Call Of Duty Trailer Replaced Worldwide Over Tiananmen Square Footage

Call Of Duty Trailer Replaced Worldwide Over Tiananmen Square Footage
Photo: The Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 saw hundreds, if not thousands of students killed by the Chinese military.

The debut trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has been blocked in China, and subsequently edited everywhere else, after featuring around one second’s worth of footage from the Communist government’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989.

When the game was first announced last week, a trailer running for 2:02 was released to the world and hosted on the official Call of Duty and Xbox YouTube pages, along with major trailer sites like IGN and Gamespot.

On August 21, however, the videos on Call of Duty and Xbox’s YouTube pages were replaced with a much shorter, 1:00 version. This isn’t an additional trailer, it’s a replacement, which we know because…the original 2:02 video we embedded in our own story is no longer working, having been marked as “private”.

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Nobody really noticed the switch when it took place, but Hong Kong news site Apple Daily and the South China Morning Post point out that it was definitely noticed in China, where the original trailer was swiftly blocked (it has since been replaced with the edited version) and a lot of people recognised the Tiananmen Square footage and began commenting online.

Here’s the original 2:02 clip, which is still available on both IGN and Gamespot:

The footage in question can be seen at 1:05, part of a longer montage showing various other historical examples of civil unrest in the 1980s, with a group of students attacking an armoured vehicle:

Screenshot: The footage in question lasts for only a few frames.Screenshot: The footage in question lasts for only a few frames.

The new 1:00 trailer, meanwhile, which is now the only Black Ops Cold War trailer on both the Call of Duty and Xbox channels, does not feature that Chinese footage:

I can understand releasing an edited trailer in China, because the CCP’s strict controls over foreign media (and local support of this) is the price you pay for doing business there, but changing everyone’s trailer is a bit much.

Though this is also the part where we mention that Chinese gaming giant Tencent has a 5% stake in Activision, the publishers of Call of Duty.

It’s not the first time Call of Duty’s content has attracted the attention of Chinese censors. Back in 2018, Black Ops 2 was banned from internet cafes when government officials realised that the game featured the bombing of a Chinese city.


  • Yeah. Censor the Chinese version only, don’t affect what the rest of the world sees. These cowards are part of the problem.

  • Wouldn’t the fact that that Chinese Netizens recognised where the footage came from mean that they know about the incident?

    • Yeah, the Chinese people are lot more knowledgeable than some folks give em credit for and have extremely diverse opinions and understandings of events and history, including the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
      The people I’ve spoken to either know about it or don’t care to know.

      It reminds of the the 2019 anniversary where a lot of media outlets went around asking Chinese students about it and showing them the famous footage, choosing to only show those that didn’t or glossing over those who did unless they were critical of the Chinese government.
      Problem is you can show pivotal historic footage to anyone from their own country and most people aren’t going to recognise it, especially the young.

  • I so think that footage shouldn’t be there…. not because it offends the Chinese but because I feel like footage that important shouldn’t be in a CoD trailer….

    • Good point, the footage shouldn’t have been in the trailer to begin with however since it was it’s bullshit that they removed it to placate the Chinese government.

    • Does it offend the Chinese people? Or just the Chinese Communist Party? Because they are not the same thing and the latter is a mob that should be offended at every opportunity.

      This is an event that the world should take every opportunity to remember and educate people about. The first step is getting the footage in front of people so that at least a few of them might wonder what it is and go find out about it. If it takes a COD trailer to do that, then go for it.

      • It’s not about education though, even with every benefit of the doubt it’s not trying to accomplish anything there because that was never going to be in the Chinese version, it’s about a company using this real-world event as part of their marketing to sell a game that’s basically just pro-military propaganda.

        It’s sleazy to begin with, then they double down and immediately sell out over it. There isn’t even the illusion of the sort of integrity this sort of footage is owed.

        • I object to its removal, I have no problem with its inclusion. Just because it won’t be seen in China doesn’t mean that it won’t be seen by Chinese people outside of China. Although there probably aren’t as many of them around at the moment with travel restrictions everywhere.

  • It’s a difficult position for companies to navigate. Keep the footage and risk being locked out of the Chinese market, remove the footage and you are erasing history by following the narrative that the CCP wants to dictate to the world.

  • Never forget, this is the Chinese government’s modus operandi:

    “The suppression on June 4 marked the end of a period of relative press freedom in China and media workers—both foreign and domestic—faced heightened restrictions and punishment in the aftermath of the crackdown. State media reports in the immediate aftermath were sympathetic to the students. As a result, those responsible were all later removed from their posts. Two news anchors Xue Fei and Du Xian, who reported this event on June 4 in the daily Xinwen Lianbo broadcast on China Central Television were fired because they displayed sad emotions. Wu Xiaoyong, the son of former foreign minister Wu Xueqian was removed from the English Program Department of Chinese Radio International, ostensibly for his sympathies towards protesters. Editors and other staff at People’s Daily, including director Qian Liren and Editor-in-Chief Tan Wenrui, were also sacked because of reports in the paper which were sympathetic towards the protesters. Several editors were arrested.”

    — 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Wikipedia

    • It’s almost like you’re unaware what your own government has done to cover up its offshore detention regime or something.

      And its war crimes.

      And its espionage activities.

      You probably want to find out more about that.

      • Does that make what the Chinese Communist Party does ok? How do you know which country Zambayoshi is from, by the way?

        • You mean taking over aboriginal land 200 years ago ? Guess there’s a statute of limitations so I can’t bring that up right ?

          • Are you really comparing colonial-era England actions to the Chinese communist party?

            I’ve heard of big reaches but yours made the grand canyon look small.

  • People love to mention a Tencent investment whenever something about China comes up. They’re a bloody investment company. Chinese or not, it’s what they do. A 5% stake means shit all

  • And what do you good people think would happen if a video game featured footage from:

    – Abused children in Australia’s offshore rape camps
    – One of the dozens of racial/civil rights murders committed in the US in recent decades

    You think Scotty from Marketing or Trump would allow that to fly?

    You need to make the call whether you’re just gullible, ignorant or a crawling bootlicker if you do.

    This isn’t about ‘China’, this is about any State not wanting public airing of its dirty laundry. The only issue is whether said State has the economic clout to get it pulled.

    Pretty damn sure Trump would do a lot more than this if something similar hit his radar.

  • On one hand, what were thinking, in what reality would they let that stay in?! On the other hand, pissweak that as a company they are actively helping a regime gloss over hunan rights, history and actively help censorship…. all for a profit. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect anything different from them, at all. That doesn’t mean Everyone shouldn’t call them out for further enabling a regime’s highly questionable policies.

  • Why censor it for the rest of the world? Same bs for their virus. They start it and pretend it is not theirs.

    • the only bs is people who call the virus China’s. Most of the badness in our country has come from our stupid civilians, stupidly ignoring laws and bad decisions like the Ruby.

        • Sure. And they should’ve contained it better, though they tried.

          But a massive, MASSIVE amount of the blame for how it spread AFTER it left China falls squarely on our thumbs-up-their-asses, head-in-the-sand do-nothing governments around the world who denied the problem out of fear it might hurt the economy, idiotically failing to realize that massive loss of life ALSO hurts the economy, and worse.

          As an analogy: If your neighbour sets your mailbox on fire, that’s their fault. If you stand around refusing to call 000 or put it out yourself because you believe it’s your neighbour’s responsibility to put it out, and it spreads to your house and you STILL do fucking nothing, that’s 100% your fault.

          It might’ve started in China, but governments worldwide – especially the US – made it so, so much worse than it had to be.

          • I am sympathetic to your views on this as a Victorian living through the real consequences of the failures of government to contain the pandemic (particularly at a national, border/quarantine level IMO), but, and I say this purely from the Australian perspective, I do think you are oversimplifying this to some degree; there are economic and social costs to all forms of action or inaction and I don’t think there are many truly clear-cut answers given how transmissible (and thus resistant to many courses of action) this virus is proving to be.

            However, the experience of much of the rest of the western world certainly shows just how fucking abysmal the response of many major powers has been and continues to be. I certainly agree with you there…

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