We've already had a glimpse at Modern Warfare 3's controversial set piece, but Bret Robbins, creative director at Sledgehammer Games, has suggested that such scenes come not from a desire to try and inflame or simply be gratuitous, but rather from a consideration of what is right for the story.
'We have some moments in the game that I think are pretty shocking, that push the envelope a little bit,' said Robbins, chatting to VentureBeat. 'But like I said before, it’s not a matter of trying to be gratuitous about it, doing shocks for shock value. You always want to push yourself and see if you can push the limits of the medium, and storytelling. We’ve got such a big audience for this game that we want to deliver something that’s memorable. Experiences that people are going to be talking about the next day after they played it, talking about with their friends. It’s really a matter of creating something unique.'
Robbins noted that with this game, the developers really wanted to explore the knock-on effect of a global conflict, asking the difficult questions of what happens when a major city is attacked and looking at responses both military and civilian. The leaked video showed an American tourist family - a father photographing his wife and daughter outside of Big Ben - blown away by a dirty bomb which then proceeds to pump toxic gas into the area.
'We wanted to show, certainly in some particular cases, we wanted to show the effect of war,' continued Robbins. 'What happens if a modern American city gets attacked? What would that be like, what would you see? If you were walking down the street, what would happen? Civilians are part of that, innocent people are part of it unfortunately. But at the same time, it’s really a soldier’s story, it’s about how the soldiers, how the professionals, the elite professionals would react to that kind of situation. What they would do, believably. We worked with a lot of military consultants, guys that really know what they’re doing and how they would respond to these crazy situations. We just do it as realistically as we can, based on what they would do.'