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This article was published on August 20, 2020

Call of Duty goes historical again with Black Ops: Cold War

Call of Duty goes historical again with Black Ops: Cold War

Activision has been teasing the next Call of Duty game for a while, and now we finally know what it’s called and what it’s about. It’s all neatly summed up by the title: Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War. No, I don’t know where the colons in that title go, either. That’s just my best guess.

The company teased the game with a video titled “Know Your History,” which cribs footage of KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov discussing sleeper agents in Western intelligence. That, combined with the tagline, “Know your history, of be doomed to repeat it,” leads me to believe it’s going to be a spy thriller — which makes the Black Ops moniker more fitting, in my opinion.

That’s all we really know about the game so far — there isn’t any gameplay footage in the teaser, and most of it’ll probably have to wait until we actually see the game next week. For now, we can only speculate, which is always fun. The series’ last historical warfare game was 2017’s WWII, and I believe that, assuming the teaser is implying a quasi-historical game, it’d be the first return of the Black Ops series to the Cold War setting since BlOps II.

Part of me wonders about the “inspired by actual events” part. While every Call of Duty developer is obviously at least passingly familiar with military history, in recent games they haven’t exactly handled the subject matter with grace. Just with regards to Modern Warfare, the developers were been accused of “Russian-washing” an historical Gulf War attack that was actually carried out primarily by American forces. Some have also questioned the inclusion of white phosphorus in the game as a usable item.

That’s not to say the developer can’t do historically accurate warfare and espionage — quite the opposite, I’d love it if Black Ops: Cold War was exactly that. I just worry it’s going to wind up being Tom Clancy-as-directed-by-Michael Bay, only less interesting than that sounds. But hey, it’s Call of Duty. No matter what, I’m going to play it, and probably love every minute.

Also, I know this wasn’t going to happen, but I rather wish Activision would let the development teams take a breather and just let us play Warzone for another year before trying to push another CoD out onto the market. I would prefer them to perfect Warzone since I suspect many will still be playing it by the end of the year. Then again, I’m sure Activision wants a new next-gen offering, which is understandable.

Either way, we’ll be learning more about Cold War during a reveal event on August 26.

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