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How Modern Warfare 2 References The Original's Most Controversial Mission

There are some moments from "Call of Duty" that have aged poorly, and one of the most controversial missions in gaming history comes from the original "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2." The game's narrative revolved around terror attacks carried out by the Russian ultranationalist Makarov — one of which the player takes part in. The infamous mission called "No Russian" sees the player go undercover as a member of Makarov's crew as they massacre an airport full of innocent people. At the beginning of the mission, Makarov reminds his partners not to speak in their native tongue, warning them: "No Russian." In the end, the player character is found out and executed. There really isn't much else to the level except for mowing down civilians and a short shootout with police, but the false flag operation leads to World War III in the world of the game.


Players did not have to kill anyone to progress the mission, technically. What's more, there is now an option to skip it entirely without any penalty in the 2020 remastered version, though the game was still removed from the PlayStation store in Russia. The "No Russian" mission sparked national conversations about violence in video games, and many have wondered if the 2022 "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" would feature something similar.

As it turns out, it won't — and that's on purpose. In an interview with GamesBeat, Infinity Ward director Jack O'Hara said there wouldn't be anything like "No Russian" in the new "Call of Duty," especially not in the service of generating controversy — but that doesn't mean it's gone forever. In fact, the latest game in the series does have a curious reference to the most controversial mission in "Call of Duty" history.


Beware of spoilers ahead for "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

Jack O'Hara on 'No Russian'

At the end of the interview, Jack O'Hara responded to a question about whether the team at Infinity Ward was aiming to move away from the style of No Russian, given the controversy it stirred in the original. Infinity Ward was also the development team behind the original "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," though O'Hara was not involved with it. 


"If we feel like it serves the story, or it serves what we're trying to do, we'll put something in, something that might be more edgy," O'Hara said. "But if we don't, then there's no need to be gratuitous with that kind of thing." He went on to say that Infinity Ward doesn't want players to feel like they are on a ride. The original mission was essentially fully on-rails, in fact the only real decision to make was whether to join in the shooting or just stand by and watch until the player was forced to be executed in the end.

However, it turns out that "Call of Duty" hasn't totally abandoned the No Russian mission — or at least its general concept. In fact, the end credits sequence for the new "Modern Warfare 2" references it directly.


If you don't want spoilers, just play the campaign and don't skip the credits

According to O'Hara, nothing is included just for the sake of it in "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," which was a common criticism against the "No Russian" mission originally. That doesn't mean the team completely ignored it, though. At the end of the new "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," none other than Vladimir Makarov, one of the darkest villains in "Call of Duty" history, is named as the next bounty for Price. He didn't play a role in the two rebooted "Modern Warfare" games, but will likely play a role in the near-guaranteed sequel. But this isn't all Makarov has for players.


After he is directly named and the credits have finished, a post-credits scene shows an aircraft passenger putting together a gun using parts smuggled onto the plane. On a phone he raises to the screen, players can see a text from an unnamed "M" character, most likely Makarov: "Ready?" The unnamed man responds simply: "No Russian."

Although there are no missions that copy the same beats as No Russian in the new "Call of Duty," it looks like Infinity Ward isn't entirely avoiding its most infamous mission. It should be interesting to see what this means for the inevitable "Modern Warfare 3."