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Video Game / Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

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Due to the nature of this game acting as an interquel between Call of Duty: Black Ops and Black Ops II, as well acting as an indirect prequel to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), all spoilers for the two Black Ops games may have been left unmarked and expect Late Arrival Spoilers for MW 2019. You Have Been Warned!
Кто я? Что я? Я не помню, не знаю...note 

"Gentlemen, you've been given an important task: protecting our very way of life from a great evil. There is no higher duty, there is no higher honor. And while few people will know of your struggles, rest assured the entire Free World will benefit."

The one set in The '80s.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is the seventeenth title in the long-running Call of Duty first-person shooter series, releasing on November 13th, 2020 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, and as a launch title for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

As the sub(-sub)-title might suggest, the game returns to the Cold War, in particular 1981 during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, serving as an interquel between the first and second Black Ops games.

After Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 skipped having a campaign to focus on Blackout, Cold War returns to having one. You play as "Bell", a US black ops soldier who joins Alex Mason, his ol' buddy Frank Woods, and CIA agent Russell Adler to stop a Soviet agent codenamed "Perseus" from destabilising the United States and shift the balance of the Cold War.

Alongside the campaign and multiplayer, Zombies returns with a soft reboot of the Aether storyline, now known as Dark Aether. Cold War did not come out with its own Battle Royale gamemode, instead offering various bits of media into the previous year's iteration, Call of Duty: Warzone.

On May 20, 2021, the game hosted a huge '80s nostalgia event titled "'80s Action Heroes", which included a crossover with both Rambo and Die Hard with John Rambo and John McClane as playable characters and Nakatomi Plaza as a POI in Warzone. For the Halloween season, it hosted another "Haunting of Verdansk" complete with a playable Ghostface (with Roger L. Jackson reprising his role) and a Frank the Rabbit skin for Baker.

Know your tropes, or be doomed to repeat it:

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    # through D 
  • The '80s: With the exception of a flashback mission to the Vietnam War, the game is set within the 80's, with all the pop-culture references and aesthetics that entails.
  • Aborted Arc: In Call of Duty: Black Ops 1, using the hidden terminal reveals a massive and maybe Ancient Conspiracy manipulating both the East and West, being the real killers behind JFK's assassination and sending a kill team with John Price after Hudson and his crew for defying their orders. The only remnant of this arc is Price's appearance in this game.
  • A.K.A.-47: Apart from the traditional missing the "S" from the AKS-74U, a lot of firearms that previously appeared with their real-life names and designations have different names due to the developers not purchasing the licence to them. The Arctic Warfare (L118, L115) is now the LW3-Tundra, the Remington 700 becomes Pelington, and the SPAS-12 is renamed the Gallo SA-12. On a lesser note, the Barrett .50 Cal from previous games makes its return as the accurately named M82, but the model used in-game is actually the newer M82A1.
    • The XM4 is pretty much just the Commando from the first game. The number of historical and technical inaccuracies of that weapon aside, the real life “Colt Commando” series were basically just shorter and lighter variations of the original M16 and M16A1, featuring a 10.5 or 11.5 inch barrel depending on the model. The XM4 was the direct predecessor to the current standard issue M4 carbine, which itself is a variant of the M16A2 rifle, which featured improved sights, a faster barrel rifling twist rate, a case deflector behind the ejection port, and a 14.5 inch barrel. The XM4 was also capable of firing semiautomatically or in three-round bursts, while the “Colt Commando” could do semi or full automatic.
    • For the DLC weapons, the MAC-10 and the Groza keep their names, but the Striker shotgun is called the "Streetsweeper", after a low-end clone of the Striker produced by Cobray, with very limited parts commonality with the original Armsel Striker.
  • Alternate History:
    • Should Bell choose to betray Adler and the CIA, Perseus' master plan to detonate the Greenlight nukes throughout Europe will go off as plan, shifting the blame onto the US and ensuring Soviet domination of the world.
    • Within the Black Ops timeline itself, siding with Perseus and choosing to kill Adler's team will result in the deaths of Woods and Mason, both of whom canonically survived past 1981.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • In the announce trailer, Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Run Through the Jungle" (1970) is played in the 1968 part and New Order's "Blue Monday" (1983) in the 1981 part. Meanwhile in the multiplayer trailer, set in 1983, Duran Duran's "Notorious" (1986) plays for a few seconds before being overwritten by The Notorious B.I.G.'s eponymous cover version, released in 1999.
    • From the Season 1 Battle Pass, the OTs-14 Groza - a bullpup rifle developed in the early 1990s - is added to the weapon list. Additionally, one of the songs featured in the pass is Warrant's Cherry Pie - released in 1990.
    • Like the first game, there are weapons that appear years before they were even designed. Considering the early 1980s setting, the SOCIMI Type 821/Milano 821 (designed in 1983, made in '84), the Bofors Ak 5/Krig 6 (designed in '82, made in '86) and the Remington Model 700 PSS/Pelington 703 (while the Remington 700 itself came about in 1962, the PSS variant dates to '86) are a few years off, but the Norinco QBZ-95/QBZ-83, first developed in 1989 and adopted in 1995, is completely out of place. It seems the QBZ was at least attempting to be a predecessor to Black Ops II's Type 25, as its name in the Beta was the Type 15, but this was dropped for the final game.
    • And in true Black Ops fashion, the FAMAS (called the FFAR-01 in-universe) is once again based off of the FELIN variant developed a decade later. Oddly it seems the game is attempting to pass this version off as a predecessor to the FFAR featured in Black Ops III.
    • The Steyr AUG is placed in the "Tactical Rifles" class and fires in 3-round bursts. The first variant of the AUG to have burst capability is the A3, which was introduced in 2005.
    • The fictional KSP45 however, takes it up to eleven. It's based on the Heckler & Koch UMP45 (first produced in 1999), with the bolt release of an AR-15, right-side charging handle, a vertical magwell and the magazine release from the Walther MPL to make it more period-appropriate.
    • The Bullfrog does something similar, being a fictional weapon but heavily based on the PP-19 Bizon SMG which wasn't developed until 1993.
    • The absolute worst example, however, is the Strife pistol apperaring in the campaign mission "Operation Red Circus" and the multiplayer map "Crossroads". The former takes place in 1981, the latter 1983 - the Strife pistol was created between 2025 and 2045 (as it is in circulation by Black Ops 4, which takes place in the latter time). As the Strife is obviously fictional, this is one of the rare examples of an in-universe anachronism.
    • Played with with the XM4, which, as noted above, is just the Commando from the first Black Ops game. While this particular model fit the Vietnam War setting of the first, post war carbines would begin using longer barrels to improve reliability. By the time Cold War is set, 14.5 inches was the standard length for carbine variations of the AR-15 platform, but the XM4 itself wouldn’t be introduced until two years later, in 1983. In addition, the XM4 would have still made use of a fixed carry handle rear sight rather than a flat top receiver with an optics rail until it was officially adopted as the M4 Carbine in 1994, and the A1 style grip present on the game model would have been replaced by the A2 style with a groove where the middle finger is supposed to rest. It isn’t made clear by pre-release images of the gun, but the right hand side of the firearm should also have a forward assist note  and a brass deflector, both of which were correctly absent on the weapon in the first game. Oddly, one can make a far more accurate XM4 out of the full-size M16 by attaching the 16.3" Titanium Barrel (which is still a little too long, and doesn't have the step-cut for an M203) and Commando Assembly Stock.
    • In addition, many weapons come with Picatinny rails - which wouldn't exist until the mid-'90s.
    • Some of the game's anachronism can be attributed to Walking Spoiler, where due to Bell's extensive brainwashing, fake memories were implanted into their mind, thus accounting for the presence of the 1980s weapons during the Vietnam flashbacksnote . The multiplayer portion of the game also semi-justifies their presence as it spans across the early 1980s, with the map "Checkmate" occuring in early 1985.
      • To that end, it is also justified in Zombies mode, as it has already been established that the Mystery Box can take weapons from any time period as-is; considering it's handed out STG-44's in 1918 France and futuristic machine guns in 1920's Alcatraz, the selection here isn't even the most extreme the Box has shown in the past.
    • In the first mission, which takes place in early January 1981, Ronald Reagan appears to give Adler and his team the greenlight to go after Qasim and Arash. In Real Life, Reagan would not be sworn in as president until January 20, meaning that until then Jimmy Carter would have been giving the orders.
    • Helicopter buffs, brace yourselves, because you will absolutely wince when you take a good look at the UH-1s depicted in the game: The choppers are very obviously the UH-1Y "Venom" model, belied by their four-bladed main rotor and twin engines, as opposed to the older Huey models which only had a single engine and two-bladed rotors. The problem? The "Venom" wasn't introduced until 2001. They could be forgiven by saying they were actually Bell 212s (the civilian version of the UH-1) or Twin Hueys modified by the CIA for their own stateside needs, but even then the 212s of that era still had two-bladed main rotors.
    • During the lead in to one of the final missions, the heroes conduct an elaborate take-off sequence from an American aircraft carrier escorted by two Iowa-class battleships. But the mission takes place in the year 1981; the first battleship to return in the 1980s, USS New Jersey, would not be recommissioned until the next year, and the second battleship to return, USS Iowa herself, would not be ready until 1984.
    • The multi-player includes several fan favorite maps from Black Ops II, which is set in 2025, and unlike the iconic Nuketown, they made no effort of redesigning it to adapt to the game's era. For example, the multi-player map "Express" simply drops the characters into a Los Angeles Mag-Lev train station and claims it's taking place in 1984.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • Half of "Desperate Measures" is a no-guns, open-ended stealth mission with Dimitri Belikov, The Mole for the CIA within the KGB, as the playable character.
    • "Break On Through" takes place after the Cuba mission, and involves Adler and co drugging Bell with a sedative cocktail to try and get information out of them. The sequence plays out much like a guided tour, complete with Adler trying to railroad Bell into following a set path and deviations causing their mind to generate some... very weird things.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In the multiplayer your Zombies and PVP mode levels and equipment are actually shared, with the only split being cosmetic unlocked and the unlock requirenent for certain things being changed to reflect the mode you're playing such as requiring more kills for zombies mode and fewer for pvp. This means if a player wants to unlock some equipment for pvp they can go through the co-op mode or if a pvp player wants to bring their kitted out weapons to zombie mode they can.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zigzagged. For the most part in multiplayer and Zombies, your character's visual loadout doesn't actually change how much damage they can take (e.g. Knight, who's fully decked-out in armor from head to toe, can take as much damage as a bare-chested Rambo), but you can find and equip actual armor that will offer a bit of protection until spent.
  • Artistic License – History: Operation Fracture Jaw on which the eponymous mission was named was indeed a thing back during the Vietnam War, where the United States Army would, theoretically, move nuclear weapons into Southern Vietnam for use against North Vietnamese infantry. Rather fortunately, the White House cottoned on to their plan before it was enacted and put a lid on it before any actual mobilization was made, unlike the in-game depiction.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • In the case that Bell is either female or non-binary. Female soldiers weren't a thing around the time of the Vietnam War. While there were indeed female reservist units and ranking personnel during that time, their roles were still mostly limited to being medical staff or communications officers, and none saw combat service in the frontline. The latter case remains a bit of a headache, as while there have been additions to regulations in 2018 that allowed transgender individuals to enlist as either their preferred or biological sex, there's still nothing said about non-binary cases. That being said, all of this can be handwaved as part of the fake memories cooked up by Adler, himself an Unreliable Narrator, in order to convince Bell of their supposed history together.
    • The prison blocks inside the Lubyanka building are located on the top floor, where there are no windows, instead of in the basement.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Soviet citizens in 'Desperate Measures' are worried about this in some of their conversations, and try to police themselves in case they say the wrong thing.
  • Big Damn Heroes: As is tradition for Call of Duty, this happens a lot, and it goes both ways, sometimes the player is the one doing the rescuing, and sometimes the player is the one being rescued.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Adler's team performs highly irregular, if not outright illegal missions for the United States, are willing to murder enemy agents in cold blood and even Mind Rape them if necessary, but at the same time, they are chasing a possibly rogue Russian agent that steals an American nuke or rather dozens across Europe and plans to detonate it within a civilian area, putting the blame on the Americans, strengthening the USSR, and killing millions of innocents in the process.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The game's good ending has Adler and Bell drawing their guns on each other, with the ultimate result being left ambiguous. As neither appears later in the timeline (Black Ops II), it's possible for either or even both of them to have died at that point. However, Adler does appear in multiplayer (which takes place after the campaign), and an older version of him shows up in the Call of Duty Mobile comic alongside Captain Price, which would indicate he survived.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Helen Park's description of Anton Volkov:
    Park: Born on the coast of Leningrad. Never travels when the sun comes out. He has an impeccable taste in scotch and medieval torture devices.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: You can take enemies as human shields, at which point they essentially become a layer of armor for you. They can even absorb several bullet hits for you before dying, whereas normally enemies go down after only 2-4 hits.
  • Call-Back: One mission has Adler's team return to Yamantau to steal Dragovich's mainframe server stored there, but this time as Mason instead of Hudson. While there, you can find a crossbow bolt on a frozen corpse, used by Hudson as well.
    • The first mission you play has that same black screen and lighter flame that was present in the first mission of Black Ops 1.
  • Call-Forward: The Multiplayer map "Cartel" is home to the Menendez Cartel. The loading screen name drops Jose Luiz Menendez, Raul's father (whose death is depicted in Declassified; the map takes place on the exact day it happens and his corpse can be found on a bed), and photos of the latter can be found scattered all around.
  • The Cameo: Imran Zakhaev and Colonel Lev Kravchenko appear during a meeting in KGB headquarters.
  • Canon Welding:
    • Zakhaev's presence in the KGB headquarters, combined with a mention of "Perseus" by him as a mentor figure in Call of Duty: Warzone, suggests that the 2019 Modern Warfare takes place in the same setting as the Black Ops universe (or at the very least Cold War), thus turning the two games into a pseudo-reboot, the "Warzone-verse". There’s also the fact that Verdansk is a major setting in both games.
    • A cutscene for multiplayer has Adler and his team meet Carver Butcher, who was the founder of the Vanguard, the titular team of Call of Duty: Vanguard.
    • A minor example with the presence of Burgertown, a restaurant previously only seen in Infinity Ward's games.
  • Character Customization: You are able to determine Bell's race, gender, and operative history - whether he/she/they is/are CIA, ex-MI6, or former KGB. Similar to Metal Gear Solid V, you can actually get a glance at them in the opening mission without realizing it's them, before you're given the option to customize their appearance. They're wearing a balaclava to obscure as much of their face as possible, but they still appear to be a Russian male.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When Mason observes the Communist agent Arash, he sees Arash gunning down the men that were in his car for no apparent reason. It turns out Bell was one of those gunned men, an associate of Perseus who is retrieved by Adler and turned into a CIA agent.
  • Chest of Medals: Once again, Leonid Brezhnev found himself the butt of a medal joke, this time between two KGB agents guarding the prison under the Lubyanka building.
    "Did you hear that Brezhnev just got out of the hospital?" "Really? Heart trouble again?" "No, chest expansion. He's run out of room for medals."
  • Collective Identity: The man who is referred to as Perseus throughout the game indicates that "Perseus" is actually a collective identity rather than a single individual, in keeping with the Soviet emphasis on the group rather than the individual.
  • Deadly Remote Control Toy: The RC-XD, a remote-controlled car armed with explosive charges that appears as a killstreak or scorestreak in the multiplayer mode. It also plays a pivotal role in bringing down Kadivar in the first mission.
  • Death from Above: In "Fracture Jaw", the player can pilot a helicopter and help defend an American military base that is under assault from Viet Cong forces, using its miniguns and missiles to rain down death on the Vietcong and their trucks. Likewise in "End of the Line", you can call an AC-130 for air support and use its guns to decimate whole platoons of Cuban soldiers.
  • Deconstruction: Of Heel–Face Brainwashing, as the game shows how ethically messed up the MK-Ultra procedure towards Bell is. Alex Mason himself was victim to it and can attest to it. That, and Adler won't want to risk their old memories back, and attempt to kill them to prevent them from turning back to their original self.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first mission has you playing as Mason, just like in the first Black Ops game and half of Black Ops II. It's only by the second mission that you create your character, Bell, who serves as the main protagonist of the rest of the game. Mason is playable in the side missions "Operation Chaos" and "Operation Red Circus", as well as the campaign mission "Echoes of a Cold War", which sees him accompany Woods to Yamantau.
  • Dem Bones: Stitch, Naga, and Portnova can get skins that turn them into a sci-fi commando with a holographic display of a skull, a Buddhist hungry ghost, and a mummified zombie queen, respectively.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If Bell is female, during the KGB infiltration she'll steal a uniform from a female staff member rather than a male guard.
    • In 'Desperate Measures', the voices of the Russian personnel will be in English while you're playing as Belikov. When you start playing as Bell, the Russian personnel will sound Russian since that's not your native language. Initially...
    • Every kill you made on the main floor in 'Desperate Measures' as Belikov will have a group of investigating guards once you start playing as Bell. In-game enemy activity or voice lines will also adjust accordingly depending on what you did to Charkov.
    • During 'Break On Through', Adler will comment accordingly on your actions throughout the mission, including you simply running past enemies without killing them or not picking up a weapon. It makes sense when you remember he's trying to guide you through your fake memories, and has to adjust his narration whenever you go off script. There's even an achievement for completely disobeying his narration as much as possible.
  • Drone of Dread: The tune you hear in the good ending when Adler moves to kill you.

    E through I 
  • Empty Quiver: Perseus's plan revolves around stealing a Greenlight nuke and using it to frame America, bringing the world under Soviet Hegemony.
  • Enemy Mine: The nature of Requiem in Zombies mode, being a coalition of NATO and Warsaw Pact (more importantly, Perseus) organizations to combat the threat posed by Omega group and the undead horde, similar to the Armistice in Modern Warfare (2019).
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Perseus as a faction is surprisingly diverse in ethnic background and gender in addition to its predominantly Russian/Soviet members. Within its commanding circle alone are an American, two Iranians, an East German, and Bell, whose ethnicity and gender are left up to the player's decision.
    • The faction is even more diverse in Multiplayer mode after Stitch takes up the mantle, which in addition of Russian Stitch, also includes a Norwegian woman (Wraith), a Laotian (Naga), an Irish (Knight), a black South African (Jackal), a Japanese woman (Kitsune) and a Spaniard (Fuze).
  • Evil Genius: Imran Zakhaev comes across as a sort of evil intellectual in the KGB headquarters, talking and behaving much like an evil psychiatrist, in sharp contrast to the colder and more brutish personality of Colonel Kravchenko. Notable as he had received very little characterization in previous games.
  • Eye Scream: At one point, Bell gets a needle injection directly into their eye socket, with the camera directly in their point of view. The scene is appropriately squicky, as you can see the needle approaching then entering the iris.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The player character, Bell, if you're so inclined at the end game. While it's the non-canon conclusion, Bell even has in-universe justification since they're formerly a Perseus lieutenant to begin with, and Adler's been torturing and brainwashing them to his benefit - rebelling at that point is likely just as much spite as it is reverting to their old Soviet ways.
  • Fake Town: In "Redlight, Greenlight", Bell and Woods infiltrate a mysterious base that is revealed to be a training ground for Soviet Spetznaz, which is a covered fake of a typically American town, complete with fake arcade, fast food joints, and so on. The heroes have to cross the fake town to get to a control room in the middle of a training exercise, with Woods quipping that if the Spetznaz want a live fire exercise he and Bell are going to give them one.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Perseus, especially personally up-close to a point he could be solely Affably Evil if his Villainous Friendship with Bell based on their exchange in the Downer Ending is taken to consideration. The level "Desperate Measures" showcases this aspect of Lev Kravchenko then his appearances in previous games and Imran Zakhaev in regards to his psychiatrist-like demeanor to a point Kravchenko referred to him having "beautiful sentiments." In the same level, General Charkov also demonstrates his superficial charm in his interactions with the player.
  • Final Boss: Downplayed as neither case is that much tougher than fighting regular enemies, but the two different ending paths do conclude in a fight rather than the usual Call of Duty Cutscene Boss. If you side with Perseus and set up an ambush for your team, you fight Mason and Woods, who are backed up by several CIA operatives (including Park/Lazar if you saved either of them) but aren't that much tougher than regular enemies. If you side with the Americans, the final level ends with a mini-boss fight against a Heavily Armored Mook, followed by a timed push through a final platoon of bad guys in order to stop the nukes from going off.
  • Foreshadowing: Hints of Bell's real history as one of Perseus' lieutenants appear as soon as you first enter the Hub Level safehouse.
    • Bell can comment that Park seems familiar to both Adler and the woman herself. While this is justifiable given a MI6 background, this dialogue always appears with the others. Park helped conduct the MKUltra procedure Bell went through after "Nowhere Left To Run".
    • After "Fractured Jaw", both Hudson and Park mention that Bell personally decoded the Perseus documents seemingly recovered in Vietnam. Bell themselves has no memory of this, and later on it's revealed the documents were actually secured much later alongside Bell.
    • Hudson acts rather remarkably antagonistic to Bell from the start despite the latter having a 'proven' history with Adler. As it turns out, that history actually goes about as far as first seeing the man while bleeding out on an airfield in Turkey after Arash shot them.
    • The game's cover art depicts a man that is split in half between Soviet and American garb. Bell was a former Soviet asset that was brainwashed into being an American one.
    • Every time you look at a TV you see footage of the Vietnam War. This is because memories of Adler's war experience there were being implanted into your memories, and this is you subtly remembering the brainwashing.
    • Right up until it's confirmed Bell was brainwashed, 'Break on Through' has increasingly obvious signs that something else is going on.
    • In the safehouse section, Adler takes a phone call but we never hear who's on the line. He also remains secluded in that sound-resistant room for the duration of the call. His dialogue here is the real kicker: "That's one perspective. I thought it went damn well." "What did you think would happen with him?" If you ask Adler about the call, he aggressively dismisses your question. This is because the call was asking about YOU, and how well your brainwashing went. The supplies that're mentioned in the call might also be supplies of the chemicals needed to maintain said brainwashing.
    • In 'Fracture Jaw', you breach through a gigantic, metallic red door after your vision temporarily goes blurry with a yellowish tint. This won't be the last time you see that door...
    • If you ask him whether he heard of Perseus, Lazar will say "You probably know more than me." Turns out that was no hyperbole to his lack of knowledge...
    • Here's an unrelated one. In the mission "Brick in the Wall", when you enter Franz Kraus's apartment, you can notice a blue umbrella resting near the door. This is notable because Hudson's informant Greta Keller owns one and we identify her with it. This foreshadows her being kidnapped by Kraus in his secret room in this very apartment room.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The ending where Bell stays loyal to Perseus, betrays Adler's team, and decimates most of Western Europe with Greenlight nukes is non-canonical, given the continuation of the story in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
  • Game Within a Game: A number of playable Atari-era video games by Activision can be found in arcade cabinets located throughout the campaign.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Operation Greenlight, in which the US rig major European cities with neutron bombs to destroy them if the Soviets ever take them.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In Zombies, if you're standing on something that puts you out of melee range of regular zombies, they'll resort to ripping out their internal organs to throw at you for a bit of damage.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: The Magnum revolver can accept suppressors. Somehow.
  • Hand Cannon: During the vault segment of "Desperate Measures", Bell can find a fictionalized Desert Eagle fitted with oversized laser sight actually referred to in-game as "Hand Cannon". The same gun also added in Season 4 Multiplayer as a scorestreak, and true to its name can destroys enemy infantry and even aircraft with ease.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • In the bad ending, Perseus will express a desire to kill the characters that you and your CIA team captured earlier, if it turns out that they broke under interrogation.
    • As mentioned at the bottom of the page, Bell was one of Perseus's best soldiers who was later captured and brainwashed into an asset by the CIA. Anton Volkov was about to kill you on orders of Perseus, since he couldn't risk Bell leaking crucial information about the organization and its plans.
    • If you spare Richter and rescue him, he'll appear later on in 'Desperate Measures' as an enemy that Adler asks you to kill. Adler says verbatim that Richter knows too much about their Berlin operation.
  • Heal Thyself: The Stim Shot equipment from Modern Warfare 2019 makes a return, but has a much faster use animation and, unlike the previous game's counterpart, has unlimited uses that are governed by a cooldown.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Soviet Heavies wear heavy body armor and Tachanka-style helmets, wield machine guns or shotguns, and can soak a good 70+ rounds of assault rifle fire before dropping, while still being almost as maneuverable as regular troops (including being able to use cover). They're not quite as tough as the Modern Warfare series' Juggernauts, but fulfill a similar role, appearing as mini-boss encounters of sorts in the campaign. You fight three about mid-way through the game in "Redlight, Greenlight" and one in the final mission "The Final Countdown". A couple will also briefly chase after you during your escape from KGB headquarters. Bell, Adler, and their mole Belikov steal a few sets of Heavy armor and some RPD machine guns to assist in their escape from KGB headquarters.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Bell is actually one of Perseus' lieutenants (or even another Perseus) who was captured by the CIA during the Trabzon operation and put through the infamous Project MKUltra to be brainwashed into believing that they were a Western agent, likely drawing inspiration from the example of Mason's own experiences at the hands of the Soviets in the original Black Ops. Whether it sticks even after recovering their memories is up to the player..
  • Heist Episode: The campaign mission "Desperate Measures" is this. Adler's team must go into the KGB's headquarters in Moscow to steal documents about the names of all Soviets' sleeper agents in the West. Not only do they have little time to prepare, the intel is held inside an underground bunker whose access has been recently restricted. You first play as Belikov who must secretly secure the right keycard, then Bell and Adler must briefly cross the building to enter the bunker while maintaining a flimsy cover story. The heist section becomes a first-person shooter again after the elevator to the bunker, and even culminates in Adler, Bell and Belikov donning heavy armor and machine guns to mow down dozens of soldiers to get out of the building.
  • Hero Killer: You of all people, during the Ambush route of the Ashes to Ashes mission, where you get to personally kill every single one of your former teammates (sans Sims, who's not present) after betraying them to Perseus. As the cherry on top, you get to pull off execution moves on them if you so choose.
  • Heroic Mime: Unlike previous Black Ops titles, and in contrast with Black Ops III where the player character speaks during missions, Bell does not speak at all. Exaggerated if you choose a non-specific gender option, in which case Bell doesn't even have pain grunts.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: The Viet Cong, despite being renowned as a fearsome guerilla fighting force who can blend in with the forested environment to ambush entire platoons of American soldiers, seem to like their bright white straw hats a lot for some reason. This, combined with their tendency to stand out in the open, means it's not very hard at all to nail headshots from across the battle zone without trying.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • Same as with the first two Black Ops games, Cold War features various historical figures that you encounters throughout the Single Player storyline, which includes Ronald Reagan, Alexander Haig and Mikhail Gorbachev.
    • The Big Bad himself, Perseus, is actually a historic figure too of sorts. Perseus is the name used to refer to a hypothetical Soviet spy who stole data from the Manhattan Project to jumpstart the Soviet atomic program, which is mentioned in the game as the character's most infamous act. Emphasis on "hypothetical" though: currently, Perseus is considered to be a hoax created by Soviet intelligence for psychological warfare purposes.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the bad ending, Adler can be killed by the very operative he tried to turn against Perseus.
  • Hub Level: After the introductory missions, Adler and his team get a garage in Berlin as their headquarters. Between missions, it is possible for Bell to wander around, talk to their teammates, and then choose the missions on the evidence board.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: In the bad ending where Bell doesn't ambush his former team, Perseus gives orders to hunt down the same CIA team that has been trying to track him down.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • This applies if Belikov drinks the poisoned tea, or attacks a soldier in the KGB building in plain sight of the guards.
    • Adler really should've given a lot more thought to his plan to brainwash Bell into turning on Perseus, which backfires spectacularly on him if certain choices are made. The success of his entire plan depends on if Bell decides to forgive Adler forcibly brainwashing him to turn against his former colleague.
    • It's possible to understand the US deciding to plant neutron bombs inside of each European city and detonating them in the event the Soviets took over the entire continent. One could even argue it was par for the course as far as Mutually Assured Destruction is concerned (it's easy to forget that the Soviets putting nukes in Cuba in order to maintain a killshot on the U.S. was equally as provocative back in the day). What can't be understood is why the US would design said nukes so that they could all be detonated by ONE PERSON using the SAME CODE...
    • In the good ending, Bell just stands there as an airstrike is being called in on his position. Luckily, Bell is found alive by Woods amongst the rubble.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Bell attempts to justify their decision to betray Adler and nuke Europe in the bad ending by claiming that if America isn't stopped then in the long run it will do more damage than the nukes. This is Lampshaded by Adler, who asks 'What kind of fucked up logic is that?'
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In "Desperate Measures", Gorbachev will repeat one of Kennedy's lines to Mason from the briefing scene in Call of Duty: Black Ops verbatim, with the only changes being due to his different political allegiance:
    Gorbachev: Comrade Belikov, we are in grave danger from the capitalists. Our collective, our very way of life is at risk.
    • In "Ashes to Ashes", should Bell manage to communicate with Soviet command to set up an ambush at Duga prior to departing the safehouse for the mission, when the time comes to signal the Soviet troops to attack, indicated by all three dialogue options being preceded with [SIGNAL], one of these options will have Bell apologize to Adler before telling him that "I've got a job to do".

    J through N 
  • Jump Scare:
    • A rather subdued one. At the Berlin garage, if you walk over to the red room and inspect the clock for a short period of time, turning around will reveal Adler staring at you from across the garage. He’ll move back to his usual position if you stare back or walk towards him. Given what Adler knows about Bell, this behavior is a tiny bit of foreshadowing.
    • "Break on Through" has a cute little Easter Egg, where if you decide to ignore Adler and go down an underground ladder, you end up in a wide open cavern with only a flashlight and pistol, against zombies. Combos as Five-Second Foreshadowing, as the only sign of them is the moaning you hear before you see them, and the subtle BGM switch to the classic Zombies theme.
  • Kick the Dog: Even after you side with Adler to save Europe from being nuked by Perseus, Adler will attempt to kill you as a means of tying up loose ends.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Adler killing Arash Kadivar retroactively becomes this when we realise later on that he shot Bell in the chest twice over jealousy of him being Perseus's favourite.
  • Klingon Promotion: The reason why Arash shoots Bell, as he's jealous of Bell's position as Perseus' favored lieutenant and wants that position for himself.
  • Lockpicking Minigame: At several points in the story campaign, the player character has to lockpick through closed doors in a curiously Fallout-style minigame, highlighting the clandestine atmosphere of the mission. The game is fairly simple, as the player must simply rotate the lockpick to find the right spots and the tumblers will trip on their own when enough pressure is applied.
  • Made of Iron: Par for the course regarding any COD protagonist, Bell can survive several gunshots and point-blank explosions.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: Adler and Bell attempt to avoid this while infiltrating KGB headquarters, but are forced to go through it to maintain their cover with their bag of weapons and equipment. Belikov fortunately takes over for checking the bag and lets them through with no incident.
  • Mind Screw: The Break on Through mission. To explain, Bell is forced to relive through several iterations of the same map, with Alder serving as an Unreliable Narrator that tells you how you "completed" this one past mission. The narration become increasingly nonsensical with sequences of event that don't make sense, elements in the background that don't belong in a jungle like a pristine statue of Lenin and then a maze of corridors all this to essentially Mind Rape Bell to get them to remember critical information about Perseus.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: In a twisted inversion, mission control, aka Adler, is totally sane (within the definition of sanity), but it's Bell who is going through a complete and utter Mind Screw as their implanted memories and their identity fall apart under the MK-Ultra brainwashing. Adler is trying to steer the course back on-track, while the memories of Perseus are working hard to undermine him and stymie the whole plan.
  • The Mole: Belikov is working against the KGB as a mole for the CIA. Bell can also fulfill this role if they breaks their brainwashing and rejoins Perseus, leading Adler's team into an ambush and allowing Perseus to succeed in his plans.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two main endings, one of which has two variations.
    • Ashes to Ashes: Bell can lie to Adler about the location of Perseus' hideout. The team can either execute Bell for their betrayal or be killed in a Soviet ambush, but in either case they are not in a position to stop Perseus from detonating the American Greenlight bombs and devastating Europe, successfully causing Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush to go down in history as mankind's worst mass murderers.
    • The Final Countdown: Bell can betray Perseus and tell Adler where his hideout is. Perseus' plan to detonate the Greenlight bombs is thwarted, but Perseus manages to escape to plan his next scheme. Despite Bell's heroics, that still doesn't stop Adler from deciding to execute Bell for being a loose end.
  • Mundane Utility: At the end of the "Ashes to Ashes" ending, if you let Adler continue talking he indicates that while they were using MKUltra to rewrite Bell's memories, they took the time to use it to cure Bell of their nicotine addiction.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A very surprising one to Call of Duty: Black Ops III. As Bell recovers from a crash, Adler delivers this line; Arc Words from the aforementioned game's campaign.
      Adler: "Bell! Still with us?"
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • In East Germany, it is possible to go out of your way rescuing a spy that has been captured by the Stasi, Lukas Richter. However, Richter has already sold out to the Soviets and you end up getting captured because of him warning them beforehand. You’ll find out about it if you read the interrogation notes.
    • In helping stop Perseus in the good ending, Bell has to officially reject their former Soviet life and want to stop the Greenlight nukes from going off, meaning You Cannot Go Home Again. Despite earning the team's trust and being as much a hero as the rest of them, however, Adler still opts to clean up one loose end independently of everyone else, with the story leaving it ambiguous since Bell pulls their gun as well.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • During "Echoes of a Cold War", Mason and Woods revisit the Yamantau base from "WMD", which, once he's separated from Woods, makes Mason noticeably more twitchy and irritable. Inspecting the crossbow-ridden corpses of Soviet soldiers (Hudson's doing) and unlocking a particular locker with the "Redeemer" revolver inside alongside a picture of Friedrich Steiner makes him hallucinate the infamous numbers.
    • If you take the "bad ending" path, the final mission takes place at the Duga-1 Radar Array, Ukrainian SSR, which is also where the multiplayer map "Grid" from Black Ops is set. The mission takes place at the same map, except not covered in snow..
    • On a lesser scale, the mission "Redlight, Greenlight" has an area that is an entire homage to three prior locations, with the map setup being similar to Nuketown from all of the previous Black Ops entries, the map having a similar function and play as the Black Ops series' signature map Firing Range, as well as Burger Town being an almost exact replica of its original Modern Warfare 2 appearance.
    • Some of the "Fireteam" maps are based on maps from Black Ops. A section of "Duga" is based on "Grid" and "Zoo" is a larger-scale version of, well, "Zoo".
  • No Ontological Inertia: Averted with grenades, where being killed before you can throw them will result in them being dropped at your feet and exploding. Played very straight, however, with Finishing Moves, where if you're killed before you can finish the entire animation, your victim will be saved no worse for wear even if they have already been stabbed, bludgeoned in the face with a club or axe, turned into a living bomb with a live grenade, or shot in the face.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Bell says this to Adler should you choose the bad ending and a certain line of dialogue. However, Adler dismisses such a notion by pointing out that the nukes were meant to be detonated as a defensive measure if the Soviets took Europe, not as a means for offensive action that would pave the way for US hegemony (unlike Perseus' intentions).
  • Not So Similar:
    • Both the CIA and Perseus are willing to nuke Europe. However, America is doing this as a last resort if the Soviets take Europe while Perseus is doing it as a first resort to destroy the West while letting the Soviets take over.
    • The CIA and Soviet-aligned antagonists have both used brainwashing and Mind Rape that attempts to steal the victim's identity in the series. However, the CIA has been doing this to avert mass-casualty attacks while the antagonists have used them to carry out these attacks.
  • Nonstandard Game Over:
    • If Bell hesitates to make a decision during the confrontation with Volkov at the end of "Brick In The Wall", Volkov will draw a gun and kill the player, forcing a restart, though if the player is faster on the draw, they can kill Volkov before he shoots them, automatically attaining the "Kill Volkov" outcome of the mission.
    • As usual, the traditional friendly-fire warnings are in place, and appropriately end the mission if triggered.

    O through S 
  • Once More, with Clarity: Arash's Establishing Character Moment has Mason watch him suddenly shoot the two people he arrived at the airstrip with; though since Mason is watching from a distance, we don't know why. Later in the game we find out why when we see the same scene from Bell's perspective.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Both Bell and Mason, as well as the multiplayer operatives, seem to arm grenades this way, due to the throwing animation skipping the pin pulling step.
  • Politically Correct History:
    • If Bell is played as a woman, she will still be a member of Adler's MACV-SOG team in Vietnam in 1968, which is a bit of a stretch even for the Black Ops series. Subverted as it's revealed Bell was never actually in Vietnam or allied with the CIA until they were picked up by Adler and subject to brainwashing to implant false memories of being there. That said, Bell being a female in a secretive Soviet detachment is just a bit less far fetched since more opportunities for women in the USSR didn't always mean full on parity. However, the fact that Bell was part of Perseus's own outfit, who apparently couldn't care less about such things, instead of official Soviet units alleviates this somewhat.
    • The Bell one can see get shot at the start of the game via a scope uses a male model and doesn't stick out in the setting, though this is just a placeholder as the balaclava is meant to keep Bell anonymous.
    • If Bell is being played as non-binary, it's a Purely Aesthetic Gender and no one comments on it or treats them differently for it. This would be extremely unlikely for the 1980s, in both the USA where Bell spends most of the game, and in the USSR where Bell is supposedly from.
  • Red Herring: The game opens with a crash background on the Iranian hostage crisis leading into a counter-terrorist operation targeting two men with Iranian names who were apparently involved. After capturing the second one, however, he reveals that "it was never about the hostages", and the true plot kicks off.
    • The game also makes it seem like you're one of Russia's sleeper agents as a callback to Mason's brainwashing. You're not. In fact, you are kind of the opposite as your brainwashing was done by the CIA.
  • Sadistic Choice: At the conclusion of the End of the Line mission, Bell is hit with an RPG before they along with Park and Lazar can extract from the compound via skyhook. As the extraction can't be halted, they are only given a few seconds to choose which teammate to hook onto and save before they're towed away, with the agent left behind being executed by the enemies. Wait too long, and both of them get left behind. Multiplayer mode rules out the "save Lazar" route, as Park is a playable operator while he isn't.
  • Saved by Canon: Being an Interquel, you don't have to worry too much about Mason, Woods, Hudson, Kravchenko, or Zakhaev being in any serious danger.
    • This also applies to the game in and of itself. Sims, Park, and Adler are all safe as they are all Operators in Multiplayer, which starts off in 1982, about a year after the events of the Campaign. This is worth pointing out as there are multiple points in the story in which Adler and/or Park can die, and the only way the former can die is if Mason and Woods die first.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Adler doesn't buy any of your excuses for betraying him and allowing Europe to get nuked by Perseus in the bad ending. If you don't radio in your position to Perseus beforehand, Adler will cut the argument short and just shoot you.
  • Shoot the Dog: The entire purpose of Operation Greenlight, which involves secretly planting neutron bombs in every major European city so that they can be detonated in the event the Soviets seize them.
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: The mission "Redlight,Greenlight" (and multiplayer map "Amerika") takes place inside a Spetznaz training course meticulously modeled after an 80's American city. It quickly becomes a Deadly Training Area as Woods and Bell tear their way through the drilling soldiers in their escape.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: After the Trabazon mission, the player is presented with a fairly typical character creation screen. However, the game later reveals that the character was shot during the Trabazon mission and brainwashed by Adler's team. The character creation mechanic is Adler creating a personality and backstory for "Bell" In-Universe.
  • Sniper Scope Glint: A returning feature from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) is the scopes of sniper rifles in multiplayer producing visible glints. Interestingly though, the mechanic has been tweaked, with the glint only being visible from a certain angle.
  • Soft Reboot: Can be seen such for the Black Ops games, given Hudson, Mason, and Woods are voiced by each The Other Darrininvoked (though for the former that's nothing new) and Demoted to Extra, the majority of the game is set in the past in contrast to the previous recent installments set in the future, while new characters Bell and Russell Adler are the main focuses and finally the Canon Welding with the appearance of Imran Zakhaev in the KGB headquarters, which suggests that Modern Warfare (2019) takes place in the same setting as the Black Ops universe.
  • Spoiler Cover: A subtle one, but the cover that depicts a man split between a Soviet and American uniform alludes to Bell being a Soviet asset brainwashed into being an American one.
  • Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: 'Desperate Measures' starts as an open-ended stealth mission but ends as an all-out gun battle.
  • Story Branching: Although it's not as major as in Black Ops II, your actions can determine whether several characters live or die, and their presence or absence will have minor effects on some of the later cutscenes.
  • Streamer-Friendly Mode: There are options to alter the matchmaker timer to appear before actual matchmaking starts and to make every visible player's username anonymous, both intended to stop people from entering streamers' games and griefing them.
  • Surreal Horror: The mission "Break on Through" is this.

    T through Z 
  • Team Power Walk: In the cutscene to the last mission in Solovetsky, the heroes are seen walking together on the deck of a warship, in full combat armour and with guns ready.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter: In the hub section before the Cuba mission, a conversation with you, Woods, and Mason takes an ugly turn when you tell them that Hudson is concerned about them. They appear to threaten you for your poor choice of words, until they burst out laughing saying they were just fucking with you.
  • There's No Kill like Overkill: One of the more over-the-top melee takedowns involves stabbing someone through the neck with your knife and with the knife still lodged in their neck, drawing a pistol and shooting them in the head.
  • Time-Delayed Death: Once Charkov drinks the poisoned tea in Desperate Measures, it'll take two more lines of dialogue before he starts dying from the Nova 6. If you don't swap the cup, this can hilariously backfire when you try to say you've already killed him... after drinking the poison yourself.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Bell eventually realizes that they are actually one of Perseus' lieutenants who has been brainwashed by the CIA to turn against him. Whether or not they do so is up to the player.
  • Translation Convention: All dialogue between the player and friendly Russian characters will be in English, as are KGB computer terminals when used by Bell, while normal chatter between NPCs will be in their native language. The latter case is justified as Bell knowing (and most likely are) Russian due to their involvement with Perseus, as the text show up in Cyrillic from another perspective during the Wham Episode. When you play as Belikov, all dialogue is in English, implying that from his perspective, everyone is actually speaking Russian.
  • Trigger Phrase: "We've got a job to do". This is the phrase Adler uses to trigger fake memories in Bell after the latter has been brainwashed by the CIA.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • Should Bell betray their own team and face them in the bad ending, Mason and Woods, who were known for their Plot Armor in the previous Black Ops games, will go down just as easily as regular mooks the player has been killing through the game.
    • Through dialogue with Sims, you can request all sorts of exotic gear including an attack helicopter. Despite his ability to procure said gear, Sims shoots down your request. Someone has to pay for all that hardware, and Adler doesn't want to pay for it while Bell doesn't have the money.
    • During conversation with Woods and Mason, Bell can ask about the events of the original Black Ops. While both of them give a few details, namely the parts known to everyone, like the fact they stopped Dragovich from releasing Nova Six onto American soil and their botched attempt to kill Fidel Castro, they stay fairly quiet about most of it since it's well, classified. It does lead to a moment of levity, as Woods then muses that he should kill Castro and chalk it up to "collateral damage" in service to the team's present mission, only for the trope to once more take effect as he notes that Hudson would throw the book at him for stepping out of line like that.
    • Hesitating to make a decision in critical moments of the story will result in a Nonstandard Game Over, because time doesn't magically freeze so the player can weigh the pros and cons of taking someone in alive or shooting them dead on the spot.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Carrying bodies over your shoulder will not prompt any reaction from the AI if seen. This can get rather ridiculous during the mission Desperate Measures, where you can openly walk around the KGB building while carrying a dead body on your shoulder and nobody will have any comment on the act, either as Belikov or Bell.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Dwight D. Eisenhower. What else can you call rigging up every single major city in Europe with nuclear weapons, only for the Soviets to appropriate the detonation codes of said weapons for their own purposes? It's even worse in the bad endings, where Bell's defection back to Perseus leaves America with no way to stop the nukes.
  • Verbal Tic: Adler seems quite fond of the phrase "We've got a job to do." Turns out it's a trigger phrase to keep Bell under control, much like "Would you kindly?"
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential:
  • Violation of Common Sense: Get ready for this one. It's time to dive into the weapon attachments for this trope.
    • The Magnum has magazine attachments that allows its 6-shot cylinder to hold more than six shots (9 and 12-shot options available).
    • Most detachable magazine-fed weapons have multiple extended capacity options, with some even having a faster-reloading version of each of the extended options. However, the fast-reload versions of the extended mags, in most casesnote , still use the standard-capacity magazine model rather than the model of the corresponding extended magazine.
    • Most grieviously of all, however, are the barrels. Somehow one can increase their vehicle damage just by fitting a heavy-duty barrel or increase their bore size to increase their range.
  • Villain Has a Point: While it doesn't exactly make Perseus the good guy or justify killing untold millions of innocent people, Bell brings up a valid point in Ashes to Ashes when they say: "At least Perseus never robbed me of my identity" (at least as far as Bell would know).
  • Wham Episode:
    • The mission "End of the Line". It is revealed in this mission that Perseus's plans are far more destructive than thought before, with him not using the nuke to detonate it, but to rather use it to reverse engineer its code so that he could detonate every single nuke that is a part of Operation Greenlight. Oh, and either Park or Lazar will get killed with you being forced to choose
    • The penultimate mission "Break on Through". It is revealed that Bell was once a Perseus agent who was shot twice in Trabzon by Arash Kadivar out of jealousy of them being Perseus's favourite operative. (One of the two people who get shot in a jeep by him in the very first level happens to be Bell.) Bell was then captured by Adler and brainwashed into being an operative of his to gain info on Perseus. This is the mission where you get to either betray Adler and his team or stay loyal to him and stop Perseus's plans.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Bell is easily able to subdue enemies and take them as a Bulletproof Human Shield or kill them with a flashy melee takedown, without said enemy putting up any resistance to your attacks. Said enemies range from Spetznaz operators to your CIA field team, including legendary operators Mason and Woods.
    • In 'Redlight, Greenlight', Bell breaches a room. Despite having more than enough time to react and shoot the guard standing in front of them, the guard manages to yank Bell in, wrestle away their gun, and punch them to the ground. Keep in mind that Bell is spec ops, and can kill Spetznaz operators in melee.
    • If provoked, Imran Zakhaev manages to get the better of Bell and Adler during the events of Desperate Measures. Admittedly, given that he's up against two highly trained and experienced special forces operatives, the only way he manages to get the better of them is through surprise and they quickly counterattack and incapacitate him, but really, Bell and Adler could've reacted faster.
    • During "Brick In The Wall", Franz Kraus manages to overpower and club Bell unconscious, despite a knock to the head being rather light on the spectrum of things Bell gets savaged by.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Your normally unstoppable CIA team, including Woods and Mason, are so easy to take down because they've been caught in a massive ambush with no reinforcements or support. They're also only human, and far from bulletproof.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • When you're captured by Volkov, he mentions that Perseus has put out a kill order on you. At first, this isn't very surprising, as you're a member of the CIA team specifically put together to kill him. As it turns out, you're actually his second-in-command who was captured and brainwashed by the CIA, so the kill order is specifically put out for preventing you to leak vital information of his operations to the CIA. However, he still reasonable enough to forgive you if you break out of your brainwashing and arrange to ambush and kill your CIA team members for him.
    • In "Ashes to Ashes", Perseus also makes no attempt to intervene if you fall for Adler's trap and he tries to knife you. Perseus will just straight up sit by and watch as you and Adler struggle for the knife, even if Adler manages to stab you with it. Some have interpreted this as a clue that Perseus isn't actually real, much like Reznov was in Black Ops, while others have interpreted this as a possible test to see if Bell truly broke out of the brainwashing.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Perseus executes his nuclear scientists after they're finished reverse-engineering the detonation codes for the Greenlight nukes.
    • After Bell fulfills their purpose in thwarting Perseus' plot, Adler attempts to execute them as a loose end.
    • Notably subverted if Bell decided to turn against Adler, as Perseus actually welcomes them back with open arms and even reinstated them as his right hand man/woman whom he entrusted with important tasks, keep in mind that these was after Bell detonates the Greenlight nukes.

"I know you won't fail us."