With the full official reveal of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and a recent briefing we received about the game, we have plenty of details about the game’s single-player campaign. It’s confirmed that Black Ops Cold War is a direct sequel to the original Black Ops, picking up the story 13 years after the events of the first game.
Familiar characters like Mason, Woods, and Hudson return, and another global conspiracy takes center stage after the failure of the numbers program. As the name implies, it’s based on the tensions between the United States and Soviet Russia. Black Ops Cold War is predominately set in 1981 and takes you around the world in covert ops and espionage missions in what seems to be a hunt for an elusive Soviet spy named Perseus. And in a story cutscene, Perseus is said to have helped Vietcong soldiers get a hold of a nuclear weapon during the Vietnam War.
Lead narrative designer Murray Kraft from Raven Software mentioned in a presentation that the game’s story has many real-world connections despite the wild conspiracy elements at play. “Drawing key narrative elements from history, we used recently declassified US government documents from just the last four or five years for a key piece of the plot’s puzzle,” Kraft mentioned. He continued, “When I was researching, I was shocked at some of the things I was learning. We’re really messing with people’s heads and having them question what is real.”
Much like other Black Ops games, Cold War has the edge of a psychological thriller which was illustrated in a flashback mission set in Laos during the Vietnam War in 1968. In that mission, the game rewinds itself so you can relive certain elements of your character’s memories and take alternate gameplay paths. But there was also a sequence of mysterious red doors dropping into the environment with a voice telling you to “open the door,” “get in the bunker now,” and “tell me about Perseus; you’re the only one who knows where he is.” When you’re shown entering the door, you walk through a corridor as the floor beneath crumbles.
The game also leans into the ’80s aesthetic when it comes to character designs and the clothes they wear, but also some of the environmental designs. In one mission set in Ukraine, Soviet operatives have a secret training facility that meticulously recreates an American city. Alongside Woods, you infiltrate the facility and walk through a mock version of a neon-lit arcade. In other glimpses of the game, we saw how the lighting emphasized the neon colorization that’s synonymous with the pop culture aspect of the era.
Another element unmistakably ’80s is the fact that former US president Ronald Reagan is a character in the game. In one scene, he meets with the Black Ops characters and approves extra-legal military operations before speaking in platitudes about defending the free world.
If we had to guess, there’s probably more to his presence than this one vaguely off cutscene. We’ll find out when the game launches on November 13 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and on next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X sometime during the Holiday window. For more on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, check out all our coverage below, and don’t miss out on how to access its upcoming open beta.
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