Ethical Trangression Vindicated

Here is a short documentary about private military contractors produced by Vice to promote the next Call of Duty jump-and-shoot game. Interview subjects include: Erik Prince of Blackwater, P.W. Singer of the Brookings institution, and David Sanger of the New York Times. The cut at the end—ᴀ ɴᴇᴡ ᴇʀᴀ ᴏғ ᴄᴀʟʟ ᴏғ ᴅᴜᴛʏ ɪs ᴄᴏᴍɪɴɢ—is legitimately startling, even if the branding is otherwise clear.

But is that what they’re talking about right now at Activision? Or at Vice? Tone and propriety and boundaries? The deed is done. Probably not.

Here’s what they might be talking about: Pan your view from Twitter to the YouTube comments, where 4500+ people have posted notes. They’re fans, mostly—the people this video was ostensibly aimed at. Here’s what they have to say.

Yeah, that’s great…now will there be dedicated servers?

-Sounds interesting, but the gameplay is probably going to be just the same.

-This actually seems interesting for once. Now i cant wait to see the game in action!

-Hopefully this isn’t a letdown like ghosts was

-Go back to world war 2 please

-So basically, instead of good vs bad, the next COD will be about how some military service betrays their leaders and makes a full team for themselves? If so, THEN I will be interested.

-Go back in time! I want Vietnam or Korea!

-This would be a great concept. Since I’m assuming you’re playing as PMC, this could go greatly for new features.

Over a million views, 17,966 likes to 1,103 dislikes. Pretty good for an ad campaign OR a news video. Everybody wins

But in an email, Sanger said he doesn’t remember agreeing to be part of an advertisement.

“I was contacted by Vice Media some weeks ago and taped a few short items for what they described as a documentary on private military contractors,” he wrote. “To my memory, there was no mention of Activision or video games.”

An ad so native even its actors don’t know it’s an ad. The form has been perfected!