Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games didn't set out to be shocking and controversial with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
"What you don’t do is say, we’re just doing this to top ourselves," Bret Robbins, creative director at Sledgehammer Games, told VentureBeat. "It needs to be something that’s authentic, that actually moves the plot forward.
"We have some moments in the game that I think are pretty shocking, that push the envelope a little bit. But like I said before, it’s not a matter of trying to be gratuitous about it, doing shocks for shock value.
"You always want to push yourself and see if you can push the limits of the medium, and storytelling. We’ve got such a big audience for this game that we want to deliver something that’s memorable. Experiences that people are going to be talking about the next day after they played it, talking about with their friends. It’s really a matter of creating something unique."
Asked about Call of Duty's controversial moments, including the infamous No Russian mission in Modern Warfare 2, Robbins said it's a side effect of the story the games tell.
"We wanted to show the effect of war. What happens if a modern American city gets attacked? What would that be like, what would you see? If you were walking down the street, what would happen?" he said.
"Civilians are part of that, innocent people are part of it unfortunately."
The creative director stressed that the series is careful to avoid pushing buttons just for kicks.
"How do you go about blowing up the world…? You just come up with scenes and moments that would make sense within the story. So you don’t do it just for the sake of blowing everything up, just for the fun of it," he opined.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 releases on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 8.