What does a homophobic joke tell us about “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”?

The latest game in the Call of Duty franchise is a definite hit, breaking the sales record previously set by Grand Theft Auto IV, so it’s reaching a wide audience of gamers. But does one scene use the kind of homophobic humor found too often in gaming communities?

An article in The Telegraph calls out a conversation heard between two troops in the game:

Troop 1: You ever see a grown man naked?

Troop 2: (laughs)

Troop 2: Hey man you still gay? I’m kidding. Don’t ask don’t tell

Troop 1: No ammo, no armour

Troop 2: Ha ha ha! That’s why I’m a cold-blooded carnivorous warrior bro!

I’m not one of the 4.7 million gamers playing Modern Warfare 2 (I’m a bit busy trying to charm a bisexual elf in between getting killed by the same blood mage again and again) so I put the question to AfterElton readers playing this game, does dialogue like this reveal a homophobic undercurrent to Modern Warfare 2, or is the game just depicting homophobia in the military?

This isn’t Modern Warfare 2’s first controversy. Before the game hit store shelves, a viral video came out warning gamers against the evils of “grenade spam”, or overuse of grenades in multiplayer mode. The joke? At the end of the video, the speakers of the video identified themselves as “Fight Against Grenade Spam” which spells out as… well, you can figure it out.

To the credit of Modern Warfare 2’s developer, Infinity Ward, the video was quickly pulled once gay gamers started complaining about the use of the anti-gay slur.

I don’t want to be quick to call Modern Warfare 2 homophobic. The banter is homophobic, but not every character speaks for the perspective of the game. You can find plenty of homophobic humor in The Ballad of Gay Tony, but the reaction of the game’s protagonist, Luis Lopez, makes it clear that we’re supposed to see those jokes as a further sign that the characters making them are idiots.

So, I want to ask the Modern Warfare 2 players out there, what does this scene tell us about the game? Is there a greater context to the scene? Or is it a homophobic joke for the sake of making a homophobic joke?

Lyle Masaki is a fan of obscure superheroes, video games, adorkable guys and that show you loved that got cancelled way too soon.