"Video Games Are Fictitious Popular Culture"
Another year, another Call of Duty, and yet another tabloid headline condemning our poor old videogame industry. You can't expect to be the biggest entertainment launch in history and not attract some controversy, of course, but criticism from the press and certain politicians targeted at Activision's Modern Warfare 3 felt a little... repeated? And according to Acti's Publishing CEO, Eric Hirshberg, treatment of our burgeoning industry is very unfair in comparison to other violent mediums such as film.
"There's a sense that games are more exploitative in a way that The Hurt Locker —which also was designed as form of entertainment—isn't," Hirshberg explains in a chat with Kotaku. Call of Duty has often been dragged into the public eye by the media and politicians for its depiction of violence, most notably in 2009 for Modern Warfare 2's infamous 'No Russian' sequence, where as part of a terrorist cabal you slaughter innocent commuters in a Russian airport, with no objective other than to cause wanton chaos.
"The producers didn't create The Hurt Locker as a public service," Hirshberg went on to explain. "It was a piece of entertainment that they sold tickets to and sell DVDs with. Yet the movie is seen as an artistic piece, and a game dealing with current events is seen as a crass moneymaker." The Hurt Locker, he explains, was made because its story "needed to be told", a passion Activision can share.
"I think they are an art form, and I think that 'too soon' criteria is not applied to things like Green Zone. Or United 93." Hirshberg is adamant that if Hollywood can get away with re-enacting war scenes or creating their very own images of horror, then why can't videogames, too, be permitted this same pardon? "There will be a time when we look back and find it quaint that video games were so controversial. I think the active ingredient to changing that attitude is time." [Kotaku]