Call of Duty: Vanguard is out and it hasn’t been 15 minutes since it’s run into its first controversy. Activision-Blizzard is facing criticism from Arab gamers for its “insensitive” use of the Koran, the holy text of the Muslim religion.
Arab gamers noticed pages of the Koran scattered in one of the game’s Zombies maps, which takes place in Stalingrad. In one of the sections of the map, pages of the book are scattered on the floor, and in some cases stained with blood.
The issue was first noticed by a Twitter user who shared several images of the map with his comments in Arabic. He wrote:
“Brothers, I see pages of the [Koran] on the ground in the zombie map. I see that it should be removed as soon as possible if it is correct.”
It is not out of place for games to place religious scripts and symbols, often without much thought, into their representation. Numerous vampire games feature Christian iconography which is defiled either by the player or as props on the map. And games set in China and Japan often feature Buddhist iconography and statues, some of which can be destroyed.
Gamers upset by the inclusion of the Muslim text were quick to condemn its developer and called for a swift fix.
The game’s publisher Activision-Blizzard has been quick to make a statement apologizing for the issue.
“Call of Duty is made for everyone,” the publisher said in a statement released in Arabic. “There was insensitive content to the Muslim community mistakenly included last week, and has since been removed from the game. It should never have appeared as it did in-game. We deeply apologize. We are taking immediate steps internally to address the situation to prevent such occurrences in the future.”
As observant gamers on Reddit have pointed out, the apology was not shared by Call of Duty’s main English-speaking accounts, prompting rise to even more outrage which will undoubtedly grow as the news makes the rounds.