Russians slam Call of Duty for 'propaganda'

A still from the game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare". Screenshot: YouTube

The latest version of the popular US video game "Call of Duty" met with widespread anger and calls for a boycott in Russia on Wednesday for depicting Russian troops as brutal sadists.

Since its release last week, state media and gamers have railed at what they see as anti-Russian "propaganda".

"They have shown our men as scumbags," influential professional gamer Ilya Davydov, known as Ilya Maddyson, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

"You have to be a complete monster to play a blatantly criminal game that says directly that the army of our country are terrorists," Maddyson tweeted, suggesting it should be banned.

A news anchor on Channel One state television complained that the game depicts Russians as "real sadists" who "bomb, burn and destroy everything" and kill innocent people.

Published by US company Activision Blizzard, Call of Duty is a highly realistic "first-person shooter" game.

In one section, a young girl called Farah witnesses her father's murder by a Russian soldier in an imaginary country in the Middle East called Urzikistan that closely resembles Syria.

After avenging her father's death, Farah leads a rebellion against Russian occupation. Other scenes in the game depict Russian troops carrying out executions and bombing civilians.

The game has met with a wave of criticism from Russian gamers on review sites such as Metacritic.

"This is propaganda against Russians... I'll never buy one of their products again," wrote one user called Kolyazinov.

Sony has opted not to put the game on sale in Russia for its Playstation 4 console. But it is available on PC and Microsoft's Xbox One.

Activision Blizzard already ran into controversy earlier this month when it banned a Hong Kong gamer from an international eSports tournament after he expressed support for the city's protest movement.

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