Over the weekend, Modern Warfare 2 players noticed that one of the staples of the game's competitive multiplayer mode had vanished into the abyss. "Where has Favela gone?" they cried out into the darkness, "Who has taken our Favela from us?"
As it turns out, Infinity Ward has temporarily removed the map after receiving some complaints from the Muslim gaming community. The problems originated with paintings hung in Favela that read, 'Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty.' This is a quote widely credited to Muhammad, a cornerstone of the Muslim faith.
While this quote, in and of itself, is nothing problematic, it was the location in which it was displayed that rankled Muslims in the community. You see, whether by design or horrifying coincidence, the paintings can only be found in bathrooms over some very questionable toilets. If this is purposeful, which Activision doesn't exactly deny, it is essentially saying that the 'beauty' that Allah loves can be found in dirty toilets in the backrooms of seedy buildings.
Not exactly the message you want to be sending your players.
Activion responded to Kotaku, saying:
We apologize to anyone who found this image offensive. Please be assured we were unaware of this issue and that there was no intent to offend. We are working as quickly as possible to remove this image and any other similar ones we may find from our various game libraries.
We are urgently working to release a Title Update to remove the texture from Modern Warfare 3. We are also working to remove the texture from Modern Warfare 2 through a separate Title Update. Until the TU is ready, we have removed the Favella multiplayer map from online rotation.
Activision and our development studios are respectful of diverse cultures and religious beliefs, and sensitive to concerns raised by its loyal game players. We thank our fans for bringing this to our attention.
So, if you've been playing Modern Warfare 2, it looks like you're going to be missing out on Favela for a while. We'll post an update when Activision pushes out that title update and gets Favela back in the rotation.