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Call of Duty marketing finds a new level of tastelessness

The latest marketing push for Call of Duty: Vanguard wants you to believe its graphics are so realistic that conflict photographers can't tell the difference between the videogame and reality. "Call of Duty: Vanguard captures the epic intimacy of World War II in an incredibly immersive manner," said chief marketing officer Fernando Machado, presumably keeping a straight face.

A pair of photojournalists were given "special camera-like portals [to enter] into the game engine itself," where they captured images just as they would if they were photographing a real conflict. Naturally, they also raved about how realistic the experience was: "As photographers, this is what conflict looks like," war journalist Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini said afterward. The resulting video of the two photographers at work (above) is as dramatic and over-egged as any Call of Duty trailer.

Prints of the four photos are being sold to raise funds to help US military veterans find "high quality employment" through the Call of Duty Endowment program. Which is a good cause, and a convenient thing for Activision to keep in its pocket as a response to any accusations of crassness.

Still, these four screenshots aren't exactly Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima or the Execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém. They're being sold for $515 each.

(Image credit: Alex Tonga/Activision)

(Image credit: Alex Tonga/Activision)

(Image credit: Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini/Activision)

(Image credit: Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini/Activision)
Jody Macgregor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.