Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Dev Responds to White Phosphorus Controversy

The  of Duty series is no stranger to , but the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern is well on its way to being the most controversial Call of Duty game yet. There are a number of reasons why Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has proven to be a controversial game, with one of the latest reasons being its Phosphorus killstreak, which has earned the game some criticism.

The White Phosphorus killstreak in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has been criticized by people who feel the game is glorifying the real-world weapon, which has been used not just against enemy combatants, but civilians to devastating effect. Activision and Infinity Ward have remained mostly silent about the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare White Phosphorus killstreak controversy, but multiplayer design director Geoff Smith recently addressed the issue.

Speaking to VG 24/7, Smith described the multiplayer in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as a “playground” that is separate from the realistic tone the single player campaign is trying to achieve. Smith pointed out that no specific burning animations were created for the White Phosphorus killstreak, and so the game will not be a realistic depiction of what happens when someone is caught in it. In-game, players will take damage and their character will cough when they're hit by a White Phosphorus killstreak.

Smith also noted that past Call of Duty killstreaks haven't had quite the same negative reaction. Specifically, past Call of Duty games have used nukes as a killstreak (and in fact, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is bringing back the nuke), yet have avoided similar criticism despite nuclear weapons having also caused horrendous real-world destruction.

Smith guesses that the more realistic graphics in the new game compared to older titles may be partly to blame for the controversy surrounding Call of Duty: Modern Warfare‘s White Phosphorus killstreak. “Maybe people are reacting to the photogrammetry, the more realistic visuals. Maybe if it was more cartoony would that be more acceptable?”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare‘s single player campaign has also been controversial, largely thanks to a child soldier mission that will reportedly depict dead children. It will be interesting to see how everyone reacts to the game's more uncomfortable content when it launches later this year.

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