Christopher Judge, best known from God of War, Stargate, and my personal favorite – as D-Mob from the Def Jam series, became infamous last year for his 8+ minute long acceptance speech at The Game Awards 2022.
Judge has made numerous references and self-deprecating jokes regarding that speech since then, and it should’ve come as no surprise that he’d be invited back onstage last night at 2023’s show to soak up the bright lights once again and give the people what they want. That is, until he made a harmless joke at Call of Duty’s expense… Which some of the devs and even voice actors didn’t seem to find funny.
For those who haven’t been paying attention to recent Call of Duty news, Modern Warfare III’s campaign is one of – if not the shortest – in series history, and has also been one of the worst received Call of Duty campaigns that I can ever remember seeing. Having said all that, clearly the devs, along with Captain Price voice actor Barry Sloane, took this dig a bit personally.
Now, you can look at this in one of two ways. Sure, this is a night specifically created to celebrate and elevate video games as an art form, and jokes regarding another developer’s craft may seem off-color or even disrespectful or unacceptable. I can confidently tell you that if this joke was made about a poorly received indie title or social media darling or cult favorite game… There would already be torches and pitchforks in the street and people calling for Christopher Judge to walk back his jokes publically.
But, because this is Call of Duty – the most profitable and successful media release on an annual basis whose only competition really is itself, yeah – it’s probably okay to take a harmless jab at them. Christopher Judge didn’t say anything that was any worse or targeted than the numerous negative reviews from critics and creators, so what’s the fuss?
Roll with the punches, CoD. If you’re the most talked-about game on earth, you’re gonna have people throw a few digs in there. Harmless jabs like this are present at every other award show, and we can’t be putting kid gloves on presenters if The Game Awards is going to continue to grow and be taken seriously. Lighten up, folks!