People keep playing old editions of Call of Duty, even after the majority of the community has moved on to Activision’s latest release in the series. Case in point: Just one month ahead of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s release, Activision is issuing an update to 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Rather than bring new content to the last Call of Duty produced by Infinity Ward alongside Vince Zampella and Jason West, Activision is actually removing a multiplayer map from the game due to complaints from Muslim gamers.
A bathroom in the Favela multiplayer map, used in both Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3, featured paintings whose frames are adorned with Arabic script from the Qu’ran that reads, “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty.” Lovely a sentiment as that is, Islamic law dictates you can’t have holy writings in a bathroom. Activisition confirmed to Kotaku that an unspecified number of Muslim gamers complained about the use of this script.
“We apologize to anyone who found this image offensive,” an Activision spokesman told Kotaku, “Please be assured we were unaware of this issue and that there was no intent to offend. We are working as quickly as possible to remove this image and any other similar ones we may find from our various game libraries. We are urgently working to release a Title Update to remove the texture from Modern Warfare 3. We are also working to remove the texture from Modern Warfare 2 through a separate Title Update. Until the TU is ready, we have removed the Favella multiplayer map from online rotation.”
Why work “urgently” to remove content from a three-year-old game? “Activision and our development studios are respectful of diverse cultures and religious beliefs, and sensitive to concerns raised by its loyal game players. We thank our fans for bringing this to our attention.”
This sort of censorship isn’t new in the gaming industry. LittleBigPlanet’s 2008 release on the PlayStation 3 was delayed so that Toumani Diabate’s song “Tapha Niang” could be removed from the game. The song’s offense was that included the recitation of two Qu’ran passages in the background. Xbox fighter Kakuto Chojin was actually removed from retailers in 2003 when it was discovered that verses from the Qu’ran appeared in the theme song of Muslim character Asad.