Some of the death animations in Call of Duty: Black Ops had to be changed after Treyarch decided that they were simply too unpleasant to stay in the game.
When a game says it contains graphic violence, it usually means that there's going to be a lot of blood and probably a few limbs separated from their bodies for good measure. But it wasn't arterial spray or dismemberment that had the folks at Treyarch wincing - it was the expressions on the dying men's faces.
Black Ops director Dave Anthony said that that the team have completely changed the way it did facial animations, and that the work done on Viktor Reznov, the character voiced by Gary Oldman, was especially good. But in a few instances, the animation was a little too good. One of the contextual kills - a soldier having his neck snapped- proved to be too realistic, and resulted in the team changing it for the final product. "There were situations going too far," said animation director Dominique Drozdz. "The throat cutting [is] nasty, but [the neck break] was worse."
This news may disappoint a few videogame violence enthusiasts, but for the rest of us, it will probably come as something of a relief, as I doubt that most people are playing Black Ops is order to feel uncomfortable and a bit grossed out. It does suggest however, that interacting with the NPCs - the one's you aren't killing at least - will be a pretty immersive experience.
Call of Duty: Black Ops comes out for Xbox 360, PC, Wii, and PS3 on November 9th.