Before starting the campaign for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a dialogue box appears with a warning for players. It says, “DISTURBING CONTENT NOTICE: Some players may find one of the missions disturbing or offensive. Would you like to have the option to skip this mission?” The player can either pick “Yes, ask me later” or “No, I will not be offended.” When I first played the game, I was shocked that Infinity Ward felt it necessary to include this type of warning in a game with a mature rating, as the game’s intended audience is people old enough to handle these kinds of graphic images. Along with this, because of the importance of the mission’s contents to future aspects of the story, I believe that players should not have the option to skip the mission.
The mission in question is entitled “No Russian,” in reference to the fact that the player and the Russian terrorists he has infiltrated are instructed by their boss to only speak English. A video of the mission’s gameplay can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhslvePOPbE, although be warned it is not safe for work. Anyways, the mission has the player assume the role of deep-cover CIA agent Joseph Allen, who has infiltrated a group of Russian ultranationalist terrorists. The terrorists are carrying out a massacre at a Russian airport, killing everyone they see with heavy machine guns and grenades. However, the success of the mission does not rely on whether or not the player decides to assist in the killing of innocent civilians or airport security. The images throughout the mission are certainly graphic and disturbing, but they are necessary in portraying the terror and brutality brought upon by the actions of these terrorists. At the end of the mission, the terrorist boss (Makarov) reveals that he knows Joseph Allen’s true identity and kills him (i.e. the player).
Leaving behind the body of an American agent at the scene of the massacre was Makarov’s plan all along, confirmed by how he ordered all the terrorists to only speak in English. He sought to deceive the Russian government by tricking them into believing that United States was responsible, in order that they invade the United States. His plan is totally successful, and this mission begins the cascade that leads to the start of World War 3. Later on in Modern Warfare 3, the player gets to hear Makarov as he states, “The bigger the lie, the more likely people will believe it,” referencing back to this mission from Modern Warfare 2.
All in all, I believe that players of this game should be forced into playing this mission. The game is rated mature for a reason: it is supposed to have violence and graphic content. It is expected that people who buy the game are mature enough to handle these circumstances. It is not the game designers fault that ignorant parents buy these types of games for their ten-year old children. Not to mention, the actions taken out in this mission are absolutely vital to understand the events that follow in the story. Without playing “No Russian,” players would have no understanding of why Russia invaded the United States and chose to start World War 3. Furthermore, they would have less of an appreciation for how evil Makarov, the series’ primary antagonist, truly is. Thus, because of the mission’s importance to the story and the game’s mature rating, I do not believe that players should be given the option to skip “No Russian” in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.