Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone's 'OK' gesture has been removed

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare season 4 - Captain Price
(Image credit: Activision, Infinity Ward)

It looks like Infinity Ward has removed the "OK" gesture from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone. Neither the studio nor Activision has officially confirmed the removal at this point, but its absence was noticed last week by players on Twitter and Reddit.

Gestures in Call of Duty are exactly what they sound like: They enable players to make gestures with their off-hand toward other players—make a fist, give them a thumbs-up, throw the horns, or whatever. They're the sort of thing you see in action movies, where special forces dudes communicate complex strategies and orders to one another with nothing more than hand-waves and finger-pointing, although in videogames they tend to be used more for taunts and silent smack-talk.

The new 'Okay' emote has been the best one added so far from r/modernwarfare

It's all fairly harmless (no, you can't flip the bird at other players) except for the "OK" gesture, with the thumb and forefinger circled and the other three fingers extended, which ended up being co-opted by racists and white supremacists following a 4chan "hoax" in early 2017. The Anti-Defamation League notes that its long history as a gesture meaning simple, "okay," means that "particular caution must be used when evaluating this symbol," but it also explains how the gesture has been adopted as "a sincere expression of white supremacy" in more recent years.

"The overwhelming usage of the 'OK' hand gesture today is still its traditional purpose as a gesture signifying assent or approval," the ADL site says. "As a result, someone who uses the symbol cannot be assumed to be using the symbol in either a trolling or, especially, white supremacist context unless other contextual evidence exists to support the contention."

I haven't seen any evidence that the "OK" gesture is being actively used by white supremacists in the game, but the potential is obviously there. Infinity Ward has recently acknowledged that it needs to do more to combat racist abuse in Modern Warfare and Warzone, and while some players aren't happy about its removal, under the circumstances I think it's a simple, obvious, and very understandable move.

I've reached out to Activision for comment on the removal, and will update if I receive a reply.

Thanks, Eurogamer.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.