- "In the first game, man corrupts man. In the second, man corrupts machine. Now in the third, machine corrupts man."
- — Director Jason Blundell
- For the Timeline, see Black Ops Timeline
Black Ops is a sub-series of the Call of Duty franchise from Activision and developed by Treyarch, and includes Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
Call of Duty: World at WarEdit
- Main article: Call of Duty: World at War
On August 17, 1942, Marine Private C. Miller watches the torture, beating, and execution of two fellow Marines by Japanese soldiers. Before he is assaulted, a Marine squad led by Corporal Roebuck and Sergeant Sullivan rescue him as part of their assault on the island.
On September 17 1942 during the Siege of Stalingrad, Private Dimitri Petrenko regains consciousness in a blood and body-filled fountain, just as German Troops execute his surviving comrades. When the Germans leave, Dimitri meets the injured Sergeant Viktor Reznov, another survivor, who tells him of his intention: a secret mission to kill a German General named Heinrich Amsel. Dimitri follows Reznov through buildings and streets of Stalingrad, taking sniper shots with Reznov's Mosin-Nagant since Reznov has lost his trigger finger. They eventually meet up with the remainder of Dimitri's unit and assault the General communication post. During the assault, Dimitri manages to kill Amsel.
Two years later at the beginning of the Battle of Peleliu, Miller and his squad land on the beach and fight their way inland. They take heavy casualties, one of which is Sergeant Tom Sullivan. With Roebuck now in command, they fight further inland, eventually taking the airfield on the island. The Americans push further inland. Miller and his unit take out enemy Mortar Crews, so their tanks can go inland. They then proceed through the Japanese underground tunnels to attack the Artillery-Filled Point. The Island of Peleliu finally falls into American hands
In 1945, during the Battle of the Seelow Heights, Dimitri again regains consciousness, this time in a house occupied by German soldiers. He is saved when the house is blown open by a tank. After he is reunited with Reznov, The Red Army advances through German lines until they reach a German camp, which they then proceed to take. Dimitri and Reznov pilot T-34 tanks, pushing through German lines. Upon reaching Berlin, they engage German soldiers on the outskirts of the city and advance through the streets, killing every German soldier along the way. They head into the U-Bahn and start fighting German soldiers in the subway, until a surge of water fills the tunnel and Dimitri, unable to avoid the oncoming tidal wave, almost drowns.
During the Battle of Okinawa, where the player becomes Petty Officer Locke in a PBY Catalina flying boat, which takes part in a raid on three merchant ships. The US fleet is assaulted. Locke's PBY, which is the only PBY near enough to come to immediate aid, arrives. They are able to rescue American sailors in the sea. With the PBY almost completely destroyed, more US aircraft arrive. Miller's squad makes a ground assault on Okinawa. They clear out the Japanese from machine gun bunkers, allowing American tanks to progress. With the battle almost won, the Americans storm Shuri Castle. Having cleared the entrance, they reach the center of the castle. Once there, they encounter Japanese soldiers surrendering. However, when Roebuck and Polonsky go to search them, they reveal concealed grenades under their clothes. After saving either Roebuck or Polonsky, American troops arrive to assist the squad and engage the remaining Japanese soldiers in a battle in the castle center. The Marines take the castle, crushing the last bastion of Japanese resistance in the Pacific War.
Reznov drags Dimitri out of the U-Bahn to regroup with Soviet infantry. The Red Army then advances towards the Reichstag. During the assault at the Reichstag's entrance, Chernov is badly burned by a German flamethrower. Reznov, Dimitri, and the remaining Soviet soldiers enter the Reichstag and clear it of its German defenders, and reach the rooftop. Before he can replace the Nazi flag, Dimitri is shot by a dying German soldier, whom Reznov kills with a machete shortly after. Although wounded, Dimitri manages to plant the Soviet flag, signaling Soviet victory, ending the war.
Call of Duty: Black OpsEdit
- Main article: Call of Duty: Black Ops
Much of the Call of Duty: Black Ops campaign is told through the eyes of SOG and CIA operative Alex Mason, primarily through flashbacks. Mason is asked questions by an unknown interrogator about a numbers broadcast which is being used to contact Soviet sleeper cells in the United States. These questions set the stage for the campaign missions.
The first mission is a flashback to Mason's participation in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, a doomed effort to assassinate Fidel Castro. At the end of this mission, Mason is captured by Castro's soldiers and given to Nikita Dragovich as a 'gift.' He is held captive at the Vorkuta Gulag, a Russian labor camp, for two years.
After further interrogation, Mason recounts how, during his imprisonment at Vorkuta, he befriended Viktor Reznov, a former Red Army soldier and a returning character from Call of Duty: World at War. Reznov assists Mason in sparking a prisoner uprising at Vorkuta, which facilitates Mason's escape from the prison.
One month after his escape, Mason is escorted to the Pentagon with his handler, Jason Hudson, where he receives authorization from President John F. Kennedy to assassinate Dragovich. He is then dispatched with Frank Woods and Joseph Bowman to Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh SSR to sabotage the Soviet space program. The team saves a captured operative, Grigori Weaver and destroys the Soyuz 2 as it is launched. Dragovich, who is present at the launch, escapes alive, forcing Mason to spend the next five years searching for him.
By 1968, the SOG, including Mason, is deployed in Vietnam to investigate the Soviet presence. After Mason helps defend the military camp at Khe Sanh, he is deployed to Huế during the Tet Offensive to recover a dossier with information on Dragovich from an unnamed defector. The team recovers the dossier, and Mason discovers that Reznov is the defector.
After Mason escapes Huế City, the campaign shifts to a mission in Kowloon, Hong Kong, where Hudson is sent to find and interrogate Dr. Clarke, a scientist working under Dragovich. The mission goes awry, and Clarke is killed while Hudson seeks to escape Dragovich's men.
Then, after further interrogation, Mason reveals the story, as told to him by Reznov, of the history behind Dragovich, his associate, Lev Kravchenko, and German ally, Dr. Friedrich Steiner. These events take place shortly after World War II, and are told through the eyes of Viktor Reznov. They detail Dragovich's discovery of the German chemical weapon, Nova 6, and illustrate his ruthlessness as he murders his own soldiers to witness the effects of the weapon, including Reznov's close friend, Dimitri Petrenko. This mission ends with Reznov asking Mason to promise him that Petrenko's death will be avenged, and Dragovich, along with his allies, Kravchenko and Steiner, will be killed.
The interrogation moves back to 1968, and Mason describes how he and the rest of his squad from the SOG fight their way through Viet Cong-controlled territory in an ultimately futile attempt to chase an elusive Kravchenko, and are later sent to locate and investigate a downed Soviet plane containing Nova 6. During this investigation, Mason, Woods, and Bowman are captured by the Viet Cong.
Again, the perspective switches to Agent Hudson, who is sent on a mission to infiltrate a Soviet base in the Ural Mountains, a suspected development center of Nova 6. The control room the facility is rigged with explosives in a trap set by Dragovich, but Hudson's team is contacted remotely by Dr. Steiner, who gives his location and promises, in exchange for safety from Dragovich's systematic elimination of "loose ends," information on cracking the numbers broadcast.
After this mission is completed, Mason describes to his interrogator how Bowman was killed while imprisoned, and how he and Woods escape from their Viet Cong captors. Mason fights across a vast swath of Vietnamese land in a stolen Mi-24 Hind to reach Kravchenko's base. At this base, Mason again meets Reznov, who leads him through the base towards Kravchenko. When Mason reaches Kravchenko, Kravchenko commits suicide with his bandolier of grenades, seemingly killing Woods in the process. Mason and Reznov then recover documents that lead them to Rebirth Island.
Mason's story converges with Hudson's at Rebirth Island, as both fight their way through a Soviet Nova 6 research and production facility to reach Dr. Steiner. Hudson engages in an all-out assault on the facility with light armor and a squad of CIA operatives, while Mason sneaks into the facility with Reznov. Mason reaches Steiner only shortly before Hudson, and watches as Reznov murders Steiner.
However, when the same story is retold through Hudson's eyes, it is revealed that it was, in fact, Mason alone who shot Steiner, while exclaiming that he was Reznov and would have revenge. The flashbacks end and the interrogation continues. Hudson reveals himself to be the interrogator and confronts Mason face-to-face in a desperate bid to break him free of his brainwashing. In this mission, it is revealed that, while at Vorkuta, Mason was subjected to severe mental reconditioning in order to turn him into a sleeper cell who would perform Soviet missions in America. However, Reznov 'hijacked' this conditioning and used it to instill in Mason an absolute devotion to complete Reznov's vow for revenge. Reznov was actually killed in the escape from Vorkuta, and, therefore, all subsequent appearances of his character are merely a part of Mason's imagination, brought on by the intense nature of the brainwashing Mason experienced.
As the reprogramming of Mason's brain is finally broken, Mason recalls the origin of the numbers broadcast, a ship off the shore of Cuba called the Rusalka. In a CIA raid on the ship and the underwater broadcast station over which it is anchored, Mason kills Dragovich and sinks the broadcast station, ending the threat that the sleeper agents presented to the United States.
Call of Duty: Black Ops IIEdit
- Main article: Call of Duty: Black Ops II
In the year 2025, U.S. Special Forces operatives led by David Mason and his partner, Mike Harper, arrive at "the Vault", a top-security location home to an aging Frank Woods, whom they suspect possess vital information on the whereabouts of Raul Menendez. Woods concedes that Menendez has recently visited him, and shows them a locket that the latter had left behind. Frank then narrates several covert missions undertaken during his military career which span their previous encounters.
According to Woods, by 1986 Alex Mason had effectively retired from active duty to pursue an obscure existence in Alaska with his son, the seven-year-old David. Their shaky relationship is strained further when Mason is solicited by his former handler Jason Hudson, seeking to recruit him for an assignment in Cuando Cubango during the height of the Angolan civil and South African Border Wars. Woods had disappeared with his men while aiding Jonas Savimbi's UNITA rebels against Angola's Marxist government; their actions have already been disavowed by the CIA and Hudson hopes to rescue any survivors. With UNITA assistance, Mason and Hudson recover Woods from the Cubango, subsequently locating Menendez among a contingent of Cuban military advisers. However, a firefight breaks out, and their quarry escapes as the Americans are rescued by helicopter. It is revealed that Menendez is responsible for holding Woods captive after murdering his team.
In light of this information, Mason and Hudson begin tracking Menendez, who has established himself as a primary arms dealer for bush conflicts in Southern Africa and Latin America. Later in the year, the CIA authorizes a strike against the unscrupulous Nicaraguan, now making a healthy profit running arms across Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. At this point, Menendez's motive for his seemingly senseless vendetta against the West become clear: his beloved sister was grievously injured in an act of arson committed by American businessmen for insurance money. The Menendez clan, which dominates a powerful drug cartel, was again rocked by loss when the CIA sanctions the assassination of Raul's father. An embittered Menendez now considers the conflict to be personal, but his one-man struggle against the West is interrupted when Mason, Woods, Hudson, and local security forces raid his headquarters in Nicaragua; an enraged Woods inadvertently kills Raul's sister, Josefina with a grenade.
Faking his demise with the assistance of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, Menendez lives to retaliate against those he holds personally responsible for his sister's death. During the 1989 invasion of Panama, he kidnaps Hudson and David, using them as bait for a trap. He then uses Hudson to mislead Woods, manipulating him into shooting Mason instead of himself. Depending on the player's actions in Afghanistan, it is implied that Menendez had used moles within the CIA. In the ensuing chaos, Menendez kills Hudson and cripples Woods. Unsatisfied with his revenge, Menendez allows Woods and David to live, promising to return to complete his revenge when the time is right.
Three decades later, Menendez re-emerges as the leader of Cordis Die, a massive populist movement with over a billion followers. He stages a cyberattack that cripples the Chinese Stock Exchange; in response, the Chinese ban the export of rare earth elements, fermenting the start of a new Cold War between the Chinese-led Strategic Defense Coalition (SDC) and the U.S.-led JSOC. Taking advantage of this stand-off, Menendez attempts to bring the two powers to a full-blown war by inciting conflicts between the two, secretly aiding SDC leader Chairman Tian Zhao, who worked with Mason and Woods during their operation in Afghanistan in 1986. Using the intelligence provided by Woods, David, now a Navy SEAL Commander code-named Section, leads JSOC forces in the renewed search for Menendez.
Shortly after gathering intelligence from Woods, Section and JSOC infiltrates Myanmar investigating a spike in activity in the region. There, Section's team encounters a computer engineer under Menendez's employment, warning them of a cyberattack with a Celerium device, a quantum computer capable of hacking any computer system. Section's team is later deployed in Pakistan, attempting to gather intelligence on Menendez's plots. During the infiltration, Menendez discloses the name of a target, "Karma" in the Cayman Islands. Section and SEAL operatives Harper and Salazar later infiltrate the Cayman Islands, finding out that "Karma" is a woman named Chloe Lynch, a former employee of Menendez's shell corporation, Tacitus. Lynch was the main developer of the Celerium device, and as a means of wrapping up loose ends, Menendez had deployed mercenaries for her abduction.
JSOC later has a lead on Menendez in Yemen, where JSOC asset Farid infiltrates Menendez's cell to help Section facilitate the leader's capture. The player, as Farid, has a choice during the mission. Menendez, suspecting Farid's disloyalty, orders him to shoot the captured Harper. If the player chooses not to shoot Harper, and instead attempts to shoot Menendez, he fails, but Harper survives and is rescued. If the player chooses to shoot Harper, Farid survives, and Harper is not present in any conversations or missions thereafter. Menendez is successfully captured, but this was a ruse for Menendez to hack into the U.S. military's computer infrastructure on the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Obama, seizing control the the United States' entire drone fleet. Salazar is revealed to be Menendez's mole within JSOC, and facilitates Menendez's attack—Menendez escapes with Salazar's aid, and when Menendez breaks in to the bridge of the Obama, Salazar shoots the soldiers guarding Admiral Briggs, with Lynch's survival dependent on Farid's survival in the previous mission. The player, playing as Menendez, has the choice of either killing or wounding Admiral Briggs. If the player only wounds Briggs, and the player has completed all of the Strike Force missions, JSOC and SDC enter an alliance, then the player is later informed that the SDC sent hundreds of drones to defend the Obama, and consequently Briggs was able to save the ship and its crew. Menendez uses the drones to stage an attack on Los Angeles during a meeting of G20 leaders, hoping to kill them and cause catastrophic damage to the global economy. Section escorts U.S. President Bosworth to safety amidst the drone attacks.
JSOC eventually finds the source of the transmissions responsible for the hacking to Haiti, where Section leads JSOC forces into recapturing the facility in the final mission, and apprehending or killing Menendez. There are different endings depending on the actions the player takes throughout the campaign, such as whether or not the United States and China are able to enter an alliance with each other, as well as determining the fates of certain individuals in the game.
During the main campaign, the player may choose to participate in optional Strike Missions. The Strike Missions involve JSOC attempting to curb the SDC's global influence by preventing them from forcing neighboring countries into the alliance. Section himself does not participate in these missions directly, though he can command the forces remotely from a command center. If the missions are completed successfully, the SDC is weakened enough to ally with JSOC, and assists the player later in the campaign, for example, in sending its own drones to rescue the U.S.S. Obama.
The storyline of Call of Duty: Black Ops II has several endings, depending on which conditions the player fulfils over the course of the game.
If the player spares Menendez's life, completes all four Strike Force Missions, and both Chloe Lynch and Alex Mason survive the events of the game, the "best" ending will result. The player will have secured an alliance between China and the United States, ending the Second Cold War, Chloe's survival prevents Menendez's cyberattack from succeeding, and Mason's survival allows him to visit Frank Woods in retirement, reuniting with Section. The final scene shows Menendez in prison, watching a talk show with Jimmy Kimmel interviewing Chloe, getting enraged when Chloe Lynch insults him during the interview.
If Menendez is spared and Chloe survives, but Mason is killed in action, the Second Cold War will end and Menendez's cyberattack will fail, but Section will visit his father's grave with Woods and decides to retire from soldiering; Woods comments that his father would approve of the decision.
If Menendez is spared, Chloe is killed and Mason's fate is unresolved, Section will apprehend Menendez and take him into custody. The cyberattack will succeed, allowing Menendez to escape. He kills Woods in the retirement home before visting his sister's grave, dousing himself in gasoline, and readying a lit match.
If Menendez is killed, Chloe's fate is unresolved and Mason is killed, Section will visit his father's grave. Menendez's followers will riot when they learn of his assassination from a video Menendez programmed to post in that event, ending with a cut of the White House burning.
If Menendez is killed, Chloe's fate is unresolved and Mason lives, Section will kill Menendez before reuniting with his father at the retirement home, and Menendez's followers will riot as above.
- A game in the Black Ops series is referenced in the show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In an episode, Sam and one of his brothers have a conversation about having played "C.O.D.", and that one was spawn killing the other constantly in "Black Ops". Since the episode was made in 2014, the scene took place a year before (2013) and at the time there were three games in the Black Ops series out, it is unknown whether they were referring to Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Black Ops II or Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified.