Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is quickly gaining pre-release notoriety as a center of controversy. First, there was the "No dedicated servers for PC users" flap (although, truth be told, that's more of an inside-gamer thing, not likely to be of interest to the larger culture), then the leaked video that showed that, for at least one level, you inhabit the body of someone taking part in a terroristic bloodbath in an airport. Today, there's a "viral" style promo video for Modern Warfare 2 that is, at best, in questionable taste.
The video was posted on YouTube over the weekend and stars a digitized version of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels delivering a mock-PSA about "grenade spam." The ad ends with the phrase "random grenades are for p*ssies." It is followed with a credit message saying the PSA was brought to you by "Fight Against Grenade Spam." You can figure out why the fake organization's name is offensive for yourself.
Infinity Ward pulled the video, and community Manager Robert Bowling tweeted that the ad was "more of a social commentary joke of that stereotype than it was a fist-bump of acceptance to it." Right. So Infinity Ward says it was just mocking the people who hold homophobic views as opposed to actually being homophobic... except I've seen the video, and there's nothing in it to indicate this is the case.
Usually, I leave the soapbox to Adam Sessler, but this time, I'm going to weigh in by pointing out that I spent the weekend playing The Ballad of Gay Tony and was pleased and surprised by the positive relationship between Luis Lopez and Gay Tony, and the respect shown to the homosexual community as a whole in that game, so this Modern Warfare 2 thing is doubly disappointing in contrast -- shouldn't we be past this kind of casual, backyard slur in the game community? If not from the players, at least from the professionals? Judging from the discourse on public channels of the last COD, Infinity Ward should are the last people who should be encouraging slurs against gay people; there's enough of it without the company's tacit approval. Besides, isn't that a violation of their own Terms of Service?
Sessler and I have much the same views on this kind of thing; check it out: