2020’s new CoD game is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, a direct sequel to the first Black Ops. Because it’s not a reboot, the game will bring back many of the series’ previous characters, including Alex Mason and Frank Woods, but the parts will be played by new actors. James C Burns, who played Frank Woods in earlier Black Ops games, is not returning–and he’s disappointed. The actor has now discussed why this recasting has bothered him, saying he has a history with the character that could have been an asset.
In a lengthy video, Burns opens up about how it feels to see someone else playing his character. Although he’s diplomatic about the new actor (who has not been publicly named), and expressed some excitement for the game, he’s also clearly disappointed.
In an excerpt posted to Reddit (and picked up on by Eurogamer), Burns talks about how his previous performances, and his knowledge of the character’s backstory, would have informed his performance if he had been asked to reprise the role for Cold War.
“I’m sure the story’s going to be f***ing brilliant,” Burns says, but thinks it could have been even better with him attached. “I’ve got 80000 pounds of weight to bring to this thing. And not a knock at whoever they got in there, but he doesn’t have the background I have with Woods. I got 11 years with this guy, man.”
“Not that this guy’s not gonna do a great job…but I would have f***ing crushed this thing.” he continues. “I wish I had a shot at it.”
The decision may stem from the fact that, while Frank Woods has been a character across multiple Black Ops and Call of Duty titles, Cold War is specifically a sequel to the first Black Ops game–so that sense of character history might confuse things rather than inform them. But then, considering how strange the plots can get in the Black Ops series, it’s hard to say what the case will be.
Alex Mason’s original actor, Sam Worthington (Avatar), also isn’t returning. Meanwhile, a very strong Ronald Reagan impersonator has been cast as the president. Activision has not yet shared who portrays Reagan or the other characters in the game.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will feature open-ended missions with multiple endings. The game will release November 13 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC; PS5 and Xbox Series X versions are also coming. Multiplayer and Zombies have yet to be detailed, but we know that multiplayer will be showcased on September 9. Cold War will also connect with Call of Duty: Warzone, with the battle royale game continuing to operate alongside the latest annual entry in the CoD series.
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