Video game history has shown us that not even games are immune to scandals. Whether it's related to the publishers or tied to the game directly, some of the biggest PR scandals in the gaming industry came as a result of Call of Duty and Activision. Many of these scandals have faded into distant history, but they're still worth mentioning. Today we're going to cover the biggest scandals in Call of Duty history, and how they affected the COD community.
Activision Blizzard Harassment Lawsuit
The biggest PR scandal to hit Activision is definitely their harassment lawsuit. That came about as a result of Activision higher-ups treating female staff members unfairly. It was mainly centered around Activision's encouraged 'frat boy' office culture that had women feel demeaned and harassed. This allegedly went to the extent of certain female workers not being paid adequately, especially if said staff members criticized Activision management.
Activision has vowed to change certain aspects of its office culture, and its CEO Bobby Kotick gave an official statement saying that they're currently in the process of "rectifying company culture". This statement came as a result of the lawsuit and the fact that many employees left Activision Blizzard in wake of the exposé.
Shortly after all of this drama concluded, Microsoft offered to buy Activision Blizzard, and a very large majority of Activision's shareholders were in favor of this deal. This may have nothing to do with the aforementioned harassment lawsuit. But, the rate at which shareholders accepted the Microsoft deal does show us that statistically, Activision wasn't doing as well as they had hoped.
Nadia Cheating Accusations
Nadia is a new Twitch streamer that has been the face of recent infamy and notoriety in the Warzone community. She advertises herself as the "Best female Warzone player in the world", which is what caused other players to look into her gameplay and history more thoroughly. After analyzing the way she plays Warzone, many people have uncovered clips that look suspicious. Funnily enough, those clips are what later made her go viral.
A large majority of the clips that were submitted as evidence of her cheating do look very odd. This was only exacerbated by her attempts to divert attention from it by turning it into a gender issue. Many people in the Warzone community took to staunchly disliking her as a result of this, and they're still trying to prove that she has a soft aimbot or wall hack.
Her poor in-game performance in the invitational COD Next event made these cheating accusations even more popular. People compared her performance in Warzone to that of the COD Next event, and it didn't add up. Wall hacks or not, we're never going to know for sure if she is cheating.
DrDisrespect Blasts 'Ricochet' Anti-Cheat
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019, Warzone, and Infinity Ward have always been the target of hackers, and Warzone went through a terrible cheating epidemic a few months back. This is why Activision and Infinity Ward came out with a new anti-cheat that would specifically tackle cheating called 'Ricochet'. The marketing campaign for this was big, and people finally thought that blatant hacking in Warzone would be reduced.
Dr Disrespect, a huge Twitch streamer centered around FPS and Battle Royale games, took to Twitter a couple of months ago and called out Ricochet for what he thinks it is - "The biggest PR scandal.". Now, Dr Disrespect harbors this opinion due to how Activision likes to handle these things. He believes that it won't achieve much, even if it's being hailed as the best anti-cheat in Call of Duty history.
When streaming or gaming, Dr Disrespect deals with a lot of cheaters, which is why he feels as if this should've been fixed sooner. He further goes on to imply that Ricochet was likely assembled by a last-minute skeleton team of developers, further suggesting that it's a PR stunt to get frustrated players back to Warzone. Although more blatant hacking was spotted after Ricochet's release, it does seem like it's doing what it's supposed to.
The original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had an amazing campaign that everyone loved (thank you Vince Zampella). But, it did receive a lot of backlash for one particular mission called "No Russian". This video game mission received a lot of criticism for allowing players to participate in a terrorist act, and journalists all around the world flocked to cover this once the game actually released in 2009.
The drama surrounding this mission went on to gather the attention of prominent religious leaders across the world. Famous figures inside and outside of the gaming industry condemned MW2 for the brutality displayed in the mission.
You probably know what happens in "No Russian". We're not really keen about going into detail about it, but rest assured that it's a prominent part of Call of Duty's history.
When it comes down to it, it's impossible to avoid drama and scandals when releasing games for a series as notorious as Call of Duty. Still, that doesn't mean that Activision shouldn't fix the way they manage Call of Duty as a franchise. That also includes changing the way they treat their employees.