SPOILERS ahead for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
I’m a few hours into the campaign of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. One of the playable protagonists, Alex, has just been taken captive to go meet the commander of a liberation force and another major playable protagonist, Farah.
Their opening conversation was tense and curt, which is to be expected given how the pair are sort of forced to team up to fight a (fictional) war against Russia.
After a few more missions and exchanges though, I noticed something slightly weird going on between Farah and Alex. The initial business-like coldness was gone and replacing it was some unexpected warmth.
I thought it was just a case of “video game soldiers growing to respect each other after experiencing some tough moments together.” But then little things started catching my attention whenever there was a scene between them. The little changes in their voices during conversations, the way they said each other’s names, the longer-than-expected gazes exchanged, and the open body language, all of which was amplified during a great little D&M moment between the pair.
It was at that point I literally blurted out loud: “Hold up, why is there sexual tension in a game like Modern Warfare?”
The developers were clearly going for “mutual respect” in developing Alex and Farah’s relationship, which is why the sexual tension stuff is so unexpected. While it’s obviously a by-product of the development process, it’s also a testament to the great motion-capture performances of the actors and the stunning visual work that Alex and Farah’s relationship went deeper in ways I didn’t expect.
You can wax lyrical all day about the warfare themes, violence and controversial bits in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but any thoughts about those topics were immediately discarded in favour of seeing Alex and Farah get closer. Instead of wondering how the conflict will resolve itself or what the game is trying to say, I was waiting for the moment where Alex and Farah would just goddamn kiss or something.
It’s a bizarre thought to have when playing a Call of Duty game and yet it was also an unexpected surprise as it brought a much needed level of emotion and humanity to Modern Warfare that helped even out the more brutal moments.
But alas, that Alex/Farah ship I was pushing so hard for ultimately sunk in the most brutal way possible at the end of Modern Warfare‘s climax where Alex sacrifices himself to the mission.
Sure he gets to have one final moment with Farah and it more or less makes sense in the context of the entire story, but I felt irrationally robbed that she and Alex never got that climatic moment where they confess to each other. It’s stupid and yet I’ve never been more emotionally invested in a Call of Duty game like that in my life.
I’m probably in the minority when it comes to shipping Alex and Farah, but regardless of where you stand on the pair’s relationship, it goes to show that despite Call of Duty having been around for so many years now, it is still capable of throwing up surprises where you least expect it.
To the Modern Warfare developers, please give me some Alex/Farah DLC missions or something because I need closure on this goddamn it.