Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is now out and people are fighting through its campaign.
The gritty story includes a series of set pieces designed to put the player in an awkward situation – and also includes opportunities for player selection.
SPOILERS MAY BE FORWARD.
One of the best levels of the campaign – a raid on a house in Camden Town – sees the player dragging himself into the dark, climbing up the stairs, slowly opening the doors and hopefully checking the targets .
At some point you enter a room and make a mother jump to a bed to take her crying baby. The game has prompted you to consider every person in the house a potential enemy: this is the reality of modern war, we are told, and the bad guys often look good guys. So shoot the mother?
If you shoot the mother, she dies, falling to the ground while the child screams. “What the fuck are you doing?” Says a soldier. “Solve yourself or I'll do it,” adds Captain Price. The baby, still crying, is a problem, you think when you think about what to do next, because it's loud and noisy when you're trying to shut up. One of your soldier friends slowly picks up the baby and puts it back in the cot. From there, you can go on.
Or you can shoot the child.
If you shoot the child, the game ends and starts again from the last checkpoint. In Modern Warfare, shooting innocents or soldiers on your side triggers the game and sees a textual explanation. (I finished a game for accidentally shooting Captain Price in the face – sorry, man!). It is the same if you shoot the child. Receive the message “Children are not fighters” and restart from the previous checkpoint. Clearly, Infinity Ward wants you to know that shooting the baby is bad. Very, very bad.
Here, you would imagine. But if you keep shooting the child, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has a special message for you, absolute monster: “Are you serious?”
And then you are on the mission map screen, the words of conviction of Infinity Ward still ring in your ears.
Here's how it looks. Attention: it is quite disturbing.
It is worth noting you never see the child shoot – if you pull the trigger the game dissolves in black before the blood is displayed – I think it's really a good thing. But anyway: you pulled the trigger on an innocent and defenseless child. Naughty you.
I'm not sure what the takeaway is here. I guess there isn't one! I suspect the Call of Duty community will end up trying many different ways to try to kill the child. I've already seen players try to kill him with a grenade. The modders will have a field day.