Activision apologises as Call of Duty: Vanguard removes bloodstained Quran pages

Bloodstained images of the Quran in Call of Duty: Vanguard
(Image credit: Activision)
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Call of Duty: Vanguard has not impressed (opens in new tab) so far, and has now stumbled into a controversy over a thoughtless use of the Quran. The holy text of Islam, the Quran is considered by many Muslims to be the literal word of god and, as such, disrespecting it in any way is considered an insult. In Vanguard's Zombies mode, during a section where the player is going through Stalingrad, pages of the Quran are scattered on the floor and in some cases stained with blood.

The issue seems to have been noticed by Twitter user BKTO0R (opens in new tab), who shared several images of the map with their comments in Arabic. A machine translation of the words is: "Brothers, I see pages of the Qur’an on the ground in the zombie map. I see that it should be removed as soon as possible if it is correct."

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Folk were swift to condemn Activision-Blizzard and the game's developers, and it does seem like a blunder that could've been easily avoided. 

Activision-Blizzard has at least been quick to respond (shared by Dexerto (opens in new tab)), issuing a statement (opens in new tab) today apologizing for the error (as translated by Twitter): "Call of Duty is made for everyone. There was insensitive content to the Muslim community mistakenly included last week, and has since been removed from the game. It should never have appeared as it did in-game. We deeply apologize. We are taking immediate steps internally to address the situation to prevent such occurrences in the future."

Curiously, the statement was not echoed by Call of Duty's main English-speaking accounts.

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Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."