The original teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Cold War has been replaced by an edited version removing a reference to the Tiananmen Square protests.
Call of Duty: Cold War was officially confirmed on August 20 after fans played an elaborate alternate reality game to unveil the teaser. The original teaser featured footage of student protestors on top of an armored vehicle during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. This footage, which appeared for only a second, was removed on Chinese platforms.
Call of Duty’s Youtube channel has since barred the original teaser from public view by making it private and replaced it with an edited version that runs for 1:01 as opposed to the original teaser’s 2:02 runtime.
Fans immediately saw the irony of the situation. Call of Duty: Cold War is heavily implied to be a game about government cover-ups and malicious police states but the marketing has been altered (for all audiences, not just the Chinese market) to meet the media standards of the Chinese Communist Party. Comment sections for the new trailer and the older trailer have been swarmed with viewers trolling Activision, the game company which publishes the Call of Duty series.
The Chinese government has actively suppressed discussions about the Tiananmen Square protests and has routinely imprisoned any activists attempting pro-democracy demonstrations. In the past decade, game companies have carefully tuned their games to be more palatable to the CCP’s screening board since the Chinese market represents millions of potential sales.
Blizzard Entertainment, which merged with Activision in 2008 to form Activision Blizzard, came under fire in 2019 for how it handled the Blitzchung controversy. Taiwanese Hearthstone player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung was banned and prevented from receiving his tournament winnings when he expressed solidarity with Hong Kong protestors.
Blizzard’s disciplinary actions drew outrage from fans and even American politicians. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Marco Rubio, Ted Wyden and other members of Congress issued a signed letter calling for Blitzchung to be absolved of any wrongdoing.
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If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s article on the Call of Duty: Cold War leak that suggests the series is going back to its roots.
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