When I started writing for The UpStream, I always dreaded the Australian game stories, but I have come to love them, because you never really know what you're going to get. Today is no exception to that rule, for sure.
A recently leaked video from the much anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has stirred up the crazy pot with our kangaroo-loving friends down under. The scene depicts the player as the terrorists. A rather common-place game tactic, especially in a multiplayer game; the ability to play as both sides. The difference seems to be in that you actually get to play storyline as the bad guys. This teaser trailer for the game clearly contains the audio portion of the beginning of the scene in question.
Since this video leaked, the Australian Council on Children has asked that the ratings board reconsider the MA-15+ rating currently assigned to the game. Their president, Jane Roberts, said,
The consequences of terrorism are just abhorrent in our community, and yet here we are with a product that's meant to be passed off as a leisure time activity, actually promoting what most world leaders speak out publicly against. We understand that it's a game but... we're not far off when you look at the images that you could actually put it on a Channel Nine news report and you'd think maybe that is real.
In contrast, Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesperson Nicholas Suzor said,
Films often show the villain's perspective and, by doing that, they get across the character's story and the heinous nature of people who carry out atrocities. Games, too, are becoming more expressive, and are telling more involved stories.
What makes this really interesting is that the ratings board has said they are not able to unilaterally decide to re-review a game, there must be an official written request to do it, like the one Valve sent them asking that Left 4 Dead 2 be re-reviewed. It was, and was still deemed 'too realistic' in the death and dismemberment department, despite the fact that you are killing zombies, which are a little less than real.
I look forward to seeing what happens, and if the Classifications Board does reconsider the rating on the game. My fear is that they will, and the game will be banned on its face, like L4D2. What do you guys think? Is the council on children right for fighting this game, or is the Electronic Frontier right that it is far less than what we see in movies?