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Treyarch: Black Ops Realism Almost "Went Too Far"

With everything they've done in video games so far, you wouldn't think Treyarch would step over the line.

But apparently, according to what Call of Duty: Black Ops animation director Dominique Drozdz told OPM, the team had to reign themselves in because they "went too far." There are times in the game when close-up kills will happen, and it seems some of this was simply too realistically grotesque. While the game's director, Dave Anthony, said they "completely changed the way we do facial animation" and that "some of the stuff we've done with Gary Goldman's character is amazing," Drozdz adds:

"There were situations going too far. It was a a contextual kill where you were twisting the neck. It was too much. The throat cutting [is] nasty, but that was worse."

This may be one of the first times we've ever heard a developer claim they held themselves back in regards to excessive violence or other offensive material in a game. But perhaps this is a partial reaction to last year's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 from Infinity Ward; the airport scene generated a ton of backlash and controversy. Or Treyarch could be trying to get a jump on the anti-game activists before the game even releases. Who knows?  We're just wondering how the CoD fans will respond, or if they care at all.

Related Game(s): Call of Duty: Black Ops

Tags: cod, call of duty, black ops, treyarch, violent games

10/22/2010 10:18:43 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (81 posts)

TheCrazyMerc
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:36:47 AM
Reply

Wow, talk about overrated for a videogame.

Agree with this comment 15 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

ace_boon_coon
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:38:36 AM
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they should leave in all the blood and guts.

Agree with this comment 15 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Godslim
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:22:26 AM

Exactly it was one of the best thing that came out of w@w

Agree with this comment 7 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Dfreek31
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:39:07 AM
Reply

It is a fine line of being too graphic and being fun. If people cringe at watching their character snap a neck then it could turn into not being fun.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 8 down Disagree with this comment

Ergi
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:49:24 AM
Reply

doubt it was that bad, just a neck snap, no biggie in my opinion.

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:51:56 AM

"just a neck snap, no biggie"

LOL!

Agree with this comment 15 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Godslim
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:23:03 AM

Ergi but be agent 47 :S

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Deleted User
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:52:05 AM
Reply

wow! Thes developers need to grow some....grapefruits. leave it in the game frist MOH developers punked out and look what happen to them. The game got low scores. Now BlackOps they take out this because its "take it to far" i call bs. If you don't like blood and guts and the sound of peoples neck being snaped well i got one thing to say DON'T PLAY THE GAME plane and simple.

Last edited by n/a on 10/22/2010 10:54:55 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:57:13 AM

I'm pretty sure not naming the other multiplayer team Taliban and opting for Opposing Force made no impact on the overall scores of MoH. I also highly doubt removing neck snapping will have any effect on scores or sales. Really, it's just a neat piece of info. Most people won't even realize it was there to miss it being removed.

Also, planes are not so simple. >.<

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Deleted User
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:02:46 AM

edit: plain and simple
dam it my brain is off today

Last edited by n/a on 10/22/2010 11:03:53 AM

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Nlayer
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:08:21 AM

"i got one thing to say DON'T PLAY THE GAME plane and simple."

That's probably why they took it out. If it were in there then people would not play it, losing sales.

It's kind of a bummer for those of us who like gore and violence though. :(

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:20:06 AM

"edit: plain and simple
dam it my brain is off today"

lol at least you know! I can think of some anonymous folks who keep making mistakes after people try to help them out.

Happens to the best of folks! (I'd say best of us, but lets face it, I don't consider myself in "the best")

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Deleted User
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:06:47 PM

@Underdog15 i think i just added u to my PSN is your PSN ID the same as this or some thing different ? If it is i hope u don't mind me adding you.

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:18:12 PM

Yup, PSN is the same as this. I don't mind at all. Anyone from PSXE community is welcome to add me at any time!

What's your PSN so I know which one? There are a couple friend requests I haven't responded to yet open from MW2... I always turn them down. I just wanna make sure I don't delete yours. Thanks!

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Deleted User
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:50:36 PM

@Underdog15: its infamousgodV2_0

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:55:06 AM
Reply

Ever watched a sports highlight and see someone's knee buckle the wrong way or shoulder get thrown out of joint? It definitely makes you twinge.

Physically, up close, snapping someone's neck in order to kill them... if this game is as realistic as it's supposed to be, that would be really grotesque!

In the end, though, I don't really care about it being or not being there. If it is, it just means I'll have to avoid doing that if the wife is around. She already hated me playing games like Killzone and CoD:MW2. lol.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 10/22/2010 10:58:56 AM

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:36:30 AM

My wife doesn't like KZ2 because of Rico's dirty mouth. Other than that she didn't care. Ha

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fluffer nutter
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:39:21 AM

Snapping necks is not "over the top". What a bunch of pansies. Are these soldiers wearing pink now?

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:45:00 AM

LOL!

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coverton341
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:57:01 AM
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You don't think they might possibly be hyping themselves up just a wee bit eh?

"Oh, it was too bloody violent, man. Had to tone it down." sounds a lot like "Please pay attention to us, we know MW2 had the airport scene, but we're hardcore too. So much in fact that we cut some of our hardcore-ness out."

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:58:31 AM

lol, nice. ^.^

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GuardianMode
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:21:55 PM

I feel that may be the issue. MW2 is the big brother that gets all the party invites while W@W sat at home watching TV. Looks like they are trying to step out of big bros shadow. Will it work? That is too be seen.

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FatherSun
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 1:13:12 PM

My sentiments exactly. Its just cannon fodder!

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carl0975
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 4:22:29 PM

I personally think the gore and the death animations in W@W were worse than the entire airport level in MW2(not quality-wise of course, I just can't think of a better way to word it right now), that level was about as bad as 5 minutes of any given GTA game.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 5:38:57 PM

HUGE difference. GTA glorifies commting crimes, World at War glorifies killing Nazi's. I don't see a problem with the latter.

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carl0975
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 10:07:45 AM

Jawknee, I was talking about the fact that it's just killing innocents and cops for that level, something that's done constantly in GTA, but because MW2 was a war game, it became controversial(soldiers killing soldiers is ok, civilians killing civilians is ok, but apparently soldiers killing civilians isn't)

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Maiq The Liar
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 10:59:25 AM
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Now im not a hardcore gamer (only got 4 ps3 plat's) but the most gory death ive seen thats sorta realistic, was on fallout 3 when i blew a raiders head off with a shotgun. But yeah.. they shouldn't have held back & just made it an 18 rated game, or is it already, i dont keep up with cod much.

Last edited by Maiq The Liar on 10/22/2010 11:01:23 AM

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PAKINIPS
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:00:37 AM
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I'm annoyed at how interested I am in this game. I might have to Give in and buy a cod game after all

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Maiq The Liar
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:02:43 AM

Just make sure you dont get addicted!

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:20:03 AM

If it's your first CoD buy I'm sure it will be the best one to get since it is the newest.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:18:45 AM
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I doubt the death animations are more realistic than the ones in Killzone 2.

The animations in MW2 were retarded. You shoot some one in the back while their running away, they fall backwards when they should fall forward. in fact it seemed they fell the same way no matter how they got shot.

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:21:47 AM

I love the ragdoll effect when on a narrow platform... it's like the programming doesn't know if it should be falling, getting blown up, or stopping... lets hope the new one has better physics.

Scratch that....

Let's hope the new one has physics.

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Godslim
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:24:08 AM

mate you'll luv the new k3 close combat kills.....i cant get enough of em in the beta

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:32:54 AM

@Underdog, LOL! sometimes it's kind of funny. Like in Bad Company 2. Others it can ruin the experience like in AC2.

@Godslim, oh I'm looking forward to it. Yet another innovation on part of Guerilla Games when it comes to adding realism. Those close combat kills look amazing.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/22/2010 11:37:44 AM

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Godslim
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:55:42 PM

its so satisfiying going up behind some and jabbing your knife into em
my fav one are then ones when some is faceing towards you.....i love it when your character just shoves a knife in there face :D

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frostface
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:24:09 AM
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I think I remember overall, World At War was a lot more bloody then MW2. MW2 only had that airport scene that could be considered controversial imo. So have they tamed Black Op's more than MW2 or World At War? I'm not too bothered either way but if I had to choose, I'd rather they turned out W@W quality gore at the very least.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:30:08 AM

You remember correctly. In World at War you could take off limbs depending were you shot the enemy. MW and MW2 had that aspect of the violence toned down. Which is fine but as I said before, there is no FPS with better physics and death animations than KZ2. I think GG said they had over 10,000 death animations in KZ2.

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frostface
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:31:54 PM

I agree, KZ2 was a fantastic game and they really nailed down the death animations better than I've seen in any other FPS. I hope when they tone down the language (which is silly imo), they don't tone down the death animation physics. Of course this brutal melee sounds like they've gone the other extreme, bringing it to the max...at least I hope so!

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:48:52 PM

Yea they said they toned down the cursing. I don't mind a little but it was just retarded in KZ2.

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maxpontiac
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:26:48 AM
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I don't know... I guess I am just tired of Call of Duty.

The 6 vs 6 gets old quick.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 11:34:17 AM

Tell me about it. After Killzone 2 and Bad Company 2 I can never go back to 6 on 6. Even Medal of Honor supports more players online.

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:19:15 PM

Search and Destroy would be WAY better with bigger maps and more people.

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Godslim
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:56:50 PM

there is 9 v 9 ground war guys
yeh s and d is my fav game mode just coz i luv the thrill of u die once your out for the round

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Underdog15
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 3:31:47 PM

@Godslim
Yeah, but some of the modes are frustrating on the smaller maps. Especially if you're only playing with one or two other friends. Even if you have a good strategy, there's too many dummies that make a tiny map impossible.

Plus, it's rare to get a mode you enjoy. My friends and I prefer Search and Destroy best, although we do other things too.

I remember playing groundwar on Rust. Was the worst experience ever. I remember it well because my friends bug me about it because I curse how un-fun it was even though I did well. 9v9 on Rust is stupid.

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Godslim
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 12:00:34 PM

true yeh on maps like rust its pretty crazy but on others its ok

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:03:13 PM
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I wonder if the death animations are as realistic as their paper thin, flat texture smoke and leaves.

/s

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Hezzron
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:10:57 PM
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This kind of grotesque, graphic imagery turns my stomach. I'd expound on this subject more, but my shift at the abattoir is about to start.

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BikerSaint
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:20:30 PM

Hezzron,

No parboiled Haggis for you then!

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Naztycuts
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:24:06 PM

The good old abattoir. I had to look that up lol

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Alienange
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:32:16 PM
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Wow. Some people really can't read.

He said "where you were twisting the neck"

That sounds a lot more like a Kratos move than a simple neck snapping. Twisting the neck of Helios was pretty damn gruesome but they threw it in. ONCE. The contextual kills in a CoD happen quite regularly and I'm sure what they had was pretty damn gross.

Going that far might be ok in some games but Treyarch knows full well that although war is ugly, games should not be.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:46:19 PM

Was more of a pull off than it was a neck twist. Poseidon was the one who's neck got twisted. ;)

Not a big dea to me. The neck twisting in Killzone 3 doesn't look so "over the top". They should have just left it in.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/22/2010 12:51:33 PM

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BikerSaint
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:42:09 PM

Nastycuts,
LOL, I had to look it up too.

BTW, Don't know if you'd like to to try it, but I use this super quick site called, "Is this a word?" to check out any unusual words.

Just type in the word & the answer comes up in 1 second.

http://isthisaword.com/

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FatherSun
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 3:39:05 PM

You have a point. Maybe they decided to change it because the repetition of this "GRUESOME" act would seem ridiculous. Now if they could maybe animate the same kill but at different angles and intensities it wouldn't seem so lame after thousands of kills.

Killzone is king!

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A2K78
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:45:13 PM
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while its nice to see a developer show some restrain when it come to the level of violence portrayed, I for one would like to see the industry as a whole also show some restraint.

No I'm not advocating censorship, but at the same too much and over-top portrayal of violence is niether good psychologically, socially or for image of the game industry.

Overall this level of retrain still doesn't change the fact that games such MOH and COD pander militarism to gamers.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:53:09 PM

Grown up folks can make grown up decisions about their choices of entertainment and should be able too without a lecture from the likes of conspiratorial nutters.

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FatherSun
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 1:53:10 PM

Restraint should be considered according to the content. WAR is ugly plain and simple! If a developer is creating a game for children then limiting the content is advisable. As an adult I can handle explicit and graphic material, and if a developer can make a realistic representation then I am all for it. As long its not blatant. Gallons of blood is tacky. It ruins the immersion.

@ Jawknee, Ain't that the truth! Too bad the masses do not realize how controlled they are. "shakes finger".... There is always a conspiracy!

Last edited by FatherSun on 10/22/2010 1:54:39 PM

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A2K78
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:45:18 PM
Reply

while its nice to see a developer show some restrain when it come to the level of violence portrayed, I for one would like to see the industry as a whole also show some restraint.

No I'm not advocating censorship, but at the same too much and over-top portrayal of violence is niether good psychologically, socially or for image of the game industry.

Overall this level of retrain still doesn't change the fact that games such MOH and COD pander militarism to gamers.

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MadPowerBomber
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 12:59:17 PM
Reply

I can see where they're coming from. There was a scene in MW2 that featured a contextual kill that I had to put the controller down for a moment before I could continue playing. And it wasn't the airport scene, which didn't bother me at all.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 1:23:31 PM

And what scene was this? i recall no such scene. Not saying it doesn't exist, i just don't remember.

Seriously, how many of you who think this was a good decision played and enjoyed God of War III?

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FatherSun
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:34:53 PM

Im interested to know what scene it is that you speak of as well.

@Jawknee... Id like to see a kill animation like the graphic decapitation of Helios make it into one of these games. Weak stomach gamers would lose it.

Read the labels folks: M: Mature Audience.

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:38:31 PM

I just find it funny and a bit hypocritical. I bet many of those applauding this move would throw a fit if the brutality was taken out of God of War.

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MadPowerBomber
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 11:18:07 PM

Without trying to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't played it, it was when you were playing as the Kevin McKidd voiced character towards the end of the game, repelled down a cliff of some sort and knifed a guy. Your character held him as he died and you watched his eyes just kinda go blank. It was really jarring to me, which I think is saying a lot since I read worse and write worse on a regular basis.

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MadPowerBomber
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 4:42:42 AM

@Jawknee, I never said that this was a good decision or one that I applaud. I simply stated that I understood the decision and where they're coming from. I've read and written far worse than broken necks and brutal decapitations.

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www
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 1:22:43 PM
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MW2 already did what you're trying to do :P

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Naztycuts
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:19:50 PM
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Good for them for knowing how far is too far. I was surprised they brought back the dog killstreak because I remember some girl trying to rally the animal rights activists against W@W months after its release because you shoot attack dogs in the MP. Im glad she didn't succeed, it wasn't like you were disemboweling little puppies or something.

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BikerSaint
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:35:52 PM
Reply

How the f*ck can twisting anyone's neck(no matter how gruesome it is), be more brutal than watching someone's throat get slit, the bloody froth & air bubbles escaping out & watching the last few seconds of terror on their face as they know they're taking their last few raspy gurgling breaths and die???

HEY Treyarch, we gamers who play military styled games certainly can handle you getting real. Really, we can(well at least most of us).!!!!

Just say NO to censorship!!!!!

And BTW, while your at it, try pouring a gallon of Miracle-Gro all over your testicles.

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sirbob6
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:37:23 PM
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Do they realize that KZ3 has neck snapping, eye gouging, back stabbing, and so much more now?

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carl0975
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 4:24:57 PM

KZ3 is immune to negative attention, it's simply too awesome for it, CoD on the other hand, has to tone everything down in order to avoid a media backlash(including graphics, gameplay, story, etc. :P)

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AcHiLLiA
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 2:51:49 PM
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If this is the issue, they a least should have the screen black and white when the gruesome kills occur, just like they did in Manhunt 2.

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FatherSun
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 3:25:06 PM
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Ok, so they are toning down the explicit killing. Fine, but if I see a Director$ Cut Im flipping!

Last edited by FatherSun on 10/22/2010 3:27:47 PM

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Deathb4Dishonor
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 5:18:38 PM
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yea i can't wait for KZ3... I already have it pre-ordered and can't wait for the BETA

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KNG201
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 5:50:04 PM
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if i could see what they are talking about i might believe it. sounds like some bs hype to me.
what i hope they really turn down is them over the top perks...

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THEVERDIN
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 6:02:26 PM
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Off Topic. Is anyone else having problem with the pop-ups not closing.

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Alienange
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 6:33:12 PM

Nope

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booze925
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 6:12:06 PM
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so why does PSX report on this crap but they don't report new single player or multiplayer features? i know u SAY u don't report on multiplayer... but u did with medal of honor
heres some suggestions: wager matches, currency system, theatre mode, new create-a-class depth, newly revealed single player levels...
anything!

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Jawknee
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 6:17:26 PM

It's a conspiracy by PSX to bring Call of Duty to it's knees. There are these dark eeeeeevil men hiding behind closed doors, lead by Ben plotting against Call of Duty and all of its fans. Including you!

/s

Stop whining. What your asking for is more inline with the Previews PSX routinely does. This is NOT a preview.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/22/2010 6:21:15 PM

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booze925
Friday, October 22, 2010 @ 7:30:07 PM

that actually what this is starting 2 seem like.
thanks 4 telling me ur evil plans

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___________
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 2:27:45 AM
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too far?
ah, GOW3 kinda did that i seriously cant see anyone ever taking grotesques violence further than what GOW3 did!
i mean how much further can you go than ripping a guys head off with your own bare hands?
with copious blood, and tendons hanging from his head.
sony, so should of made a dynamic theme of that!

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Steel
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 3:27:31 PM

I think there is a somewhat large different in the carnage between GOWIII and the COD series. Depicting a mythological fiction character to be brutal is somewhat easier to swallow that seing a normal human elisted in the military doing something as graphic as twisting another persons neck to the point of snapping it.

I know I can paint the same picture of gore and place two characters into it. The results however, vary greatly. My girlfriends brother is in the Army, and I would not like to imagine him being harmed that way, but seing a fictional character cut someones head off with the mighty chains of olympus is a little easier for me to stomach because I can always escape to the reality that it isnt real. Difference is, war is real. And that stuff happends to citizens fighting for their country.

All this being said, I dont personaly dissagree with the graphic nature of the neck breaking. MOH and COD are both trying to walk a line between a militaristic FPS and in my opinion, a legit war simulation. The neck breaking is part of the horrible nature of war. I think that the demographic should start considering what they are choosing to pay for and put into their game console before they complain. This is about war, and Treyarch has chosen not to sugar coat it. That is okay in my book.

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t4_robz
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:23:16 AM
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i dont beleive there is such thing as too far when talking about war. both of my grandparents were in poland during the second world war they have told me of all of the things that they had seen been done to inocent people, to their family and to soliders they said it was so unbeleivably graphic that some of it still haunts them today... if people want a war game be prepared for it to be violent because war is nothing but violence, blood and gore. i think by including this type of gore in the game you are actually educating people even more about what war was like for the real soliders. this is no differnt then the airport in mw2, infinity ward was trying to show gamers how terrible terrorism is and how many inocent peoples lives and the families lives it devestates. i absoluetly agree with what they are doing and im looking forward to playing the game.

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berserk
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 5:19:44 PM
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God of war got a grotesque neck twisting up close so i don t see why COD can t do the same .

Ya COD look more realistic but it s still just a game and i really doubt that it was more violent then the way it was done in GOW .

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