Big Games of 2011: Activision Could Face Scrutiny From News Outlets Over Modern Warfare 3 Trailer

Gameplay trailer features conflict in NYC and London
 If you happened to watch the Dallas Mavericks take on the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, then you were in for a bit of a treat. During a commercial break, the first ever gameplay trailer of Modern Warfare 3 debuted on ESPN, the channel hosting the playoff game. The trailer featured some highly explosive action, but there are a few elements within the trailer that will have some people stirring.

The trailer shows off battles from several key locations in the game's single-player campaign, including New York City, London, and Paris. While these are very brief flashes, it appears that the game will feature some rail shooting segments, battles with helicopters that have been chasing you, driving boats and other assorted vehicles, as well as the typical gunfights that have been a part of the Modern Warfare franchise. When it comes to ramping up the adrenaline level to 11, Infinity Ward definitely delivers in that department. Also, a brief monologue from Makarov sets the stage for what looks to be an imagination of World War III.
But a few elements of the trailer could get news pundits from the likes of Fox News and other media outlets boiled up and ready to rip the game a new one. The first is quite obvious with the attack on New York. The attacks on September 11 left a very deep wound in the hearts of Americans, one that still many people are slowly healing from. That alone makes depicting attacks on the city in video games a touchy subject. Crysis 2 did attack the city, but it was aliens. It's a tougher pill to swallow when a Russian terrorist is behind the attacks.
The recent killing of Osama Bin Laden only adds more fuel to the fire. Yes, Americans are relieved that we finally got him, but the government still has the country on high alert in case of retaliation. It's unfortunate that this had to happen before the trailer's release. You can't really predict things like that happening.
The other element that raises a red flag has to deal with the subway sequence in London. The trailer shows a Humvee riding along a train car until it suddenly begins to barrel roll underground. Back on July 5, 2005, London's subway was bombed by homegrown militants and claimed the lives of 56 people, as well as injuring about 700 others. Two attacks that actually happened find themselves in the new trailer.
Activision is no stranger to controversy. Modern Warfare 2 came under fire with No Russian, tasking the player to follow Makarov and company through an airport terminal. In order to follow along with the guise of being undercover, the player would have to shoot down innocent people. That mission wasn't based on an actual event and served as a storytelling mechanic to try to spark hatred for Makarov. It may not have been the most effective way to do so, but it was a bold move and an attempt to do something a bit different. Fox News and other news pundits raised issue with the mission, saying that it breeds violence within people, especially younger gamers.
While No Russian was meant to try to enhance the story, I don't think that is quite the case this time around. I'm not going on a rant saying that the game is trying to further breed terrorism by using actual events as inspiration or anything like that. It's just that from what it looks like, they didn't have to use those specific locations and events. They probably could've used any other location or simply created different sequences altogether. If Infinity Ward can really make use of these events in a way to really propel the story forward and create awe-inspiring moments, I'm all for it. Otherwise, it seems like they were reaching for shock value, more or less.
No matter the case, all eyes will be on Modern Warfare 3 once E3 rolls around. For now, fans of the series have this to satiate their appetite for the time being. Just don't be surprised within the next couple of days that the Modern Warfare 3 smear campaign begins.