Activision changes an implied sexual assault scene in the Australian version of Call of Duty: WW2. The publisher requested that the Classification Board re-rate the game after changing a scene that included a “reference to sexual violence”.
Spoilers for the game and the scene in question (which is not graphic) can be found below.
Here’s Why Call of Duty: WW2’s Australian Rating Changed
A report by Kotaku Australia explains that the original version of Call of Duty: WW2 submitted by Activision to the Classification Board included “a reference to sexual violence that is justified by context”. On October 13, Activision submitted a modified version of the game with edits to this particular scene, seeing the game re-rerated to R18+ with consumer advice of “‘High impact violence, online interactivity’.”
The Classification Board describes the original version of the scene below:
In one section of the game, the player controls Rosseau, a female spy, as she infiltrates a German building. While inside, she witnesses a woman as she is dragged by a Nazi soldier into a closet, against her will, screaming, “You’re all pigs!”
Rosseau opes the closet door, as the soldier says, “Leave. This is none of your business.” The player is then given the option to kill the soldier or leave.
If the player chooses to leave, the player closes the door, as the soldier is heard unziping his fly and viewed advancing towards the woman. She screams, “Ah! Get away from me!” as Rosseau leaves.
It is implied that the soldier is going to sexually assault the woman, but at no time is the assault depicted.
In the edited version, female protagonist Rousseau is wearing a pair of trousers and a shirt (instead of a skirt and a shirt) and Activision has removed the audio track of the soldier unzipping his fly. As a result, “In the Board’s opinion, the removal of the audio track means that consumer advice of threat of sexual violence is not required.”
Activision has yet to respond to requests for comment on the story and hasn’t confirmed whether the scene has been changed in other regional versions of the game. However, the publisher likely changed the scene in order to avoid having a warning about the implied sexual assault displayed on the game’s packaging.
While such a warning would generally be off-putting, as the scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse and harassment (as well as the actions by people in other industries) continues, it’s something that players will be especially wary or concerned about.
It’s also understandable why many fans and would-be players of the game wouldn’t be convinced that Call of Duty: WW2 would tackle such a topic with deft or grace. The series is known more for its explosive set-pieces than for its emotional weight.
The game is also set to address racism as well as anti-semitism and won’t shy away from the Holocaust, either. It has yet to be seen whether developer Sledgehammer Games can include these issues in a nuanced and meaningful way but the game will be released soon.
Call of Duty: WW2 will be released on Windows PC, PS4 and Xbox One on November 3.
Like this post? Like J Station X on Facebook.