Millions of people play Call of Duty, and even in spite of Ghosts' sales not quite hitting the same fever pitch as Black Ops II's, the series' legacy – and influence – has taken hold to the point where it likely won't diminish with any severity any time soon. But what are the broader implications that a war games series like this contains?
An interesting new editorial over at Edge explores this particularly revelatory question by looking, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, at the series' narrative campaigns. The argument here is that since the Russian invasion of America in Modern Warfare 2, CoD's America has been portrayed as the victim of constant foreign aggression – and that you're forced to respond in kind to terrorist threats when the chips are down.
That may all be well and good in terms of theoretical interests of national security – in the real post-9/11 world the United States has generally (for better or worse) taken on a more aggressive role in rolling out military counter-measures wherever perceived threats exist. Where CoD varies is how it posits the "normalcy" of military might , whereas once whatever foreign invaders have been vanquished, the U.S. armed forces resume their own brand of "diplomatic" control.
"The goal of these games isn’t peace – it’s the restoration of the status quo, with America’s military dominance reasserted and its enemies utterly vanquished. That’s a disturbing message to propagate," reads the piece. In other words, it sounds a bit like wartime propaganda.
Both Call of Duty and Battlefield focus advertising on the fun of wargames through the lens of multiplayer, and, to be fair, any modern military shooter is much more Michael Bay than The Hurt Locker, with day-to-day escalating campaign scenarios that would in real life continually break records for "most exciting military action ever recorded" ad nauseum.
Still, there's some real food for thought here – echoing the masterful Spec Ops: The Line – which puts some perhaps much-needed perspective on the impact of a digital battlefield. Read the whole piece via the link below.