Call of Duty®

This Might Be the Last Cosplay You'd Expect from JapanWhen you think of Japan and cosplay, you probably imagine ladies dressed in skimpy anime outfits or dudes in Gundam gear. And you'd probably be right! That type of cosplay is prevalent, sure, but it's not the only game in town—especially with more and more Japanese players totally digging Call of Duty.

Recently on Japanese bulletin board 2ch, one cosplayer showed off his latest creation: a Juggernaut, which first appeared in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's Special Ops Mode. The outfit weighed a hefty 20 kilograms—30 kilograms when carrying weapons—and took thirty minutes to put on.

Some wondered where someone would go dressed like this, while other said the outfit appeared better when it wasn't being worn. "Isn't this somewhat off balance?" asked one commenter. Added another, "It looks cool. But heavy."

The get up does look better with a large firearm. Running around between warehouses helps pull off the outfit, too.

In case you missed it, here is Kotaku's roundup of some of the best Call of Duty cosplay the internet has to offer.

コスプレ衣装作ったったwww [2ch via ラビット速報]

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

This Might Be the Last Cosplay You'd Expect from Japan This Might Be the Last Cosplay You'd Expect from Japan

Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 Reveal Trailer - Steve Watts

The controversial "Favela" map has been reinstated in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, after being pulled temporarily due to complaints of religious insensitivity. A small update will let the map show up on playlists again, with the offending portions now removed.

The patch is only 17 MB, reports MP1st, which is likely just enough to change the map's trouble spots. So far the patch has only hit the PlayStation 3 version of the game, but this should mean we'll see it coming to all platforms soon.

The Favela had previously reused assets from a picture frame in a bathroom, apparently unaware that the calligraphy read: "Allah is beautiful and he loves beauty." Activision apologized and worked on patches for both MW2 and Modern Warfare 3, where the map was reissued.

Call of Duty®

Modern Warfare Map Returns, Minus the Offensive ImageryEarlier this month, one of Modern Warfare 2's most popular maps, Favela, disappeared. The reason was that the map contained imagery some players found offensive: holy teachings written in a bathroom.

As previously reported, in a single room on the map, two paintings had been hung whose frames contained a decorative representation of a quote attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, which reads "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty". Those paintings were hung in a bathroom, one right above a toilet, and didn't appear to be found anywhere else on the map.

Modern Warfare Map Returns, Minus the Offensive Imagery

According to MP1st (via (Eurogamer), the map has returned in a recent 17MB update for the PS3 version. The picture frames remain, but the decorative quotes have been removed. You can see the edited version above. There's a pre and post edit comparison below.

Modern Warfare Map Returns, Minus the Offensive Imagery

Favela Returns [MP1st via Eurogamer]

Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 Reveal Trailer - Alice O'Connor

Activision has temporarily pulled the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer level 'Favela' from the map rotation following complaints that a quote attributed to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad was written on a texture used in a bathroom. As you may imagine, some took issue with hanging holy words above a toilet.

A picture frame texture used twice in the level in a bathroom features ornate calligraphy of the quote "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty," Kotaku reports. That's probably not the only place it was used in MW2, though, and it reappeared in Modern Warfare 3's DLC re-release of Favela.

"We apologize to anyone who found this image offensive," Activision said in a statement. "Please be assured we were unaware of this issue and that there was no intent to offend."

Activision's "urgently" working on a title update to remove the texture from MW3, and less urgently to get it out of MW2. It's also scouring its texture libraries for the texture and any similar.

"Activision and our development studios are respectful of diverse cultures and religious beliefs, and sensitive to concerns raised by its loyal game players. We thank our fans for bringing this to our attention."

Here's one video complaining about the textures:

Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 No Russian

Modern Warfare 2's No Russian mission asked players to choose to take an passive or active role in an airport civilian massacre. It caused quite an uproar back when it was released, but a lot of time has passed. A legal battle has been fought, a new studio has been formed, and many of the designers who worked on Modern Warfare 2 at Infinity Ward are now working for Respawn Entertainment.

Mohammad Alavi is one of them. The designer responsible for one of Call of Duty 4's most memorable levels, All Ghillied Up, also had a hand in creating Call of Duty's most controversial moment. With the legal NDAs surrounding his attachment to Infinity Ward expired, he's spoken to Matthew S. Burns on Magical Wasteland about the intent behind No Russian.

"We were trying to do three things" he explains, "sell why Russia would attack the US, make the player have an emotional connection to the bad guy Makarov, and do that in a memorable and engaging way.

"In a first person shooter where you never leave the eyes of the hero, it's really hard to build up the villain and get the player invested in why he's 'bad'."

Alavi describes early versions of the level in which the massacre takes place at the beginning of the level and quickly turns into a shoot out. He mentions that that version "felt cheap and gimmicky. It felt like we were touching on something raw and emotional and then shying away from it just as soon as it became uncomfortable.

“I’ve read a few reviews that said we should have just shown the massacre in a movie or cast you in the role of a civilian running for his life. Although I completely respect anyone’s opinion that it didn’t sit well with them, I think either one of those other options would have been a cop out," he says. "atching the airport massacre wouldn’t have had the same impact as participating (or not participating) in it. Being a civilian doesn’t offer you a choice or make you feel anything other than the fear of dying in a video game, which is so normal it’s not even a feeling gamers feel anymore.”

No Russian served a pragmatic storytelling purpose. The player's outrage would be the emotional leverage needed to make Makarov a more weighty villain. As heavy handed as that might seem, Alavi suggests that, from his perspective, getting a strong reaction of any kind from players is a victory. “It isn’t really relevant whether that makes you enjoy the entertainment experience even more because you’re being naughty (à la Grand Theft Auto) or it engrosses you further into the story and makes you resent your actions. What’s relevant is that the level managed to make the player feel anything at all,” he says.

“In the sea of endless bullets you fire off at countless enemies without a moment’s hesitation or afterthought, the fact that I got the player to hesitate even for a split second and actually consider his actions before he pulled that trigger– that makes me feel very accomplished.”
Call of Duty 4 HD Trailer - John Keefer

After a recessed hearing yesterday that allowed the parties to try to resolve their differences, a settlement has been reached in the case involving Activision, Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella, and 40 ex-Call of Duty developers from Infinity Ward.

The settlement details are confidential, an attorney for West and Zampella told The Verge today. While West and Zampella wouldn't offer comment, The Verge's Michael McWhertor told Twitter that there was a "beaming smile" on West's face.

A statement released by Activision tried to allay any financial analysts' concerns, saying the one-time charges related to the settlement shouldn't impact the company's earnings outlook for the current quarter or the calendar year, citing "stronger-than-expected operating performance in the current quarter."

The deal brings a close to the contentious case, which started almost two years ago. The trial was scheduled to begin tomorrow, with billions of dollars at stake. Shacknews will stay on top of the story and add more details as they become available.

Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 Reveal Trailer - Andrew Yoon

While interest in the Call of Duty franchise remains high, many of the developers that worked on the original games have since left Activision. Many former members of Infinity Ward, the studio that worked on the incredibly successful Modern Warfare games, are heading to court over unpaid bonuses for the two games.

Activision has already paid $42 million to former members of Infinity Ward, but there's a lot more at stake. Ultimately, what caused the huge rift between Infinity Ward execs Jason West and Vince Zampella and Activision? The two say that the team's desire to work on a game other than Modern Warfare 3 made an already tense relationship even worse.

Speaking to Game Informer, Jason West discussed a contract that would have given Infinity Ward free reign to work on any game after the release of Modern Warfare 2. "That contract gave us the right to make whatever game we wanted after Modern Warfare 2. Apparently, they didn't want to live up to that."

West and Zampella believe Activision promised independence after Modern Warfare 2 so that the game would be made one way or another. "I think they just wanted the game, and were like, 'Tell these guys whatever you need to,'" West said. The pair's representing attorney Robert Schwartz added: "I don't think Bobby [Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard] ever intended to honor that until he had to honor it. They were in breach of it the day they signed the contract."

When the trial goes to court, West and Zampella will try to convince a jury that Activision wrongfully terminated the two in order to back out of paying them their originally promised bonuses. Leaked emails show a panicked Activision preparing for the fallout from firing the two, with contingency plans laid out for retaining other Infinity Ward employees.

Activision claims that West and Zampella conspired against the company by speaking with rival company Electronic Arts. (West and Zampella's new studio, Respawn, currently has a publishing deal with EA.) However, West believes that's an absurd claim. "They said, 'He orchestrated his own ­firing,'" he told the magazine. "I said, 'Don't give me 100 million ­dollars - fire me! That would be awesome,'" he added sarcastically.

Infinity Ward ultimately lost a significant talent pool to West and Zampella's new studio, and it took the efforts of another developer, Sledgehammer Games, to finish Modern Warfare 3. West and Zampella never had the opportunity to work on the game, or develop the new IP they wanted to create for Activision. "Maybe we would have done a new IP, maybe we would have done Modern Warfare 3, or maybe we would have done a new IP and then Modern Warfare 3," Zampella said.

Ultimately, Zampella thought that taking a break from Call of Duty would have been good. "Resting a brand isn't a bad thing," he said. "We saw it as protecting it. And it's like, we're always working, it's not like we're going to sit around and do nothing for a while. So it's like let's do something else that will be good for Activision, and then go back to ­that."

Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 Reveal Trailer - Steve Watts

The legal battle between Activision and Infinity Ward is coming to a head, and newly released court documents are giving us a better look at Activision's internal dialogue in the days leading up to firing Jason West and Vince Zampella. The e-mails range from frustrations, to plans of how to keep projects and teams on-track without the known leadership.

Court documents published by the LA Times show conversations between CEO Bobby Kotick, and executives Dave Stohl, Mike Griffith, and Rob Kostich.

Tensions began to boil after Infinity Ward failed to get a gameplay demo of Modern Warfare 2 ready for Microsoft's E3 press conference. "Msft [Microsoft] will go ballistic over this and the deal is seriously risked," Kostich wrote in one email. Griffith, who was president of publishing at the time, called West and Zampella and said they hung up on him. Kotick replied, "If they really did I would change their locks and lock them out of their building."

Griffith then suggested that Treyarch could take it over, but says that option is "scary given the tight timeline." Plus, Stohl said the group should "discuss what the plan B is going to look like" since "there could be a ton of risk getting the project done depending on how the team takes it."

And in a moment of truth in hindsight, Stohl also said, "Is everyone ready for the big, negative PR story this is going to turn into if we kick them out? [It's] freaking me out a little."

Activision had also set in motion a retention plan for the top 12 team members, besides West and Zampella. This was to "help ensure we retain the team if things blow up at the top," according to Griffith.

The company recently settled its suit against Electronic Arts, and paid a hefty non-settlement sum to the Infinity Ward Employee Group. All indications are that it's clearing the arena for the main event against West and Zampella, and these new e-mails show just how tense the situation was before the company fired the two former executives.

Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2 Reveal Trailer - Steve Watts

Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts have reached a settlement in a lawsuit surrounding the firing of Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella. EA had been accused of conspiring with the pair to leave Activision form an independent studio. Neither party has disclosed the terms of the settlement, but they will reportedly ask the court to dismiss the claims.

"Activision and Electronic Arts have decided to put this matter behind them," said Activision lawyer Beth Wilkinson.

Robert Schwartz, a lawyer for West and Zampella, took a less cheerful tone. "Activision dragged EA into the case hoping to distract from Activision's wretched conduct towards West and Zampella," he said, according to a Bloomberg report. "In dismissing EA today, Activision admits that it was never going to convince anyone that EA conspired with West and Zampella to breach their contracts or did anything else improper."

This is coming out just as court documents are released, alleging that former senior IT director Thomas Fenady was instructed to "dig up dirt" on West and Zampella. The LA Times reports that Fenady expressed concern about the so-called "Project Icebreaker," but was told not to worry about repercussions. Outside companies worried about the legal hurdles, and Fenady considered a fake fumigation or mock fire drill to gain access to the pair's computers.

Ultimately, he didn't follow through on these ideas. Giant Bomb reports that chief public policy officer George Rose denies asking Fenady to dig up dirt, but does affirm he asked Fenady to monitor e-mail traffic.

With the EA matter settled and some money paid out to IWEG employees, it seems like Activision is clearing the stage for its legal battle against West and Zampella themselves. That trial is still set to go forward on May 29. The Infinity Ward Employee Group will also be included in the suit, still seeking $350 million in damages and unpaid royalties. A few days ago the group was given $42 million in unpaid royalties plus interest, which the group's lawyer called a "cynical attempt to look good before the jury trial."

Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2
Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Overwatch
Court documents obtained by Game Informer suggest that the near-future setting of Treyarch's upcoming Black Ops 2 could violate the agreement between Activision and Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward.

Infinity Ward's Memorandum of Understanding includes a cause that grants the developer authority over 'any Call of Duty title set in modern day (post Vietnam), the near future or distant future.'

Game Informer's report suggests that if ex-Infinity Ward bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West win the lawsuit against Activision, the publisher could find itself in a difficult situation, with damages payments the likely outcome.

Check out Evan's Black Ops 2 preview for more on Treyarch's new direction for the series, and this picture of a mocap horse because it's a picture of a mocap horse.

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