Los Angeles-based video game studio Robotoki received a surprise visit by the LAPD because of a “Call of Duty” promotion they put up: a life-size statue of “Modern Warfare’s” “Ghost,” armed to the teeth in SAS style.
An unnamed designer noticed the statue, took it for a real gunman and set off an alarm notifying the police, according to a report by Polygon.
“Our studio is equipped with a ‘panic’ alarm in case of an armed threat, which was installed yesterday,” said studio founder Robert Bowling. “One of our designers, who shall not be shamed, pressed it on his way out because apparently when boys find buttons that they are unsure of, their first instinct is to push it.”
By the time the LAPD arrived, Bowling was alone at the office.
“After pushing it, everyone went home for the day, leaving their lonely studio head to receive the assault of their actions,” he added.
The LAPD won’t be filing charges against the Robotoki developer, as it was an accident and not a prank, “swatting” — “whereby a prankster anonymously contacts emergency services fabricating an armed threat at a premises to invoke a law enforcement response, which usually comes in the form of a police SWAT team that is obligated to treat all such tips seriously,” explains AusGamers.
Once the officers saw the statue, they entered and cleared the studio, securing the office. The officers were not fooled by “Ghost,” but they were not going to leave the building unsecured.
“The dummy never entered into it,” said LAPD spokesman Detective Gus Villanueva to NBC Los Angeles. “They realized it wasn’t alive, it wasn’t a person. In my 35 years on the job, if we search a warehouse or business for a burglar, we always go in with our guns drawn.”
“I was in my office when they arrived and saw them coming up our stairs, guns drawn,” Bowling said. “They yelled for me to put my hands up and walk towards them slowly, then took me into custody and out of the studio until they cleared the rest of the rooms and floors.”
After the office was cleared the officers sat down to talk shop: video games.
Bowling had the security system put into place “as game developers receive their fair share of death threats,” something that Bowling experienced at “Call of Duty” development studio Infinity Ward. Infinity Ward was the original developer of the “Modern Warfare” series.
Infinity Ward is preparing another addition to the “Call of Duty” catalog this November with “Ghosts,” the tenth title in the series. The game will launch on all major systems including the upcoming Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
— Robert Bowling (@fourzerotwo) May 31, 2013