Modern Warfare 3's shock London Underground, NYC destruction: Cinematic or Cynical?

Debate: How do you feel about Activision courting controversy?

Everyone with an internet connection has likely seen this morning's Modern Warfare 3 reveal, and there's a good chance a portion you'd have been taken a little aback by its controversial scenes.

As previously revealed, Activision's third Modern Warfare instalment sees New York City left smouldering and heavily damaged following a serious attack by Russian forces.


Smoke rises from battered skyscrapers, while the ground below is covered in tonnes of rubble and dust. An iconic US flag which usually hangs proud outside the New York Stock Exchange is tarnished; left grubby, ripped and flapping over the carnage.

Even more controversial to British readers are the scenes shown in the debut in-game footage, involving a derailed London Underground Tube train. These culminate in the train's carriages crashing and spinning violently through the smoking Tube tunnels, before finally impacting with the concrete support pillars in a cinematic collision.

It's not the first time the Infinity Ward series has courted controversy, of course; the last Modern Warfare included a sequence in which players were ordered to gun down innocent civilians in a Russian airport.

Despite the scene's narrative justifications, the general media went crazy and Modern Warfare's name appeared on television news across the world. But how do you feel about Activision courting controversy once again in the name of PR?

We of course don't yet know how these sequences fit in to the Modern Warfare 3 story - we've only seen a snappy reveal trailer, after all - but that surely won't stop the mainstream media voicing its opinion pretty soon.

Do you think the NYC and London scenes are acceptable given the game's World War 3 theme, and put in the right context? Or do you see them as overtly cynical attempts at building yet more newspaper outcry?