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Black Ops 3 Twitter stunt causes outrage, gets apology

Call of Duty’s attempt to merge the futuristic fiction of its latest game, Black Ops 3, with rapid-fire Twitter marketing (opens in new tab) has met with some criticism - enough to warrant an apology from the game’s campaign director, Jason Blundell.

“I personally am very sorry for anyone who looked at it and got the wrong idea because it genuinely wasn’t meant that way,” Blundell tells IGN (opens in new tab).

Blundell is referring to a briefly staged takeover of the Call of Duty Twitter account on 29 September, during which the channel’s name was changed to "Current Events Aggregate." The account tweeted several out-of-place stories, seemingly plucked from a news source in the near future - the same future proposed by Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. It wasn’t until the reports suggested a terrorist attack in Singapore that followers criticized the stunt as lacking in context and being in poor taste. Several outlets, including the BBC (opens in new tab), reported on the social backlash.

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“It was done on our channel, and it was to talk about the fiction of the world, says Blundell. ”I think we were as shocked as everybody else when it started blowing up, because essentially we were teeing up ready for a story beat.” Blundell also distances himself from involvement in the marketing, saying “it was absolutely not done for any kind of attention in any way.”

It’s awfully tempting to draw a link between Black Ops 3’s oopsie and Orson Welles’ infamous "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast - coming up on its 77th anniversary at the end of October - but the reality doesn’t quite support it. For one, Welles’ show was announced (opens in new tab) as a production at the beginning, and the panic that supposedly ensued is likely a myth (opens in new tab). If Welles really wanted to go viral, he’d need a Twitter account.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is set to debut on November 6, 2015.

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Ludwig Kietzmann is a veteran video game journalist and former U.S. Editor-in-Chief for GamesRadar+. Before he held that position, Ludwig worked for sites like Engadget and Joystiq, helping to craft news and feature coverage. Ludwig left journalism behind in 2016 and is now an editorial director at Assembly Media, helping to oversee editorial strategy and media relations for Xbox.