Sony have announced that they won’t be selling Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on the Playstation Store in Russia.
So far the company has not really confirmed why, though some have speculated that it might be because of the game’s Russian villains.
Call of Duty games have been criticised in Russia before on the grounds of in-game Russian villainy. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s notorious level ‘No Russian’, which featured Russian terrorists brutally killing civilians, led to the game being banned by Russian authorities.
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It is possible that Russian authorities are unhappy again. When Activision released some of the game’s plot details in an online blog, they explained that the game would feature: “Military operations across the globe, where morality is sure to be tested.”
One of the central characters is Farah Ahmed Karim, a female leader in the Urzikstan Liberation Force, who reportedly fights against Russian occupation.
The blog notes her opposition to Russia, as well as various factions included in the game: “Farah Karim’s modern beliefs have had far-reaching effects, and occupying soldiers often directly hunt and target her. Labelled a terrorist organisation by the Russian government for their long-standing resistance, Russian soldiers are ordered to make no distinction between the terror group Al-Qatala and the liberation fighters under Farah’s command. AQ terrorists pursue Farah and the ULF with a mandate to kill.”
Farah’s Lieutenant and brother, Hadir Ahmed Karim, has an origin story that’s also seemingly kicked off by Russian aggression.
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The blog says: “Hadir’s life changed irreparably when General Barkov’s rogue army rolled into Urzikstan and in a matter of minutes, imposed their will, blanketing his hometown with ordnance and poison gas. One minute, Hadir was doing homework and the next, he was trying to escape rifles, gas bombs and capture. Too young, small and scared, Hadir has always been haunted by guilt over his inability to render more aide. With the help of his sister Farah, they attempted to escape, but were both apprehended and taken to a prison camp.”
We’ll have to wait and see if this is a temporary measure. Activision is yet to offer an explanation on the game’s removal from the the Russian store.
In the one statement it’s made so far Activision confirmed on the company’s Russian Twitter account that “Sony Interactive Entertainment has decided not to sell Modern Warfare on the PlayStation Store in Russia at this time. We look forward to launching Modern Warfare digitally in Russia on 25 October on PC via Battle.net and on console via Xbox.”