Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War campaign is an ’80s spy thriller featuring Ronald Reagan

Jonathan Lee
·3 mins read

The first official trailer of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is out and has revealed some new details about the game’s campaign.

The trailer marks the return of iconic Black Ops characters Alex Mason, Frank Woods, Jason Hudson and a sort of homecoming for the series’ roots. While the two most recent Black Ops titles took place in the near future, this upcoming game will be set firmly in the eponymous Cold War and based on real world events.


Billed as a direct sequel to the first Call of Duty: Black Ops, Cold War’s campaign will revolve around the hunt for Perseus, a codename for a Soviet spy whose existence is ambiguous enough to give Treyarch and Raven Software some wide creative license.

Mason, Woods and Hudson will be joined by CIA operative Russell Adler, a new character whom the developers described as “America’s Monster” in an interview with the Washington Post. The commander-in-chief who greenlights their mission is President Ronald Reagan, who is now the second real-world president to be a character in a Call of Duty campaign after John F. Kennedy.

Russell Adler in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Russell Adler in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

In the past, Call of Duty developers have insisted that Modern Warfare isn’t a “political game,” despite the fact that the series explores superpowers vying for global dominance through proxy wars, corruption in the highest echelons in government and committing horrific war crimes. To be fair, this comment came from Infinity Ward (the creators of the Modern Warfare series) and not Treyarch or Raven, the two teams that co-develop Black Ops.

But Activision, the publishing company which oversees the entire Call of Duty franchise, has been reluctant to address any sort of legitimate reckoning for the real-world characters or wars that are portrayed in its games.

Cold War’s teaser trailer, which was narrated by real-life Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov, featured footage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Shortly after the scene in question was censored in Chinese versions of the trailer, the teaser was taken down from the Call of Duty channel and replaced by a new teaser in a move that was heavily criticized by fans (In The Know still has the original trailer archived here).

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is scheduled to be released on November 13.

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If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s article on the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War leaks.

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