Know your history. Unless one of the most brutal contemporary dictatorships wants to hide its crimes.
Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War is this year's entry in the annual blockbuster franchise of military shooters.
It's published by Activision-Blizzard, a video game company in which Chinese multimedia titan Tencent has a 5% stake. The game's debut trailer set the tone with 2 minutes and 2 seconds of real-life footage, cut together into a montage, framed by an interview conducted with KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov during the Cold War.
The original trailer:
Finding this trailer may be a bit difficult now, since all official Call of Duty accounts did their best to purge and replace it with a re-cut 1 minute trailer, which omitted a number of sequences from the real life footage portion.
This change came after the trailer was banned in China due to it featuring a couple of frames of footage from the Tiananmen square protests, where the ruling communist party brutally cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators, mostly students, and massacred many of them. That footage is among those cut.
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We're not even talking about the iconic photo of a sole protestor standing in front of a column of tanks, but a few frames, lasting less than a second, of students standing on and attacking an armored vehicle. Many viewers likely wouldn't even have recognized it. Had an edited trailer been released for Chinese audiences, this would have caused much less of a controversy, but the move to edit all versions of the trailer in all regions is not a good look.
The edited trailer:
This move follows another controversy involving Call of Duty publisher Activision-Blizzard and Chinese censorship. A professional Hearthstone player from Hong Kong spoke about the protests which garnered major media attention earlier this year during an official stream, which led to them being banned from official Hearthstone competitions. This was also seen as the company bowing to Chinese demands.
The old version of the Cold War trailer can still be viewed, as it was hosted by other channels as well prior to the edit, such as IGN. The IGN upload was used in this article.