Makers Of Blockbuster Video Game Pull Seemingly Homophobic YouTube Ad

Developers of the surefire blockbuster video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 raised eyebrows by producing a viral YouTube ad, a faux public service announcement featuring Philadelphia Phillipes pitcher Cole Hamels as part of a pretend organization called Fight Against Grenade Spam.

The gist is if you’re the type of player who hurls grenades randomly at opponents, you are unfit for online multiplayer and deserve to be the subject of homophobic insults. Infinity Ward pulled the ad, Destructoid reports, after the internets were set aflame by the insensitive acronym.

Infinity Ward Community Manager Robert Bowling posted on Twitter that the ad was meant as satire but strays too far from its intent:

I think the core gag is great, the end is a bit too far from the intent of the joke & can appreciate the concerns. Pulled.

The video isn’t the only controversy the video game is drawing. There’s also apparently a level in the game in which you play as a terrorist who shoots civilians.

Hardcore gamers will be lining up to bring the game home Nov. 10, but the ad could affect fence-sitters. What do you think about the way Infinity Ward handled this dust-up?

Infinity Ward pulls MW2 Hamesl video after Internet furor [Destructoid]

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  1. R3PUBLIC0N says:

    With regard to the terrorist level,
    I haven’t seen the video because I just got to work and this is the first I’ve heard of it.

    Video games provide a unique medium to explore concepts. Putting the player in the hands of a villain who commits acts nearly universally considered evil forces a radically new perspective onto a person. Provoking thought is always a good thing.

    • Zerkaboid says:

      @R3PUBLIC0N: Well said. The developers have defended this portion of the game with a similar argument, adding that it will push the player to really hate the enemy later in the game.

      Years ago there was a PS2 game called “State of Emergency” where the entire purpose of the game was to run around in crowbed buildings and streets and slaughter people. It ran into some controversy but eventually everyone remembered it’s just a game, hopefully it won’t hurt sales of Modern Warfare 2.

      Also, you’re able to skip the terrorist level, a nice touch for anyone who really feels it’s inappropriate.

      • Cyco says:

        @Zerkaboid: Actually, your comment about State of Emergency is incorrect. It was a game about revolting against the government and creating as much property damage as possible, but killing citizens was not a goal and you were penalized health if you did.

    • ElPresidente408 says:

      @R3PUBLIC0N:
      Exactly. One reason I’m sad Konami pulled Six Days in Fallujah. Too much political correctness. Because as we all know, 1 letter of criticism = 1 billion offended people

    • menty666 says:

      @R3PUBLIC0N: It makes me miss “Postal”, where you went around town killing everyone.

      Oh, guess what? That was years ago that I enjoyed playing the game and I haven’t gone on a killing spree yet.

    • mythago says:

      @R3PUBLIC0N: “Provoking thought” is the last resort of the dumbfuck proposal. Okay, it’s stupid, pointless and rude, but hey, it caused some random neurons to fire in your brain so it counts!

    • MSUHitman says:

      @R3PUBLIC0N: Supposedly you’re playing as an undercover CIA operative trying to work into this Russian terrorist group. You are only required to shoot the security personnel, but you can shoot the civilians as your “teammates” if you want, or just stick with the priority targets.

      Nothing that hasn’t been seen on 24.

      • R3PUBLIC0N says:

        @MSUHitman: That completely changes the context. My assumption was that you were in the head of a religious fanatic or some such and you were actually doing your job by shooting civilians.

        If they fix that ridiculous server nonsense and I buy the game, I’ll play the level both ways and see how I feel afterward.

        It’s interesting to put folks in a role where you can murder innocent people with no consequences to your actions, even if there is no benefit to doing so.

  2. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    I haven’t seen the ad, so I’m only going off of the descriptions I’ve read on various websites. Having said that, I think Infinity Ward was shooting for “edgy” and overshot into “offensive”. I’m not up in arms over it but it gets a massive eyeroll from me.
    As an aside, I get so sick of people using “pussy” in a derogatory manner. Yeah, I know it’s Feminism 101, but blah.

  3. Coles_Law says:

    As pointed out elsewhere, much of this controversy could have been avoided if they had thrown an ‘R’ word in to make the acronym FRAGS. It looks like they made the video targeting a small core group of gamers, but it spread to the larger community where many took offense. Well, any publicity is good publicity…

    • glorpy says:

      @Coles_Law: Yup. The core concept of the ad, based on description alone, is awesome. The problem is simply the choice of acronyms. Yes, the f-word is used extensively in online communities. That doesn’t mean it’s appropriate.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Coles_Law: yeah, or fashion the acronym around NOOB.

      anyway, someone should’ve seen this coming.

  4. Pink Puppet says:

    @h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes: Why, hello almost-me! I’ve been a gamer since I grew old enough to realize that gnawing on an Atari joystick in a futile effort for sustenance was meaningless, and FPS ended up being one of my favorite genres.

    But multiplayer? Keep that away from me!

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @Pink Puppet: I was lucky in that my dad got me started on gaming really young. He brought home a copy of Wolfenstein 3D and I was done for. I treated the Apogee catalog like it was the Bible when I was little. Somewhere at my dad’s house he has a great letter from one of my teachers expressing concern because “I heard Tracie talking about killing Nazis. This is very disconcerting to me, and I thought you should be aware.”

  5. CaptainSemantics says:

    The last thing we need is caffeinated teenagers seeing another reason to use a derogatory term for gays. I’m not saying that all video game players are this way (as I have been known to enjoy a game or two), but you have to admit that a lot of hardcore gamers love to throw around that f-word as if it means nothing while playing Halo or whatever the kids are playing nowadays.

    It just seems that someone made an ad that was intended for a small amount of people, forgot about this thing called “the internet,” and got called out on the ad. They kinda did the right thing by pulling the ad, but the *most correct* answer would have been not using that derogatory term.

  6. MostlyHarmless says:

    I think it was pretty well handled. Though SOMEONE needs to come out with a colorful term that rolls of the tongue and conveys a similar sentiment without being derogatory to gay people.

    @CaptainSemantics: Caffeinated teenagers already have more than enough reasons to be all bitchy about ANYTHING. So I dont think one more ad is going to really fan the flames. Also whats wrong with dropping the F bomb every now and then? It makes gameplay fun. And it naturally comes with the adrenaline.

  7. yungjerry703 says:

    i find it more offensive when people call Dallas Cowboy’s QB Tony Homo. They did not refer to the ‘nade spamers as fags they referred to the group against ‘nade spamers as fags. i thought it was a pretty funny commercial. not that there is anything wrong with that.

  8. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    Maaaaaaaah! That loser on the TV said that because I just randomly huck grenades into groups of people in a game, that I’m a cigarette!

    A cigarette Maaaaaah! He called your precious little snowflake a cigarette! Call the lawyers! WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

  9. Smashville says:

    “Philadelphia Phillipes”?

    Somebody wrote their own name in there.

  10. Ronin-Democrat says:

    I denounce and reject them for homophobic comments in commercial but say ignore civilian deaths by terrorists IN GAME!!!!!!!!.

    terrorists
    legitimate military forces
    police
    governments agents
    kill civilians whether purposely or by accident

  11. jayphat says:

    As someone who was egerly awaiting this title, this is far from the worst thing I.W. has done to “promote” this game. Never mind the game add that has a homophobic title to it. Nevermind the opening scene where you play as a CIA operative who has to mow down civilians(hello, we’ve done worse in GTA). The biggest controversy so far has been the removal of the ability to use dedicated servers for MW2 in place of a peer-2-peer set-up managed solely buy Infiniti Ward. On top of that, when uproar arose, they blamed “modders and tuners” for the “minority voice” of this, then revealed a ton of new features for the game that were MADE by the modding community.

    Hardcore 360 gamers will be lining up for this on Nov 10, not PC users.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @jayphat: give it a month & i’m sure the community will have pirate servers up & running w/ a patch to connect to them.

      & sorry if this comment posts twice. gnomes may/may not have eaten the first one…

  12. Covertghost says:

    Eh, if you’re on Xbox Live playing an FPS for more than 5 minutes, you’ll be called a “fag” a few times.

  13. Shadowfire says:

    Uhm… Film Actors Guild, anyone? I fail to see the problem.

  14. TVarmy says:

    Why did they have to use that acronym? It’s otherwise a good campaign. Players hate grenade spam, so it’s a good idea for an ad. TF2 fought it so much that they removed it from all but one classes, and the one class that still has grenades has considerable weaknesses.

    They could have called it NO-GIBS (Gibs is short for Giblets, the body parts that fall after a grenade in a video game), or something clever like that.

  15. grimdeath9740 says:

    Wow, IW scores another point of dumbassery for the what could/should have be one of the biggest game releases this year. Honestly all they had to do was put out a modern warfare game with a big 2 on it and it would sell like hotcakes.

  16. dangerp says:

    For those of you that are wanting to see the ad, here you go:

    Personally, I don’t see the big deal. I see it as a satire of the gaming community, and one that the audience (the gaming community) would understand. I don’t see any homophobic undertones here.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      @dangerp: It’s higher-order homophobia. Not the kind where they come out and say it, but the kind where you have to read between the lines to see that the letters line up to spell “FAGS”.

      Also never mind that, if you use logic properly, someone opposed to grenade spam (not someone who spams with grenades) is a part of FAGS.

    • zentex says:

      @dangerp: that was IT? Oh jesus…the internets is now sensitive.

      We must coddle the internet and stroke its hair so it wont cry.

      I liked the video, and I’m still giving them a wad of cash in 8 days.

    • Sandaasu says:

      @dangerp: I’m a gay man, and I laughed. If you throw random grenades at people, you’re a “pussy.” If you don’t like people doing so, you’re one of the “FAGS.” Everyone’s one of the things that the teenage boys who play FPS games call each other all the time, which is pretty much how they see the world based upon what they have to say.

      Probably not going to buy the game in any case. I’ve got enough on my plate already.

  17. Pink Puppet says:

    @h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes: Yes! My dad was a huge gamer, too. I might not have been the brightest child in elementary school, but I could kill Nazis like you wouldn’t believe.

    @mac-phisto: Hey, I’m cool. I’m just shaking my cane at all those gosh-darned kids.

  18. Doug Nelson says:

    Just an idle suggestion, but wouldn’t the dilution of an epithet caused by using it in for non-traditional meanings be a good thing? It’s worked for a couple of terms due to rap.

    I have to also wonder if there’s aren’t gay clans that react to being called the name by agreeing and then killing said offender? The best thing that could happen (in a gaming context) would be if the term turned into a compliment.

  19. celeb8 says:

    None of this offends me. I’m probably the demographic they’re marketing to with this ad. My gay friends think it was funny, but then again they use the FA* word regularly too.

    So, uh… Oh well? I thought it was funny.

  20. NeoFau says:

    I lol’d at the ad XD

  21. jvanbrecht says:

    @h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes: I have been playing FPS’s since the original Doom came out for 16 player netbui that destroyed university networks :)

    That said, I cannot stand the current crop of FPS console games.. It has introduced too many idiots to the games, and listening to the 12 years olds (I know, you can mute them) is just painful.

    That and how the hell am I supposed to play and aim accurately with a freaking console controller.. I need a damn mouse and keyboard.. nothing fancy.

  22. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    @mac-phisto: Get off my lawn!

  23. subtlefrog says:

    @mythago: so…you’re not going to buy any games, then?

  24. JCWhitless says:

    @Covertghost: Call of Duty: World At War

    In the multiplayer mode you can fight for the fuhrer.

    “Zey zend there hounds, butz thvey twu will vind only deaf”

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    @jvanbrecht: Although, I have to say. Several days ago I was playing Team Fortress 2, non-console. And a pre-pubertal kid joined. With headset. Uh-oh, right?
    He was SO awesome. Polite. Called out the right things. Played thinking of team, not individual (this is the crux of the game). Enthusiasm dripping off of every single word. Didn’t chatter. And at the end, he shouted out what a good time he had, wished both sides a good time, and thanked everyone for an awesome time.

    *SOB*
    Makes me wish I had a kid, that one did. Or a dozen. Every so often, you get a boy playing that reaffirms your faith in humanity.

  26. proskills says:

    @Trai_Dep: There definitely are some kids out there who are not annoying and homophobic. However, a vast majority of them think it’s cool to be a douchebag.

  27. Malicious A says:

    @ngoandy:
    exactly. nobody complains about Rockstar making an ENTIRE FUCKING SERIES about killing civilians and cops and doing drugs and stealing cars, yet someone makes 1 level about a terrorist shooting civilians and everyone is up in arms.