SPOILER WARNING. If you want a tiny part of Modern Warfare 3, which officially hits in just a few days, spoiled, read on. If you don't, this is a post (and comments section) you should skip.
Okay? We all here? Let's dive in.
The above clip was sent to Kotaku, with the tipster writing, "New Modern Warfare 3 Controversy" in the subject line.
The scene brings back memories of Modern Warfare 2's "No Russian", an infamous mission in which the player participates in a massacre of innocent bystanders. There are key differences, however.
Unlike "No Russian", it is not interactive in the same way, and it's not an entire mission. You, the player, don't have the choice whether you'd like to actively join in the destruction or sit back and watch as the scene plays out. There is no moral choice placed before the player.
Here, you can passively control the camcorder during a scene. You are watching. You are a bystander. You are a victim.
If you've made it this far, I'm assuming you've already watched the clip. In it, a young girl is blown to bits. That alone, the senseless killing of a young child, is no doubt what the tipster was alluding to when he noted that he thought this scenes "was just terrible".
Scenes like this, scenes depicting young children being killed, are new to gaming -- possibly because video games have been traditionally viewed as toys. They're not, of course, but that perception most likely has kept game developers away from this territory.
Hollywood, on the other hand, routinely blows up kids, if not put them in harms way. In movies, kids being killed by bombs or nearly being killed by bombs are a quick way to show just how awful the bad guys are, without the intimacy and leftovers of a shooting, and an easy way to evoke viewer emotion.
Yet as unsettling and horrible as it is, we've become increasingly used to seeing scenes like that one from 1987's The Untouchables which showed a little girl being killed by an explosion, that film goers rarely raise a ruckus. As gamers, this sort of stuff is new, but don't be surprised if it becomes old hat. It already is in Hollywood.
Modern Warfare [YouTube Thanks Ben, for the tip!]