Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s Role as a Sequel ExplainedJoshua GoodpastorGame Rant – Feed


Activision and Treyarch have announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is set as a direct sequel to Call of Duty: Black Ops. This would put it in between the first and second installments of the series which causes an interesting effect on the timeline itself.

In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold Warplayers will go on an epic mission alongside Frank Woods as they pursue a Soviet agent within the U.S. intelligence agencies. This is far from the frontlines where Black Ops originally took fans, but it still within the same secret agent bubble that had Mason mumbling about numbers.

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As a direct sequel, fans have a ton to look forward to with returning characters and weapons. Despite the obvious nostalgia boost, one main concern among the game’s community is the continuity of the franchise as a whole. Fans are worried about what Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War could do the already established Black Ops timeline.


The three main heroes of the Black Ops franchise will be seeing a triumphant return at the height of the Cold War. Alex Mason, Frank Woods, and Jason Hudson are tasked with the impossibly difficult job of tracking down a Soviet spy known only as Perseus. These three character have grown quite close after the first installment of the series, and now they will be deployed back into the heat of combat for the sake of U.S. national security.

In the second Black Ops title, fans know that Mason and Hudson die. Woods recounts the entire incident to Mason’s son. This is a really power and traumatic moment in the Black Ops franchise as it is Woods who pulls the trigger and ends Mason’s life, while Hudson dies in a similarly terrible fashion right in front of Woods.

With Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War including multiple endings, then this future may not happen. This is both a good and bad thing for the franchise as it gives the series a jumping-off point, but also invalidates the rest of the franchise. Fans are happy to see the three returning characters, but many players are asking what the cost will be in the long term.


Story-wise, it is very plausible that Woods, Mason, and Hudson become the A-Team of the armed forces since they have already proven themselves as formidable foes against impossible assignments. The set up after Black Ops flows smoothly into the Perseus mission found in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

As a follow-up title, fans will get a chance to see the evolution of Mason, Hudson, and Wood’s relationship as friends and brothers in arms. Their dedication to the mission and ability to take on the impossible can help reinforce the loss from Black Ops 2 and fill in some of the blanks of how Woods ended up in the retirement home.

Black Ops did a great job tying up loose ends at the end of the title, but that does not mean that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War doesn’t have threads to pull on. Old enemies could return, and with Woods once again finding himself on the front lines of Vietnam, players may get to relive some classic battles on the front lines.

What a direct sequel does mean, however, is that the Black Ops franchise is now headed in a different direction. The future that fans have followed with the series main evolution may not be the same future that follows Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. With the game’s multiple endings players have a chance of influencing the future of the franchise, at least in their copy of the game’s personal story. On a design level, it would be difficult to make all of those endings converge onto Woods ending his best friend’s life. Difficult does not mean impossible, and like Woods, the developers may be pulling off an impossible operation with a weird amount of elegance and strength.

As such, it’s not impossible that this is a new chapter in the same story, but there’s pros and cons to each. A reboot of sorts would be welcomed by many, but others may contest. There’s a lot up in the air, but its role as a sequel suggests a handful of things: a new storyline, a new entry in the same storyline, or separate continuities altogether.

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Black Ops 2, Black Ops 3, and Black Ops 4 may now exist in a separate timeline or limbo. This does not mean that those events did not happen, but more like they have not happened yet. The narrative to be found within Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is still unknown and until the conclusion, no matter how many there are, has come about fans will not have a definitive answer.

What they do have is several strong predictions on the franchise’s history. The timeline between Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 1 has tons of space allowing for a Cold War-era mission to take place. As a sequel to the first, the game has an obligation to connect into the rest of the franchise, but that does not mean it has to follow the history already set forth. Raven Software has worked hard to create a campaign that will honor the Black Ops name, and fans are going to have to trust that part of honoring that name will be maintaining the continuity of the franchise itself, if it chooses this path.

Multiple endings can allow some minor elements to unfold separately, but at the end of the line, Woods may end up in a wheelchair explaining the past to Mason’s son. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will instead fill in the blanks leading up to the hunt for Raul Menedez and provide an additional operation to fill the space between the two segments of time. It would be interesting to know not only how long Woods has been in the hospital but also what he did up until that point.

The main difference in this segment of space will be the player character themselves. As a silent member of the team, they will operate alongside the three heroes and never be mentioned by Woods in the second game, unless the second game becomes null. This addition may skew things a tad bit, but overall, the best bet is that the narrative should stay relatively the same allowing fans a realm of safety when it comes to traveling back into the past of the Black Ops franchise.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is set to release on November 13th on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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