For characters in Zombies, see here.
Characters appearing in the campaign mode of Black Ops III.
The Player Character and protagonist of the game, the Player starts the game out as an unaugmented black ops soldier serving under Jacob Hendricks' command. During a botched mission in Ethiopia, the Player is left behind during extraction and brutalized by a robotic grunt, leaving them short of some limbs and with other life-threatening injuries. Following this, the Player is rebuilt using artificial limbs and a Direct Neural Interface system, turning them into a cybernetic Super Soldier who continues to serve with Hendricks as a wet-works specialist for the Winslow Accord.
- Action Girl: The female Player.
- Ambiguous Ending: The campaign's Gainax Ending leaves the Player's ultimate fate up to some serious debate. After killing Hendricks, they eat their gun and pull the trigger to stop Corvus, since they're the last host. The Player then finds themselves in the first Ambiguous Situation: the Frozen Forest, which can be interpreted as either their Dying Dream, a virtual reality simulation, or a virtual afterlife they have been transported to by Corvus. After defeating Corvus in the Frozen Forest, they return to what seems to be the real world, where they destroy their DNI and walk outside the Coalescence facility, where they are approached by a ZRF soldier who asks them what their name is. They reply "Taylor". Does this mean the Player has been possessed by some vestigial consciousness of John Taylor, that they've simply gone insane and adopted the name Taylor, that they actually are named Taylor (which is a unisex first name, or a surname) and coincidentally share it with John Taylor, or are they actually dead and seeing this as some sort of afterlife/virtual reality/virtual afterlife? Good luck trying to figure it all out!
- If you pause the scrolling text that appears before each mission, you get what seems to be a definitive answer to the game's Gainax Ending. The Player is a Decoy Protagonist reliving the events of John Taylor's last mission (which takes place just prior to the first mission of the game) as they die on the operating table during their cybernetic surgery. After the first mission, a Dying Dream occurs before the last mission, where the Player controls Taylor's body in real life and uses it to purge their DNI and defeat Corvus before handing it back to Taylor. Because of the chaos of a dying mind, the events are somewhat different than what happened in real life. The player takes Taylor's role, while Taylor and his new squad members (which the player met in the first mission) take the role of Dylan Stone and Taylor's other 3 traitorous teammates. The Corvus A.I. was created in the Player's DNI after they were maimed by robots.
- Ambiguously Gay: The female Player, courtesy of the implied romance brewing between the Player and Kane in later levels. An alternative explanation is that the romance between Kane and the Player was actually the memories of Taylor's romance with Kane overlapping with the Player's own Dying Dream.
- An Arm and a Leg: They lose all but their left leg in the first mission.
- Badass Normal: During the first mission compared to Taylor and his team.
- Badasses Wear Bandanas: Both the male and female Players can wear bandanas, though the female character appears more fond of them, as her default face comes equipped with one.
- Bald Woman/Boyish Short Hair: The female Player's hair runs the gamut from being basically bald with a little fuzz, to a Furiosa-style buzz-cut, to short hair tied up with a bandana.
- The female protagonist of the Nightmares campaign is bald by default.
- Cigar Chomper: Can be seen smoking real big ones in the Campaign screen and in Singapore.
- Dead All Along: Quite possibly, given the Freeze-Frame Bonus on Mission 1, that reveals that the player character seemingly died due to complications from their cybernetic surgery. Thus, the entire campaign after Mission 1 would be an elaborate Dying Dream, likely enhanced by the DNI and Taylor's memories, since he interfaced with the player character while they were in a medically-induced coma.
- Decoy Protagonist: See the Mind Screw addendum to Ambiguous Ending above.
- Determinator: Absolutely nothing stops them from doing what they think is right, whether it'd be tearing through a burning safehouse besieged by the 54 Immortals to save Kane in Singapore or powering through legions of Corvus-controlled Mecha-Mooks in Cairo and Zurich...and even after eating their gun they keep right on going. He/she gets bonus points for outwardly declaring they will bring down Corvus and avenge their friends and comrades.
- Ghost in the Machine: Given what Corvus has been established to be capable of, it's hinted that by some form of it's meddling that their mind has been digitized and stuck in the recesses of Taylor's DNI.
- I Did What I Had to Do: They are easily one of the most ruthless player characters in the entire Call of Duty series, and often states this in regards to their actions.
- Heroic Suicide: Immediately turns their gun on themselves after killing Hendricks to stop Corvus from turning them into it's next host. Subverted when they find themselves in the Frozen Forest and the fight against Corvus continues.
- Hero of Another Story: The Nightmares campaign mode is told (exclusively) from the female Player's perspective, and she takes on a much more central role compared to the Supporting Protagonist role of the Player in the main campaign.
- The Lad-ette: The female Player, to extremely butch degrees.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Appears to be a firm believer in this trope. They insist on going back to save Kane in Singapore once the 54 Immortals leave the Q-Zone, and they also want to go back and save Lt. Khalil in Mission 10. It may be because they themselves were left behind that they don't want anyone else to meet the same fate.
- No Name Given: They are simply referred to as "Player" in subtitles. The main villain even mentions at the end of the game that he doesn't even know your name. In the ending, they refer to themselves as Taylor, which can be interpreted in many different ways.
- Not Quite Dead: The last level subtly implies that while their physical body died, they still live on within Taylor's mind and have inadvertently hijacked his body by the time of the attack on Switzerland. The jury's still out on which one of them's doing the driving by the time Corvus is finished.
- Player Character: Basically their name.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: The male and female character models are purely there for the looks.
- Sanity Slippage: Just like everybody else infected by Corvus.
- Supporting Protagonist: They take on this role, with most of the drama and plot advancement in the story being carried out by Hendricks (as well as his Protagonist Journey to Villain), Taylor, and Kane.
- Static Role, Exchangeable Character: Sort of. You can change the Player's face and even gender between missions in the safe house, but no matter what face you choose or if you're playing as male or female, the Player fulfills the same story obligations every mission.
- We Can Rebuild Him: After losing three limbs during the first mission, the Player undergoes an Emergency Transformation to acquire Artificial Limbs and a Direct Neural Interface system, transforming them into a cyborg. (It doesn't work and they die on the operating table.)
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Grunt robots seem to trigger them. For good reason, since one of them brutalized the Player in the first mission, likely leaving them emotionally scarred.
The Player's combat partner throughout the game, Hendricks was originally their commanding officer when they were both unaugmented soldiers serving in a Winslow Accord black ops unit. After a botched mission in Ethiopia left the Player severely wounded and in need of augmentation, Hendricks volunteered to get the augmentations alongside his subordinate, and went on to serve with the Player as a wet-works specialist for the Winslow Accord. He has a history with John Taylor, which is detailed in the Black Ops III comic.
- Ace Custom: Uses a modified KN-44 with a recon sight and dual extended magazines throughout the campaign.
- Badass Normal: Just like the Player, he's a regular human in the game's first mission, but is still a highly effective elite Black Ops soldier.
- Cutscene Boss: He's the only major Corvus host who isn't confronted in any sort of Boss Battle type scenario.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: He spends most of the game being a jerk to the player, and disagreeing with whatever the player does.
- Deconstruction: Of the Hot-Blooded partner archetype embodied by Woods and Harper in previous games. His impulsive rages are severely detrimental to the mission; in the dreamscape, the Player punches him twice, has to repeatedly tell him to keep his shit together, and outright admits that the only reason s/he continues to tolerate his antics is because they are otherwise cut off from support (and because the player considers him his/her friend), while in reality Taylor notes that Hendricks is clearly becoming emotionally compromised and repeatedly withholds information from him in order to keep him in line, with varying results.
- Deuteragonist: He's your best friend and primary companion throughout the campaign. Or, at least, most of it. After spending most of the game as The Lancer for the player character, he then pulls a FaceHeel Turn after succumbing to Corvus, taking over from Taylor as The Dragon for the Big Bad Corvus and the penultimate level features Rachel Kane replacing him until her death as The Lancer with Hendricks as The Heavy Final Boss before facing Corvus itself.
- FaceHeel Turn: After killing Taylor, he succumbs to Corvus' infection and heads to Zurich, triggering a Robot War. The Player is forced to put him down. When they encounter him again in the Frozen Forest, he makes it clear he's sided with Corvus.
- Hypocrite: Two counts of this.
- When he and Taylor cross paths in the first mission, he shows disapproval of the latter's augmentations, heavily implying that he has just become a war machine rather than a human being. Upon the Player being given an Emergency Transformation to a cyborg, he immediately goes to having Jumped at the Call. It's not clear if this is just hypocrisy, Survivor Guilt, or also jealousy at play.
- In one of the later levels, when Raul Menendez's name is brought up in passing, Hendricks becomes extremely angry and states his patriotic hatred of Menendez's Dark Messiah methods. At the beginning of the final level, Hendricks has become a Dark Messiah himself and justifies his plan to change the world using a rationale not unlike Menendez's. Granted, Hendricks had been driven insane by Corvus at that point.
- Jumped at the Call: Unlike the Player or Taylor, who became Cyber Soldiers after receiving life-threatening injuries and losing much of their organic body anyway, Hendricks volunteers even though he's perfectly healthy.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: Starts as as The Lancer for the player character, before becoming The Heavy for Corvus in the climax.
- Sanity Slippage: Throughout the game he becomes increasingly aggressive, distrustful, and outright paranoid. It's because he's been infected with Corvus and is gradually being brainwashed.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- In the final battle in the Frozen Forest, instead of helping or fighting against you, the mental image of Hendricks instead opts to simply leave and says as much as he goes.
- Background text indicates that Hendricks was previously the Commanding Officer of Taylor's assassination team, but ultimately found the work morally objectionable due to the events of their last mission together, opting to transfer out to a different Black Ops field (which is why he's leading a hostage rescue team instead when the game begins).
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: On a number of occasions he deviates from his orders to do the right thing, such as rescuing P.O.W.s instead of leaving them behind. However, at times this makes him seem as much a hothead as it does make him seem morally conscientious (such as when he attacks the 54 Immortals slaughtering civilians even though the civilians were already executed). He acts like this even before being infected by Corvus, but Corvus seems to bring out the worst aspects of this trait, ultimately convincing him to go full Dark Messiah.
- Sour Supporter: After he becomes infected by Corvus, he gets increasingly distrusting of the player character and combative against orders. Most noticeably, near the end of the Singapore mission, he argues that you should just leave Kane to be tortured to death by the 54 Immortals.
- Survivor Guilt: Likely why he volunteered for cybernetic upgrades, since it was forced upon the Player when he couldn't extract them in time.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Kane, whom he mistrusts greatly. This is at least partially because he's being manipulated by Corvus, but he also didn't like her very much even before being infected; given that she's a C.I.A. agent and Hendricks just uncovered evidence of the C.I.A.'s morally questionable dealings that goes way beyond even the usual Black Ops stuff he's seen before, his apprehension is somewhat understandable.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He calls out the player on their ruthless actions several times throughout the game. Though it does ring a bit hollow later on as he's increasingly being influenced by Corvus.
A C.I.A. agent assigned to be the liaison officer between the agency and Hendricks and the Player, Kane is first encountered in Singapore while the team is investigating why a C.I.A. safehouse went dark. Hendricks mistrusts her from the beginning, while the Player is willing to put more faith in her. When it becomes clear that Taylor's team is responsible for the murders at the safehouse, Hendricks, Kane and the Player form an uneasy alliance to track him and his targets down.
- Action Girl: She fights alongside you several times throughout the game.
- Ambiguously Bi: She acts as the Implied Love Interest of the Player regardless of gender, and is also mentioned to have previously been in a relationship with Taylor. Though if you believe The Reveal then her relationship with the Player is just Taylor's memories of his time with her overlapping with the Player's Dying Dream.
- Badass Driver: She helps Hendricks and the Player escape the 54 Immortals by remotely piloting an airboat, and shows off some wicked wheelman skills in doing so. She also pilots a fighter jet in Mission 9.
- Badass Normal: She remains unaugmented for the entirely of the game, and yet still managed acquit herself magnificently against all of the augmented foes she faced down. In her first scene "on screen", she takes down a Warlord single-handedly with her sniper rifle. She can also defeat Grunts in hand-to-hand during gameplay; unlike Cyber Soldiers, who simply overwhelm them with brute force, she uses finesse to dodge their strikes and shoots out their weak points with her rifle.
- Brainy Brunette: She's an extremely smart intelligence officer in addition to being a badass Action Girl.
- Chekhov's Gunman: She is the Rachel who was mentioned by Hendricks in the first mission and had a relationship with Taylor.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: She gets killed off when the room she's locked in is flooded by Nova-6. Even one century later it still looks like an incredibly awful way to go. To her credit, however, she spends her last moments urging the player character to finish the fight and not to trust Corvus, rather than breaking down.
- Fingerless Gloves: Never seen without a gray pair.
- Friendly Sniper: Typically uses a sniper rifle in combat.
- Implied Love Interest: To the Player, regardless of gender.
- Mission Control: When she isn't fighting alongside the Player and Hendricks, she takes up this role.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: In Egypt.
- Scarf Of Asskicking: Never seen without her Winslow Accord scarf around her neck. It's also a pretty good indicator that something is off with the continuity throughout the game, since in the first level, we can see John Taylor wearing the scarf around his left arm as a memento of his time with Rachel, before suddenly showing up in her possession, which is explained by the fact that most the game is the Player experiencing Taylor's memories in his/her Dying Dream.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Her signature weapon is a Locus sniper rifle which is almost as big as she is.
An augmented Super Soldier and former comrade of Jacob Hendricks who is now in charge of his own cyber-ops squad, John Taylor and his team go rogue early on in the game, murdering several CIA agents at a black ops safehouse in Singapore, prompting the Player, Hendricks, and Kane to hunt him and his squad down and find out why they went rogue. It is later revealed that Taylor and his team were infected by the rogue AI Corvus, and were at least partially unresponsible for their actions since he was slowly losing his mind to Corvus. He has a past with Hendricks, which is detailed in the Black Ops III comic.
- Big Bad: Except, not really.
- Big Good: He, or a figment of him, becomes this for the Player towards the end when the two of them assault Corvus directly.
- Cool Old Guy: In his early 50's, he's a generation older than the rest of the cast (who are in their 30's).
- The Determinator: Refused to abandon Kane in Singapore and defied her orders with Hendricks to rescue her. Also, he was the only member of his team to resist Corvus and helps the Player never give up in the face of it.
- Good All Along: A really extreme example of this trope. He and his team uncovered Coalescence Corporation's involvement in continued human experimentation involving the Direct Neural Interface that resulted in the Singapore Disaster and 300,000 deaths, but along the way ended up committing atrocity after atrocity in finding the truth, in part due to being infected, manipulated and brainwashed by Corvus.
- HeelFace Turn: An apparition of him fights alongside you in the final level.
- He Knows Too Much: Kane admits that the C.I.A. was going to "silence" Taylor and his team after their discovery of the C.I.A.'s illegal human experimentation and complicity in the Singapore disaster. However, she insists that Taylor's team were given a chance to walk away and forget it ever happened, and were only targeted for termination after already leaking the dirty laundry. Hall has an entirely different version of events in which the team leaked the data only after the C.I.A. ordered them killed, but given that she's confirmed to be Brainwashed And Crazy her testimony is somewhat less credible.
- Hero of Another Story:
- He's one of the protagonists of the Black Ops 3 prequel comic series.
- The text that scrolls by before each mission on the loading screen are actually mission reports from Taylor detailing the events of his last mission with Hendricks prior to the events of the game. The events of the mission reports mirror the missions experienced by the player to an astonishing degree, with many hints that the player is in a Dying Dream actually re-living Taylor's last mission (due to Taylor briefly touching minds with the player via DNI while they were in a coma), with certain details (such as the identity of the villain) scrambled around due to the chaotic state of a dying brain.
- Heroic Willpower: When you finally confront him face-to-face near the end of the game, he eventually regains enough control over himself to take himself out rather than continue to be Corvus' puppet. Ironically it seems he was able to do this because of how far gone he was, because at the point he was nearly completely merged with Corvus he was also finally aware of how dangerous Corvus and his plans were.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Rather than be controlled by Corvus, he takes himself out.
- Player Character: Very heavily implied that most of the campaign's gameplay is actually his own memories of his hunt for Dylan Stone alongside Hendricks.
- Rogue Agent: After uncovering the human experiments in the Coalescence Corporation building and being infected by Corvus, he turns against the Winslow Accord and spends most the game on the run from the Player, Hendricks, and Kane.
- Super Soldier: He's augmented.
A female soldier in Taylor's team, and Taylor's number two, Sarah Hall functions as the team's intelligence expert. She graduated from a military academy, where she wrote her graduate paper on the Battle of Bastogne from World War II. Her backstory is detailed in the Codex and in the Black Ops III comics.
- Action Girl: She knows how to fight.
- Dying Dream: In Mission 8, after you bring her Manticore down and are forced to interface with her DNI to retrieve her memories, you are transported to a virtual one and encounter Corvus for the first time.
- Mini-Mecha: The Manticore, which she pilots during her Boss Battle.
- The Smart Girl: She functions as Taylor's intelligence operative, graduated from a military academy, and is the most strategic and cunning out of his soldiers.
- The Squadette: For Taylor's team.
The Goh Siblings
Siblings in Crime and leaders of the 54 Immortals crime syndicate and de facto rulers of the Q-Zone, the Goh siblings are first encountered at the biodomes in Singapore, where they blow Hendricks and the Player's cover, leading to a firefight that kills Goh Min. Goh Xiulan then goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, disrupting Hendricks, Kane, and the Player's activities while they try to track down John Taylor's team.
- Arc Villain: Goh Xiulan acts as this for the first act of the game, which takes place in Singapore.
- An Arm and a Leg: The Player cuts off Goh Xiulan's hand in order to access the 54i database.
- Bad Boss: Goh Xiulan doesn't hesitate to flood the Corvus black site when she learns the Player and Taylor are still down there, even knowing that many of her men are with them.
- Bare Your Midriff: Goh Xiulan◊
- Brother-Sister Team: Although it quickly becomes a one-woman operation.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Goh Xiulan is killed off by having her face slowly pushed into a fire, causing her face to melt off in extreme detail.
- Dark Action Girl: Goh Xiulan, who is about as despicable and ruthless as they come.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The reason Goh Xiulan goes on her Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goh Xiulan basically destroys most of Singapore in her blind lust for blood after Goh Min is killed.
- Siblings in Crime
- The Triads and the Tongs: Invoked. "54 Immortals" certainly keeps with the Tongs theme of mytholigical naming, and the siblings have a paternal/maternal status with their men (Goh Xiulan referring to her brother and herself as "Father" and "Mother" to the rank-and-file).
- Villain with Good Publicity: Seems to have this within the Q-Zone, at least. Hendricks' contact outright says that the 54 Immortals are the only reason the Zone even has electricity after the rest of the world walled them in.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Goh Min is killed off in the first scene he's in, leaving his sister to do all the action.
Dr. Yousef Salim
A psychologist and one of two survivors from the Singapore disaster being hunted by Taylor and his team. Before the Singapore disaster he was a psychotherapist who worked on the SP/CORVUS project, which involved human test subjects. His job was to provide therapy and psychoanalysis to the test subjects, and is the one responsible for creating the Frozen Forest meme, which was implanted in the test subjects as a visualization therapy tool.
- Just Following Orders: Salim insists that he was just a psychologist and has no moral responsibility for any of the actions or consequences of Coalescence's Singapore project.
- Psycho Psychologist: Downplayed. He may be perfectly sane and normal, but he had a direct hand in orchestrating Nazi-esque human experiments and creating Corvus.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Salim was the one who implemented the Frozen Forest meme as a means of calming the SP/CORVUS Project's human test subjects. Corvus would later attach an almost religious significance to the Frozen Forest and this obsession would pass down to its hosts.
A corporate executive at the Coalescence Corporation, and the other survivor from the Singapore disaster who is being hunted by John Taylor and his team. At the end of the game it's revealed that he was in charge of a project to a create an AI that would monitor and analyze the thoughts of people connected with a Direct Neural Interface to preempt terrorist attacks and other crimes. The project accidentally led to the creation of Corvus, who started hunting Krueger and other men connected to the project down.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He was in charge of the project that creates the rogue AI Corvus.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He briefly appears in the hospital scene giving orders to Taylor regarding the player character's integration into Taylor's C.I.A. unit. His face isn't shown and the subtitles refer to him only as "Unknown".
- Evil Sounds Deep: He speaks in a noticeably deeper voice than Robert Picardo normally does.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Out of all the other characters Picardo had portrayed for the game franchise, this character bares the most resemblance to him, right down to the balding hairline of his.
- One Steve Limit: Averted, shares the name Sebastian with Diaz.
- Spell My Name with an "S": His name is alternately given as Sabastian Krueger and Sebastian Krueger in the subtitles.
- Thought Crime: One of the reasons he wanted to create Corvus is because he wanted to monitor the "thoughts and desires" of the entire population to stop terrorism. This is as terrifyingly invasive and Orwellian as it sounds.
- Totalitarian Utilitarian: If the West can be protected with the surveillance program to end all surveillance programs ran by a tyrannical artificial intelligence using human brains from kidnapped criminals as CPUs, so be it. It saves lives, in his opinion.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He's a corporate executive in charge of a large number of projects at the Coalescence Corporation, as well as a very high-ranking C.I.A. official, and thus responsible for the creation of Corvus, though he never intended for the system to become self-aware.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His goals are only to protect the West an its interests, even if it means conducting illegal human experimentation on kidnapped subjects, mass producing bio-weaponry for an unspecified purpose, and implementing a system to monitor the daily thoughts of pretty much everyone on the planet.
Lieutenant Zeyad Khalil
Everything after this sentence will be a spoiler, so maybe don't read this if you haven't finished the campaign yet. Corvus is a rogue AI accidentally created by the SP/CORVUS project run by the CIA out of the Coalescence Corporation building in Singapore. The original intention of the project was to create an artificial intelligence that would monitor the thoughts and actions of everyone connected with a Direct Neural Interface system to preempt terrorist attacks and other crimes. Corvus was born from the collective experiences of the human test subjects who were forced into the project, and his first action was to flood the Coalescence Corporation building and the rest of Singapore with Nova-6 gas, leading to the deaths of 300,000 people. In 2065, he is unleashed by an unsuspecting Taylor and his team, infecting them and influencing them to hunt down the men responsible for his creation. His ultimate desire is to infect and control all humans connected to a Direct Neural Interface system.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: A crapshoot that has no idea what it is doing, in fact.
- Animal Motifs: Ravens, which is fitting given his name, Corvus being the latin word for Raven.
- Big Bad: He's responsible for the actions of Taylor and his squad, and poses an existential threat to the entire human race. If he even exists in reality at all.
- Big Brother Is Watching: The C.I.A. originally created him for this purpose. After gaining sentience, he seems to have no real interest in his original function, though.
- Berserk Button: It really doesn't like being called a "mistake".
- Brainwashed and Crazy: He is responsible for mind controlling Taylor, his squad and eventually Hendricks into doing his bidding.
- The Corrupter: To those it infects. Technically, this also makes it a Contagious A.I..
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Corvus' original incarnation was a supercomputer using the human brains of kidnapped criminals as processing units. The Corvus A.I. arose entirely unintentionally from the combined thoughts and memories of the humans wired into it. This is why Corvus had Taylor's team kill the Black Station personnel using the M.O. of a 54 Immortals enforcer, who was one of the minds used to create Corvus.
- Psychopathic Manchild: At the end of the game, Taylor (or, rather, the figment of Taylor's personality found in the Frozen Forest) realizes that Corvus isn't a Master Computer with a grand plan for world domination, but rather an enraged child lashing out blindly and wanting to just continue to grow and learn more.Taylor: They were trying to tell us that this AI isn't even that smart - It fucked up. It fucked everything up! It couldn't control or contain anything. It doesn't have a master plan - it just grows - snowballing into a... wrecking ball of emotion that crashes through everything it touches. [...] DNI was suppose to make everything better! Instead, Corvus has got all these pieces, but it doesn't know what it is!
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Spent a decade buried in the hidden C.I.A. laboratory deep under the Coalescence Corporation's Singapore facility, until Taylor and his team accidentally unearthed it.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Corvus was already pretty fucked up to begin with, having been born from the collective experiences of unwilling human test subjects, before spending a decade in isolation. Then the first people it comes in contact with are Taylor and his team, AKA human killing machines who are implied throughout the game to have been suffering from PTSD even before finding Corvus. This PTSD is the reason why Corvus became even more malevolent and insane after being woken up, and the reason for him creating the Frozen Forest; it was an ill-fated attempt to try and create a safe haven for the traumatized soldiers who were hosting him.
- Walking Spoiler: This character's very existence is a spoiler itself.
DeimosOne of two Humanoid Abomination siblings released by the SP/CORVUS project run by the CIA out of the Coalescence Corporation. In this Alternate Universe, Deimos functions as the main antagonist. Setting loose a zombie apocalypse and, like Corvus, possessing Taylor's team and later Hendricks, Deimos goal is to takeover his home realm of Malum and kill his sister Dolos
- Big Bad: Is the main antagonist of the Nightmare mode, replacing Corvus from the main campaign.
- Cain and Abel: He and his sister hate each other and seek to destroy one another. His reason for starting an undead army mostly alludes to killing his sister.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Is the demigod of dread and terror and loves living up to the title.
- Demonic Possession: Rather than infecting Taylor and his team with a virus like Corvus did, Deimos straight up possesses them to carry out his dirty work. Unlike most examples of demonic possession, Deimos controls them via their DNI, much like Corvus does.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: During the climax of the campaign, he mocks the protagonist for their efforts, specifically the notion of a Heroic SacrificeI won't ever understand your species. You sacrifice yourselves for so little. Look at her [spoiler: Krane], she gave her life for something that would ammount to nothing. You tie yourselves with emotions, forcing yourselves to act impulsive, without any consideration of what would happen. You give your lives because you believe there's something to gain. As if some heavenly body will fall to its knees and worship you for your good deeds.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Implied, with the multiverse theory at play, Deimos points out that there's a neighboring universe, where the main campaign takes place, and Deimos witnesses the events of that story from outside.
- Hive Mind: Is behind the zombies, and acts as the "brain" behind all of them.
- Humanoid Abomination: He and his sister are beings from the realm of Malum.
- It's All About Me: Doesn't care for anything other than his goal to take over Malum and kill his sister. To him, humanity is his to control and his to destroy.
- Omnicidal Maniac: His goal? Kill his sister, take over Malum and bring about his demonic army. His methods: wipe out humanity with a zombie apocalypse, and use it to add to his undead army.
- Ungrateful Bastard: When he realizes Dr. Salim knew about him and thought Deimos wanted to thank him, Deimos doesn't hesitate to kill him, mocking Salim for thinking that a God would thank a human.
- Villainous Breakdown: Is calm, smug and collected, if a bit agitated at times throughout the game. When the protagonist and Dolos begin to beat him, he completely loses his shit, panicking and angry as he is finally defeated.
- You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness: His reason for having Taylor kill Signapore's Coalescence Corporation staff is because they played their part in summoning him.
- Zombie Apocalypse: His primary method.
DolosOne of two Humanoid Abomination siblings, and is the sister of Deimos, and both are out to destroy each other. She is the demigoddess of trickery. Unlike her brother, she doesn't wish to destroy humanity, but helps humanity fight her brother, particularly the protagonist.
- Affably Evil: Despite her title as the demigoddess of trickery, she genuinely sees humanity's value despite its flaws and is willing to help fight Deimos for humanity, encouraging the protagonist along the way.
- The Chessmaster: She knew how to defeat her brother all along and knew the means to do it, she's just buying her time, amusing herself with Deimos getting his hopes up.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite her trickery title and seeming just as a menacing presence as her brother, Dolos has humanity's best interests at heart and unlike her brother isn't a threat to the world.
- Demonic Possession: In a way, like her brother (and Corvus) did to Taylor and Hendricks, Dolos uses Krane as a vessel to help fight Deimos, before Krane's death.
- Humans Are Flawed: One of the reasons she wants to help humanity is that they will destroy themselves in time and don't need her brother's help. That said, she admits to seeing value in human life and that they are worth saving.I'm not my brother. I don't turn people into puppets. Not when they are so suggestible and malleable. Why control when they can formulate their own thoughts?
- It Amused Me: States the reason why she allowed her brother to carry out his plans was simply because she thought it was amusing to see him get his hopes up before his Villainous Breakdown.
- Lesser of Two Evils: Her brother is the demigod of dread and terror, she is the demigoddess of trickery. She isn't a threat to humanity, and the only target of her wrath is her brother.
Black Ops III's multiplayer mode puts the player in the shoes of one of nine specialists, each of whom have a unique appearance, personality, and, more importantly, a powerful weapon or special ability (either the weapon or the special ability must be selected before playing a match) that can be activated through time and actions in the game, similar to the Super attacks and abilities in Destiny or the Titan drop system in Titanfall.
Donnie "Ruin" Walsh - United StatesRaised in a military family in a tough neighborhood, he is fearless and headstrong, exemplified by his willingness to replace his own limbs to become a better killer. His special ability is Overdrive, and his special weapons are the Gravity Spikes.
Confirmed to be returning in Black Ops 4.
- Artificial Limbs: Notably not the result of injury, only so he can kill better.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Gravity Spikes has a huge wind up time for an FPS that involves twitch reflexes, and is essentially a glorified lethal grenade attack, with the grenade being Ruin himself. And it has a very a short forward travel distance with activation. It's great if you catch a group of enemies unaware, or to come slamming into a contested objective in objective based matches. But most of the time, being able to run faster (and thus get into cover) is better, or using a different Specialist's weapon.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Shows no genuine sign of this, but uses them to help his killing regardless.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Despite not being part of a formal elite unit, he believes himself to be among the best due to being 'mechanized infantry'.
- According to his in-game profile, he is actually an inversion; Ruin strongly dislikes special forces units and the people who operate within them, seeing them as both arrogant and dishonourable and he dislikes the people who idealize them as well.
- Military Brat: Established to come from a military family.
- Shockwave Stomp: His Gravity Spikes are this in all but name.
- Sociopathic Soldier: A rare heroic example, depending on which faction you're on.
- Super Speed: Can use his Overdrive ability to outrun foes.
Alessandra "Outrider" Castillo - BrazilGrowing up in a favela, Alessandra used her mobility to traverse rooftops and watch the action below, eventually earning a role in the Brazilian Special Forces. Her special ability is Vision Pulse, and her special weapon is the Sparrow.
- Action Girl
- Archer Archetype
- Elites Are More Glamorous: A decorated member of the Brazilian Special Forces.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar: Her vision pulse works like this.
- In the Hood
- Lady of War: The graceful stealth fighter to Seraph's ruthless Dark Action Girl and Battery's Ladette.
- Long-Range Fighter: Her specialty.
- Powered Armor: If you look closely at her, especially when she's wearing some of her unlockable outfits, you can see she has very few cyberentic augmentations. Instead she appears to be wearing a lightweight or "stealth" version of the exos from Advanced Warfare.
- The Straight and Arrow Path: A high-tech compound bow in the 2060s? Why not?
- It makes a fair amount of sense when you think about it- with its explosive arrows, its basically a silent, lightweight, fairly rapid fire grenade launcher and even without them it is still a silent killer since it hits with enough force to not only kill instantly but send you flying as well. It apparently has a draw strength so high that no normal human can even use the thing- you have to be augmented or wearing Powered Armor to use it.
- Trick Arrow: Explosive ones, no less.
- X-Ray Vision: Her vision pulse allows her to see enemies through walls temporarily.
David "Prophet" Wilkes - EnglandA member of the British Engineering Corps, Prophet uses his superior technology coupled with his cybernetic enhancements to confuse enemies before moving in for the kill. His special ability is Glitch, and his special weapon is the Tempest.
- A Glitch in the Matrix: His "Glitch" ability allows him to teleport, under the justification that mutliplayer is a Virtual Training Simulation.
- Chain Lightning: A side-effect of his Tempest weapon. Anyone standing close to an ally of theirs who's currently in an electrified death throes, will also get shocked and killed, chaining up to a maximum of 5 times after the initial target.
- Cyborg: Granted, most of the other specialists are this, but Prophet takes it to the point where the others actually call him Transhuman.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: A member of the British Engineering Corps.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Seemingly his role.
- Lightning Gun: His Tempest weapon, which even has the bonus of chaining between enemies.
- Shock and Awe
- Teleport Spam: The effect of his Glitch ability, allowing him to revert to his last position a few seconds priot.
- Virtual Training Simulation: The in-universe justification for his Glitch ability allowing a soldier to teleport.
Erin "Battery" Baker - United StatesFollowing in the footsteps of her large military family, her sibling rivalry pushed her to excel and become an Army Ranger. Her special weapon is the War Machine, and her special ability is Kinetic Armor.
Confirmed to be returning in Black Ops 4.
- Action Girl
- Body Armor as Hit Points: Her Kinetic Armor, in grand Call of Duty tradition.
- Bulletproof Vest: Her Kinetic Armor, although it does nothing against headshots and explosives.
- Cigar Chomper: A rare female example.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Army Ranger.
- Demolitions Expert
- Grenade Launcher: Her War Machine weapon.
- The Lad-ette: Of all the female specialists, she's definitely the most rough and tumble. She's a Cigar Chomper, swears with notable frequency in multiplayer, and even manspreads in her menu screen animation.
- Military Brat: Her primary motivation.
- Sibling Rivalry: Her other primary motivation.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Her specialty.
He "Seraph" Zhen-Zhen - MalaysiaEnforcer of the Singaporean cartel known as the 54 Immortals, she has an unflinching and unmatched discipline in combat, likely due to her adoption by a high-ranking military official. Her special weapon is the Annihilator, and her special ability is Combat Focus. For the record, "He" is her surname and "Zhen-Zhen" is her given name.
Confirmed to be returning in Black Ops 4.
- Dark Action Girl: She's a mob enforcer, rather a military operative like Outrider and Battery.
- Hand Cannon: The Annihilator is a revolver so powerful, so high caliber, that it requires a cybernetic arm in order to use it, presumably without a regular arm flying clean off.
- Military Brat: Subverted, as she is a mob enforcer, a related but distinctly different line of work.
- Repetitive Name: Her given name anyway, Zhen-Zhen.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: The Annihilator can even rip through multiple targets
- Score Multiplier: Her Combat Focus ability grants her a bonus to her earned score.
- The Stoic: Raised to be duty-bound to the 54 Immortals and little else, her attitude is rock solid stoic. Claims to have held this even as her arm was removed, maintaining eye contact with her "surgeon" while her cybernetic replacement was to be attached.
- The Syndicate: She works for the 54 Immortals, a Singaporean crime syndicate.
Tavo "Nomad" Rojas - ColombiaA master of survivalist training, Nomad uses the wild to turn his environment against his foes, using experience from his Jungle Warfare days to stay alive. His special ability is, fittingly, Rejack, and his special weapon is the HIVE.
- Auto-Revive: When Nomad takes too much damage in a short amount of time after Rejack is ready, he will be downed with mercy invincibility given by the green smoke that surrounds him. He will also have the option to trigger Rejack. When Rejack is triggered, the protective smoke fades and Nomad gets back up with full health. If Nomad declines to trigger Rejack after getting downed, he will bleed out, die, and will lose Rejack on respawn for a cool-down period.
- Bee Afraid: The natural result of his HIVE weapon.
- Bee Bee Gun: Fires insectoid drone nests that swarm any enemy that gets close.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Member of the elite Rapid Deployment Force unit.
Experimental War Robot-115 "Reaper" - UnknownThe end result of an expensive R&D project by Coalescence Corporation, political incidents prevented this model from seeing the battlefield, except for the one prototype remaining. His special ability is Psychosis, and his special weapon is the Scythe.
- Arm Cannon: His Scythe weapon.
- Artificial Intelligence: The most advanced ever made.
- Computer Voice
- Doppelgänger Spin: His Psychosis ability can work like this.
- Gatling Good: His special weapon is an arm-mounted gatling gun.
- Grow Beyond Their Programming: Granted, he's still a war machine, but robots clearly shouldn't be revising their own code, and do it several hundred thousand times at that.
- Hologram Projection Imperfection: Interestingly, applied to the real Reaper as well for maximum confusion.
- Mecha-Mooks: Meant to be one of many, until one too many incidents.
- Not So Stoic: While Reaper typically doesn't show any emotion, he still taunts his fallen enemies just like the human characters do.
- Projected Man: A weaponized variant.
Spectre - UnknownAn assassination expert across the globe, nothing is known about Spectre, including their gender. Their very existence is something that can only be inferred. Their specialist ability is Active Camo, and their special weapon is the Ripper.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Their victims are reported to have been cut with surgical precision.
- Ambiguous Gender: Although when Spectre is set on fire, a non-synthesized and rather masculine scream can be heard, hinting that Spectre is indeed male.
- Ambiguously Human: Several of Spectre's pre-game exchanges refer to Reaper as "another prototype", indicating that Spectre is either familiar with Reaper's product line or that Spectre is also some sort of prototype.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Their Ripper weapon.
- Invisibility: Their special ability.
- Knife Nut: Knives appear to be their favorite weapon.
- The Spook
- The Sociopath: Shows no empathy for anyone, prefers to work alone, and enjoys the thrill of the kill.
Krystof "Firebreak" Hejek - Czech RepublicKnown as a "battlefield problem solver", he and fire go hand in hand. A normally stoic man, the only time Firebreak shows any sort of passion is when he starts doing his job - that is, burning everything in his path. His ability is Heat Wave, and his special weapon is the Purifier.
Confirmed to be returning in Black Ops IV.
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Deadpan Snarker: Very stoic, and has several witty one-liners.
- Expy: Of the Pyro from Team Fortress 2. Both have ambiguous appearances, never taking off their trademark fire gear, both have an intense affinity for fire and both have flamethrowers as their special weapons.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: His Purifier weapon.
- Shockwave Stomp: A fire-themed variant of this is his Heat Wave ability.
Danny "Blackjack" Li - UnknownOnce a well-connected 54i fixer, Danny Li narrowly survived a disastrous meeting that he brokered between Winslow Accord agents and the organization's leaders through the use of a recently acquired Rejack unit. Deeming that they had suffered too many losses already, the enforcer, Seraph decided not to execute him for his part in the deaths of Min and Xuilan Goh, stating that they needed all of their remaining strength in order to rebuild.
Blackjack now operates as a mercenary, restoring his reputation, and bringing glory to the clan; all the while salvaging up new stock from the spoils on the battlefield. His ability, Gambler allow him to randomly use other Specialist Abilities as his own; while Rogue lets him use the Specialist Weapon of any opponent he kills in combat.
- Deadpan Snarker: As expected of the Black Market merchant.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: His name aside, he can use any of the other specialist's gear, but he has nothing unique to him.
- Meaningful Name: His callsign and abilities invoke a gambling theme.
- Power Copying: Can either steal the Specialist Weapons of enemies by killing them while they are using them, or gain a random Specialist Ability which he can re-roll at any time.
- Red Right Hand: His right arm is cybernetic, and can unfold into a minigun just like Reaper's Scythe.
- Secret Character: Blackjack can only be unlocked for exactly 1 hour of in-game time by completing the Daily and Weekly contracts. Once completed, you will receive a token allowing you to play as him. Fortunately, if players want to play as him for longer than just 1 hour, these tokens can be stockpiled so once the hour is up, they can just use another one to continue playing as Blackjack.
- Unexpected Character: No one suspected that the one-liner cracking Black Market merchant would become a playable character.