Call of Duty, as a franchise, is about the multiplayer. The game comes out, some people burn through the single-player campaign, but most people just boot up the multiplayer and get to work leveling up. This has let the franchise get away with some stunts it really should have been called out on. And next year’s will either be a good step for the franchise, or a headache-inducing mess.
First of all, they teamed up with Vice. Secondly, apparently the next Call of Duty game, which will be from Sledgehammer, will be about private military corporations:
To their credit, this short video, which is essentially a teaser for the big reveal of the plot of the next game, does actually bother to touch on the moral complexity of PMCs, but there are a few problems here.
The video is a bit oversimplified. You cannot just go out and hire an army that will just kill anybody for you; in fact, the UN has explicitly forbidden it, even if the USA never signed the resolution. That doesn’t mean PMCs don’t get up to some very nasty behavior, probably the most infamous being the death of 17 civilians in Nisour Square by Blackwater USA contractors, which is still being argued about in court. But the situation, what PMCs are used for, and what they can legally do is enormously complex.
In other words, this is really not Call of Duty‘s strong suit. They might simply be using this as an excuse to have an enemy you can put a bullet in without feeling bad. Still, we’d rather have this franchise at least attempt to have a serious discussion about the problems of modern war rather than just a thin excuse to trumpet patriotism. So at least they’re doing that right.