Infinity Ward’s upcoming reboot of Modern Warfare, a game that has promised to tell a gritty and authentic campaign that addresses the true cost of modern day warfare isn’t political, apparently.
A number of developers and publishers have had to insist in recent years that their games don’t carry any kind of political messages, despite glaring evidence to the contrary (looking at you Ubisoft), in an effort the placate those gamers who insist that politics have no place in their games.
Infinity Ward is now the latest in a long line to tow this line. Modern Warfare’s Campaign Gameplay Director Jacob Minkoff and Studio Narrative Director Taylor Kurosaki, recently spoke to Game Informer in an interview which you can see above, in which they did everything they could to say the game isn’t political while basically admitting that it does in fact have political overtones.
Do we touch topics that bear a resemblance to the geopoltics of the world we live in today? Hell yeah, because that is the subject matter of Modern Warfare. Are we telling a story that has anything to do with the specific governments of any countries that we are portraying? No. So if you’re asking, like, is Trump in the videogame, no, he isn’t.
I can’t imagine that when anyone asks if a video game is political all they mean is whether or not Donald Trump appears in it. Instead, I’d assume they’re getting at whether or not concepts like colonialism, and occupation, and independence, and the imbalance of power are addressed.
Funnily enough, Kurosaki added:
We do talk about concepts like colonialism, and occupation, and independence, and freedom. We don’t maybe say those words specifically, but that’s the realm that we are in. But you could have a game that takes place in revolutionary America talk about those exact same concepts.
Minkoff concluded that the studio wants to present a number of “different perspectives” in Modern Warfare, but doesn’t want to leave the player with the impression that any one of those perspectives is the “right” one, which is absolutely fair enough.
What we want you to come away with at the end is an understanding of why all these different groups fight, or groups like them, and to have empathy for I think all of them.
Modern Warfare might not directly call out some of the most pressing issues of politics today, but any game that wants to tell a realistic story about global conflict, features a level with child soldiers, and stars a rogue Russian general as its main villain is inertly political – whether you like it or not.
Where I think a lot of people take issue with games they see as “political” is when the game appears to come down on the side of a certain perspective, but a game can absolutely be political without attempting to make a specific case for the left or right – it can address certain themes and concepts without appearing to preach.
It sounds to me as if Modern Warfare is attempting to do just that, but any claims that the game isn’t going to political come off as just a little hard to swallow.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.