New ‘Call of Duty’ exploits violence at Texas-Mexico border

The start of the latest entry in the Call of Duty Modern Warfare Reboot series has proven successful, at least by PC player standards. But a recent review by gaming news site Kotaku shed light on the video game’s single-player storyline, in which you commit war crimes on the Texas-Mexico border.

In early Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, the story takes you to a fictional Texas border town to track down an Iranian terrorist who is being protected by a cartel after he steals US missiles. The game lets you take part in an operation as a US-backed special forces team, assisted by a Mexican special forces colonel. In the mission, you are forced to engage in acts of violence that Kotaku says “…is uncomfortable even for a game.”

The game forces you to shoot people climbing over the Texas-Mexico border wall claiming they are cartel members, and then de-escalate an encounter with residents of American border towns leaving their homes by pointing your gun at them. The player is eventually put in a situation where they can shoot gunmen in their own home during a tense encounter after the Special Ops team barged in.

Later in the same mission, a group of Texas law enforcement officers show up at the scene, one of whom is wearing a cowboy hat and says, “…it’s hard to tell you guys from the cartel.” As a reminder, one of the Squad members is Mexican. The Kotaku article then points out that if you shoot the police, the mission will fail with the message “Friendly Fire will not be tolerated.”

Another mission later in the game lets you sneak around a Mexican town while US-backed private military companies you previously worked with can be seen and heard executing dozens of civilians for dominating one of cartels area live.

A member of the Texas Army National Guard guards an opening in the border wall near Del Rio in September 2021.

A member of the Texas Army National Guard guards an opening in the border wall near Del Rio in September 2021.

Jordan Vonderhaar, Stringer/Getty Images

According to Kotaku, the game tries to paint the actions of the military and the US with some cynicism, but it’s veiled with glamorous depictions of warfare. The Texas-Mexico missions also come at a time when Texas GOP candidates are ramping up their border security campaigns and migrants are being shot at the border.

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