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SALT LAKE CITY -- Leaked footage of the upcoming video game release "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" shows players can act as terrorists and shoot innocent civilians at an airport.
That revelation is stoking the ongoing controversy over video game violence. Even some self-professed "hardcore" gamers, like Alex Lutz, say this has gone too far.
"I don't think that's something that needs to be put in video games," Alex Lutz told KSL Newsradio downtown Thursday. "It doesn't bring anything to the gamer."
Others, with less investment in video games, expressed similar outrage.
"It's morally incorrect--it's not aliens," Zach Baggett said.
"I think it's kind of ridiculous," Sara Bailey said. "I don't understand why shooting anybody that is a good person is worth it."
Some, though, disagreed and said the whole issue has been overblown.
"I don't think it's too big of a deal," Kevin Davis said.
In a statement, game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. said Wednesday the footage was taken illegally and is not representative of the game's overall experience. Instead, the scene is designed to evoke the "atrocities of terrorism," Activision said in an e-mailed statement.
The game follows players as they "face off against a terrorist threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse," the Santa Monica, Calif. company said. This includes a plot line in which the player infiltrates a Russian villain's inner circle to defeat him. Presumably the airport attack is one of the scenes in which the player acts as part of the villain's group.
In an interview before the footage was leaked, Vince Zampella, head of the game's developer, Infinity Ward, said studio intended for its game to startle players. "We push the story," he said. "We want the player to be emotionally attached. We to be emotionally shocked."
Gamers are warned that the scene may be disturbing, and they can choose not to play through the part. It's unclear, though, how many gamers will heed the warning for fear of missing part of the game's intricate story. Activision says the game is designed so the part can be skipped over without losing any of the story.
A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration based in Salt Lake declined comment to KSL on the video game.
The game, which has an "M" rating for mature audiences, comes out Nov. 10 for the Xbox 360 and the PS3 consoles.
Story compiled with contributions from Andrew Adams and Barbara Ortutay, an Associated Press writer .