Whoops: Petraeus Given Starring Role in Newest ‘Call of Duty’ — War-Game Makers May Want to Think Twice About Using Real People

Nov 14, 2012  •  Post A Comment

By Rupal Parekh
Advertising Age

He may be embroiled in a dramatic and ever-growing scandal that cost him his job as CIA director, but if it’s any consolation, David Petraeus has retained his decorated and respected status as a military commander — and then some — in the newest version of Activision’s "Call of Duty" franchise.

The game, "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," was released Tuesday and is one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Long before Mr. Petraeus’ extramarital affair and FBI investigation into the matter came to light, he had already been written into the franchise.

Set in the year 2025, the latest version attempts to envision the future of military warfare. As the Daily News reported, the game gives Mr. Petraeus a promotion to secretary of defense and depicts him on aircraft carriers and plane trips with the U.S. president (who incidentally is cast as a female).

Given that Mr. Petraeus’ disgraced departure coincides with the game’s debut, it could make for a cautionary tale for video-game makers to include prominent figures and celebrities in their games. There’s no telling when one might get wrapped up in a big media brouhaha. But to the degree it matters, it would be for smaller titles. In the case of "Call of Duty," it’s pretty much unthinkable that the inclusion of Mr. Petraeus would ever be seen as a blunder, or a boon. The game is a sensation in its own right. The last version of "Black Ops" netted $650 million in less than a week. The record holder before that was "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare."

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