JayeRandom says:

    The difference between this and Red Faction Guerilla is that that Red Faction Guerilla, by design, discourages the player from killing innocent bystanders.

    • Clovis says:

      No, that is not the important difference. You are just barely discouraged and there are plenty of games where it doesn’t matter at all. The difference is that it is portrayed in a realistic manner. You wouldn’t have to be discouraged in any game if the people are screaming and acting the way they did in this video. In most games people go “Ah.” and cower a bit maybe. I would be much more discouraged by playing the MW2 scene shown.

  46. CoyoteTheClever says:

    I don’t get why people care so much about what role they are playing. I’m a bloody pacifist and anti-militarist, but I’m not clamoring for a pacifist to play as. If a story is good, does it really matter whether you are the good guy, the bad guy, or anything in between? In my view, no matter who I’m playing in these FPS games, I’m the bad guy. But I can live with that, because its a game.

    As for what sort of organization the CIA is, I wouldn’t put it past them to kill a bunch of civilians to maintain their cover. If that’s the story, it doesn’t seem too far fetched. A little more of the morally gray to provoke critical thinking rather than the standard American flag waving and big damn heroes moments against all of Germany that is rife in the genre is a good change in FPS storytelling. The thing is, they know they can pump out this game and get record sales. So it is good if they are being creative with it and taking risks.

  47. Psychopomp says:

    You know, it’s probably *supposed* to make you extremely uncomfortable, people.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Also, what does it mean if watching that didn’t affect me at all?

    • psyk says:

      Your a normal human being who doesn’t get worked up over a bunch of pixels.