Jesse Stern, scriptwriter for Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
, has given a frank interview about the controversial airport scene which occurs early in the game, claiming that the whole idea was to put players as close to atrocity as possible.
The level in question (warning, spoilers!) casts players as an undercover CIA agent who has infiltrated a group of Russian terrorists. The terrorists unleash a huge assault on a Russian airport and the player is given a chance to participate in the mass murder of unarmed civilians as the group rampage onwards.
"We've been catching a lot of criticism for that and a lot of praise as well,
" Stern told GamePro
. "People have really strong reactions to the airport scene and it's been fascinating because we all wanted to make it something that would be upsetting, disturbing, but also something people relate to.
"There's something instantly identifiable about it when it happens, when you're in that situation and the level begins,
" he added before going on to discuss the real world parallels. Apparently there were points in Modern Warfare 2
's development that the team questioned whether it was appropriate to make the content given that some elements of the game were being played out in reality, such as terrorist shootings.
"People want to know,
" Stern explained as a justification for the levels inclusion. "As terrifying as it is, you want to know. And there's a part of you that wants to know what it's like to be there because this is a human experience.
"These are human beings who perpetrate these acts, so you don't really want to turn a blind eye to it. You want to take it apart and figure out how that happened and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it. Ultimately, our intention was to put you as close as possible to atrocity.
During testing Stern comments that reactions to the level were as polarised as you'd expect, though he points out that every single tester who played the game opened fire on the crowd at some point, which he says is just human nature.
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