Controversy

Modern Warfare 3's 'child-killing controversy'

A young girl gets blown up in a graphic scene that is leaked — perhaps strategically — ahead of the video-game's hotly anticipated release

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which hit stores Tuesday, is one of the most anticipated new video games of the year. But it's a controversial leaked scene, in which a young child is graphically blown up, that is grabbing the lion's share of headlines related to the latest installment in the best-selling series, in which players fight Russian terrorists. (Watch the clip here. But be warned: It is disturbing.) In the sequence, a young girl playing in the street is killed when a truck explodes next to her. Modern Warfare 2, was also dogged by controversy, when a scene titled "No Russian" caused outcry for requiring gamers to participate in the massacre of innocent civilians at a Russian airport. Modern Warfare 2 has gone on to sell more than 22 million copies worldwide. Will the "child-killing controversy" surrounding the release of Modern Warfare 3 help or hurt the new game's sales?

This debate certainly raises the game's profile: The scene will undoubtedly "generate broader, negative media attention" for the game, says Dean Takahashi at Venture Beat. And just like the "No Russian" scene in Modern Warfare 2, the outcry over the exceptionally graphic sequence will create a media awareness for Modern Warfare 3's release that extends far beyond gamers. But will it help sales? We'll have to wait and see."Modern Warfare 3's disturbing scene involves child's death"

And the scene's leak may have been strategic: "Call me 'Conspiracy Brother,'" says McKinley Noble at GamePro, but this scene seems to have hit the web at a rather convenient time. It was released just as conversation about Modern Warfare 3's trailer was waning, and buzz about the competing title, Battlefield 3, was building. Following the leak, "like clockwork," the franchise's reputation for pushing the envelope was back in headlines again. "Who wants to bet on how soon this is going to show up on Fox News?""Modern Warfare 3's child-killing controversy"

Soon, this will be no big deal: Scenes like this, in which a child is killed, are new to gaming, says Brian Ashcraft at Kotaku. "Hollywood, on the other hand, routinely blows up kids." It's a quick storytelling tool used to show viewers "just how awful the bad guys are." And as "unsettling and horrible as it is," movie audiences have become so accustomed to viewing these scenes that they rarely "raise a ruckus." It may be new to the gaming world, but "don't be surprised if it becomes old hat. It already is in Hollywood.""Is this spoiler Modern Warfare 3's "No Russian" moment?"

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