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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

US Marine: "White Phosphorus isn't something to be taken lightly"

A former soldier talked about the chemical and its portrayal in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Back in July we got an insight into the killstreaks coming in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and a discussion was ignited around the inclusion of White Phosphorus, a chemical that's been known to deal devastating damage in real warfare.

Former US marine John Phipps wrote in IGN about the real consequences of the weapon, and what it means for Infinity Ward and Activision to include it as a reward in their shooter.

"White Phosphorus isn't something to be taken lightly. That doesn't inherently mean it has no place in games, as Spec Ops: The Line showed us with its brutal depiction of the aftermath of a WP strike. Weapons like this and the resulting horror they inflict can be handled with nuance, and respect for the reality around the weapon itself, as well as our history with it. Spec Ops: The Line not only treated WP with gravity and horror, it also depicted the psychological effect it can have on the soldiers responsible for using it when confronted with the results," he writes.

"But I find Modern Warfare's use as a killstreak reward a nearsighted glorification of what myself and others consider to be a violation of the laws of armed conflict. Contrary to their overall goals towards realism in its campaign, the multiplayer mode in CoD doesn't depict the effect White Phosphorus has on the human body in any kind of realistic way - the developers' statement in response to their controversial choice to include the weapon actually cited this as a defense. In real life, you don't take mild damage and stagger away, coughing with impaired vision; you scream in agony as you slowly melt while your organs systematically shut down. I don't object to things like WP being examined in games, so long as we depict them as they truly are: a means of causing an extremely painful, slow, and unnecessarily horrific end to a human life."

"I don't believe something as legally and morally questionable as White Phosphorus is appropriate in the very specific way Infinity Ward is applying it here. As someone who's seen first-hand what can happen to the human body in combat, I wish Infinity Ward would give this one a bit more consideration."

What do you make of the use of the killstreak?

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

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