IN A NUTSHELL:
- Co-founder of Sledgehammer Games believes that CoD: Modern Warfare can be too realistic about war;
- Controversy can be deliberately triggered to increase interest in the game;
- Michael Condrey no longer works in the studio and currently has no connection to the Call of Duty franchise.
The co-founder of Sledgehammer Games was recently interviewed by VentureBeat. During the conversation, a controversial topic appeared releated to the recently announced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (developed by Infinity Ward), connected with a very realistic way of depicting war. Michael Condrey fears that the game has been intentionally designed to evoke negative media coverage. In his opinion, the publisher may be responsible for this.
There's no such thing as bad publicity?
"I maintain that video games are the most important art form of our time. I respect every developer who strives to deliver their work as an extension or reflection of their artistic vision. That said, MW seems like a tough challenge for any studio, especially if they are being pushed by publishing to be more controversial and “darker” for the sake of headlines," said Condrey.
The developer has worked on many parts of the Call of Duty series, including Modern Warfare 3 and WWII. The games from this series often featured controversial scenes, but in his opinion the latest installment may be going too far in some places.
I absolutely loved the original Modern Warfare series, and working on MW3, at the height of the franchise’s popularity, was a special opportunity. I also believe in creative freedom and artistic expression in our medium. Our efforts on MW3 were focused on storytelling in a universe that dealt with intense conflict but was also very clearly fictional. And with WWII our team strived to pay tribute to a conflict like no other. But the world has changed a lot in the last decade and events like Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and Christchurch are real and heartbreaking. So, I’m torn to be totally honest," explains the creator.
The realism of war versus controversial stereotypes
There are many problems. It is not only about brutality, but also about fundamental issues such as the setting of the action. The Middle East has been a very brutal war-torn place for years, where many people die every year. According to Michael Condrey, however, attempts to present this region should avoid simple black-and-white stereotypes.
"The creative challenges of realistic “modern warfare” are complex. Western “heroes” killing “villains” in the Middle East simply isn’t good enough. Equally, I hope the game’s stated goal to depict the realism of war was an unfortunate choice of words, rather than the actual intent to depicting the unspeakable atrocities that are the reality of today’s modern conflicts," said the developer.
It is worth noting that Michael Condrey no longer works at Sledgehammer Games and is not connected with the Call of Duty franchise - the developer founded his own company a few months ago and his opinions on CoD: MW are based solely on the presentation he had the opportunity to see at E3 2019. The developer wants to design games that "respect the global community" and approach topics such as ethnic minorities, equality and acceptance with caution. It cannot be ruled out that, despite his previous professional experience, Modern Warfare is simply not a production in his style.
"We want to make a more significant change to our new studio, and our creative process, to not only respect gamers, but be respectful of our global community with thoughtfulness to the themes of ethnicity, equality, and acceptance. I don’t believe the goals of creating world-class entertainment and also delivering a creative that is inclusive and welcoming to a global audience are at odds. If so, Pixar and Marvel Comics Universe never got the memo," concludes the dev.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will debut on October 25 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - official website
- Activision - homepage