Call of Duty used its official Twitter account to live report the destruction of Singapore on Wednesday after a fictional "terrorist attack".
Updates on an apparently unfolding incident were sent to the game's 2.88m followers on the social network which was rebranded as an "aggregate news network".
The name, header image and profile picture of the Twitter account was changed to mirror that of a fictional news network as part of the campaign. It has since been turned back to the Call of Duty brand.
And perhaps unsurprisingly, people taken in by the fictitious events were unimpressed upon finding out it was part of a publicity stunt, with many saying it was in poor taste.
And for context, this is how the updates appeared on people's smartphone timelines.
— Valstorm (@Valstorm) October 1, 2015ADVERTISEMENT
Devoid of any Call of Duty branding, the tweets understandably confused -- and concerned -- many people reading them.
Here's how the fictional 'attack' unfolded
BREAKING NEWS: Unconfirmed reports are coming in of an explosion on the North bank of the Singapore Marina.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
The cause of the explosion is unknown, but large plumes of dark smoke have been seen rising from the site. pic.twitter.com/dsJZ6hti7Y— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
City Authorities urge the public not to panic, and to not hinder the emergency teams that are converging on the area.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
UPDATE: Sources confirm explosion took place at Singapore Research Laboratories belonging to Coalescence Corporation pic.twitter.com/UyW9Ph8XA4— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
Authorities have implemented a no-fly order in response to the apparent crash of relief VTOLs heading to the scene of the explosion.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
Reports are starting to emerge of roadblocks on major thoroughfares, turning back traffic from the scene of the apparent accident.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
UPDATE: Singapore Authorities have officially announced a state of emergency and declared martial law.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
Drones have been spotted over an area approx. 30 square miles in size, broadcasting messages advising people to stay in their homes.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
UPDATE: Military drones have been seen flocking around, and in some cases shooting down civilian drones violating the no-fly order.— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
Pictures from one of these drones show the Coalescence Corporation complex, where clouds of smoke continue to rise. pic.twitter.com/U6mUNYwDjn— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
Shots have been fired at the newly established blockades as citizens attempt to flee the new "Quarantine Zone." pic.twitter.com/7kvZLGDtwB— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 29, 2015
But users of the social network were initially left baffled by the tweets being fed into their timelines from the account named "Aggregate News Network".
Is this some kinda CoD reference or what is going on here? @CallofDuty— EnVy JKap (@JKap415) September 29, 2015
But confusion soon gave way to criticism.
@CallofDuty Feel sorry for people living in Singapore who think this is real— Revitalize (@Revitalize) September 29, 2015
.@CallofDuty y'all know this is gross as heck right— j.r. hennessy (@jrhennessy) September 30, 2015
This @CallofDuty Twitter stunt is so bad. So irresponsible.— Mark Lawson (@Born2beSlicker) September 29, 2015
@CallofDuty I was going to buy this game but not now. Your choice of marketing is reprehensible. The marketing director should be fired.— Bob Thomas (@rthomas611) September 30, 2015
And tech industry observers have been quick to point out why the stunt appears to many to be in such poor taste.
"This was a bad idea," technology reporter Allegra Frank wrote, "The Twitter platform is at its most productive when deployed as a crowd-sourced news-gathering and -generating service.
"...the developer re-appropriated one of social media's most beneficial functions in order to serve its needs."
Singapore's military wouldn't comment on the matter when asked by the BBC. Activision, Call of Duty's publisher, has yet to respond to request for comment.
Nonetheless, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is already one of the year's most hotly anticipated games and is set to sell multi-millions of copies worldwide.