COD No Russian Design Thinks Fellow Developers Are Overreacting

2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II is remembered, among other things, for the controversial “No Russian” mission where players walk alongside a terrorist and kill innocent civilians at an airport. Designer Mohammad Alavi talks IGN about this mission, saying that some people within developer Infinity Ward objected to it and said it was offensive. Additionally, Alavi mentions how a military veteran was brought in to test the mission and he ends up putting the controller down and exiting.

“There are some people in our company who are (opposed to No Russian),” Alavi said. “I thought they were overreacting, but they were 100% right. I remember someone being like, ‘This is offensive. I don’t want to play at this level.'”

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Infinity Ward co-founder Jason West made the decision to include a content warning before the mission and give players the ability to skip it entirely. Alavi initially did not want to do this because it felt “restrictive.”

“I felt like that was almost ‘It’s not worth you playing.’ But Jason West was the one who was like, ‘No. We need this.’ And he was right,” Alavi said. “He was like, ‘It’s not about being a cop. It’s about letting people enjoy the rest of the game, even if they don’t agree with this part.'”

Also in the interview, Alavi talked about how Activision brought in a military veteran to play Modern Warfare II, and if this guy got to the No Russian level, he couldn’t crack it.

“He got to that level and the doors were open, and he knew right away that they were all civilians. And he just put the controller down and left the room,” said Alavi. “He was like, ‘I’m not playing at that level.’ And I was shocked. I was like, ‘Wow. Okay. No. This is going to have a strong reaction with some people.'”

The Call of Duty series celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The next release is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, which launches on November 10. The game’s campaign will be playable starting November 2, but only if you preorder.

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