Call of Duty development team Infinity Ward announced a commitment to fight racism within its games’ online community through increasing moderation and improving its systems to report racist behavior.
The team is also delaying the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s fourth season, which was planned to launch this past Wednesday, to an unspecified date. The same is true for Call of Duty: Mobile’s seventh season, developed by TiMi Studios. “Right now it’s time for those speaking up for equality, justice and change to be seen and heard,” Call of Duty’s Twitter account stated in a post.
Although details are sparse right now, Infinity Ward stated on its own Twitter account that it would be adding resources to report racist content, as well as new filters and restrictions on name changes. The post also stated Infinity Ward would be evaluating how to make it easier to report such content and increase permanent bans for repeat offenders.
“There is no place for racist content in our game,” Infinity Ward stated in the post. “This is an effort we began with launch and we need to do a better job.”
There’s nothing Infinity Ward can do, sans something drastic such as completely erasing voice chat and usernames, to fully stamp out racism in its own games. But perhaps there’s something to be said about the Call of Duty series’ fetishization of the military and eurocentric ideals which add to the problem, making itself most palatable to people for whom these themes resonate the most with.
Furthermore, many people have rightly called out the fact that it took a worldwide movement of massive protests for Infinity Ward to, seemingly, take racism in its games seriously. If it was an option for Infinity Ward to stamp out racist players before, why has it taken until now for the team to take it seriously? The post does make an explicit apology to players, but that certainly doesn’t make it right.