Activision censored the Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War trailer because China wasn’t stoked on it


Every year it seems like there’s some new controversy around the annual shooter franchise and it’s starting even earlier than usual in 2020. Remember that really cool trailer Activision released for Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War last week? Well, China wasn’t all that keen on it, which prompted the trailer to be altered for the entire world.

Second place

The trailer in question focused on real-life footage pulled directly from documentaries and videos shot during the Cold War with the tagline, “Know your history or be doomed to repeat it” rounding out the game’s teaser. One of the clips used was footage from the Tianenmen Square massacre, which is an event China likes to heavily censor because, you know, it was an atrocity that resulted in thousands of dead protesters. Seeing the less-than-a-second long clip used in the new Call of Duty trailer, Chinese officials banned the original version of the trailer.

Which, while pretty crappy by itself, would probably have been accepted and forgotten about by the rest of the world. China is a huge market that Activision can’t lose from a business perspective, so we understand why they would cater to it. Everyone else can still acknowledge that the Tiananmen Square massacre happened, right?

The original teaser trailer.

Not right, apparently

Nope. In a bid to appease China even further, Activision removed the original trailer for the game and replaced it with a newly edited teaser that’s a full sixty seconds shorter. Which is, we can all agree, pretty damn disgraceful. So much for the game’s slogan of “Know Your History”. Never has performative, vapid marketing ever rung so disappointingly empty. What’s most distressing about this incident is that it sets a bit of a standard. China’s no longer just censoring their own media, they’re working that angle into international media and that’s…really dangerous.

The uncensored trailer is still available on other YouTube channels and it remains the first entry that pops up when you search for Call of Duty Cold War. A full gameplay reveal is slated for this evening but after this whole event, we have to admit that we’re not nearly as excited as we were last week.

(Source: PC Gamer)


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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

1 Comment

  1. KlatuBerataNicto on

    Abhorrent that Activision would remove the scene from OUR trailer, and not just China’s version. In a time when communism and marxism are rearing their ugly hear in the US, we should certainly call out companies that kowtow to authoritarian communist regimes. Those that forget their history are doomed to repeat it, and the Chinese certainly want people to “forget” about Tiennamen. Thanks for this article and calling out these actions, shame more arent talking about it. Good job bruh.

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