Modern Warfare 2's controversial 'No Russian' level explained

by Gaetano 'Xbot' Prestia Featured 14 Comments 28 Votes 2599 Views 03/08/2012 Back to News
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The controversial Modern Warfare 2 scene in which players are tasked with terrorising and killing innocent civilians in an airport has been explained by its crafter, Mohammad Alavi.

"No Russian" was a level that received global news coverage and condemnation for its ruthless killing objective. Mr Alavi explained that the level was created to "sell why Russia would attack the US, make the player have an emotional connection to the bad guy (Makarov)."

"In a first person shooter where you never leave the eyes of the hero, it’s really hard to build up the villain and get the player invested in why he’s bad,” Mr Alavi explained.

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This motive, however, was questioned, seeing as the Makarov was sidelined for the rest of the game so that he could appear in Modern Warfare 3.

“What’s relevant is that the level managed to make the player feel anything at all,” Alavi said, referring to three opportunities in which players can opt to skip over the level all together. “In the sea of endless bullets you fire off at countless enemies without a moment’s hesitation or afterthought, the fact that I got the player to hesitate even for a split second and actually consider his actions before he pulled that trigger – that makes me feel very accomplished.”

Source: Magic Wasteland

What do you think of this? How does this moral motive compare to games like, say, Spec Ops: The Line?

By Gaetano Prestia

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Modern Warfare 2's controversial 'No Russian' level explained Comments

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In the original interview the guy actually owns the dev, pretty much makes him out to be an idiot LOL
Firstly, Spec Ops: The Line felt like a horrible revamp of BulletStorm. Didn't like it at all...

But in response to the 'No Russian' level, I think it was a brilliant masterpiece. I knew that the devs wanted me to feel hesitant which was the crazy thing. And I hesitated for a long time before opening fire, albeit mostly to end the misery of people that Makarov left suffering from their wounds.
Kind of a random time to suddenly come out and discuss this
Fair enough. I think that consider what he's had to say here, there is at least some substance behind it, and they obviously did as much as they could to tell the story they wanted to tell. Let's be honest: MW2's gameplay mechanics aren't especially...wide reaching ;) It's not like they had the freedom of MGS or Uncharted.

It was a fun scene I thought *shrugs*
I pretended to shoot at the people. I have le heart.
It's not a 'Kind of a random time to suddenly come out and discuss this' at all. Isnt there another CoD of some description coming out soon or just has? Wouldn't chatting about this 'Controversial' level bring some heat and attention toward their newer things?
I'v lost count on what CoD or Modern Warfare we are up to now, 20? 30? Ehh, still not buying it.

And btw, this mission was probably the best thing to come out of CoD. Not only does it make you think before you open fire, but it makes you feel something instead of 'shoot the bad guy'. Of course.. the rest of the game is only 'Shoot the bad guy' so it doesn't exactly level out.

Makra said: Kind of a random time to suddenly come out and discuss this



I think he's talking about it now because of the end of the Activision vs Infinity Ward trial. He was under a gag order previously.

ESarkisian said: Firstly, Spec Ops: The Line felt like a horrible revamp of BulletStorm.



Spec Ops: The line -> Bulletstom . Never seen the leash or kill combo`s from Bulletstorm in Spec Ops and ones a FPS and teh other is 3rd person o.O....? 2 diff games lol.
I would have had to search that whole airport to find a single **** to give about this level. I mowed them down with the other Ruski's without a seconds hesitation.

Every COD game coming after COD4 felt like a 12 year old trying to write something he thought was clever after reading some Tom Clancy books. Simply put, the game was too stupid to evoke any emotional attachment from me; so there was no hesitation at all. Also I was acutely aware I was playing a video game.

DayZ is an online game with more bugs than zombies (oh and it has Zombies..) and yet I find this infinitely more immersive. If a lowly online mod is more immersive than this scripted, story driven solo campaign... Well they're not doing a great job are they?
I was aware I was playing a video game, but I still refused to kill civilian's in this level. Hell in any game I play I try to not even accidentally shoot any civies...
Disgraceful length to go to just for some useless character development, lazy writing.

Having said that, I opened fire, didn't really bother me it's just a game. Don't see how you can justify it by saying it was important for those reasons, it was not, they knew what they were doing and would have reviewed the decision endlessly (the original release had the decision option!).
It was for the publicity...
Which leads to teh muniez.

Zailee said: It's not a 'Kind of a random time to suddenly come out and discuss this' at all.


The things for which people sign up to argue about... [MOG]

Ok, it turns out it wasn't a random time to suddenly come out and discuss this, as @Beta revealed. Your reason for saying that it wasn't is just dumb though. The next CoD game coming out is Black Ops 2, which is in 3 months. Connection between Blops 2 and MW2? Pretty much none bar the CoD name. Different developer, different sub-franchise, 2 other CoD titles released since MW2 and 3 years between their release dates. 3 years ago MW2 was released... [Facepalm]

Seemingly random? Arguably so.
People who couldn't tell this scene was an important part of the story and what actually triggered the events following this scene must be so painfully stupid.
Then again, Infinity Ward doesn't create the most immersive stories..

I don't know what to say to the people who actually felt something during that mission.
[Facepalm]

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