Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War: Historical Events That Could Happen in the Game

Call of Duty: Black Ops is returning to the Cold War era. These are just some of the historical events that the game's plot could address...

Call of Duty
Photo: Activision

A series of reports have revealed that the next Call of Duty game will be an entry in the Black Ops series focusing on the events of the Cold War. That means that the next Black Ops game could revisit some of the ideas of the first two Black Ops games by presenting an alternate take on historical events of that era.

Considering that the Cold War was a prolonged political engagement between the United States and the Soviet Union (and the allies of both superpowers) which lasted for nearly 50 years, it’s still not clear at this time which conflicts this ambiguously named Call of Duty project will touch upon.

But we’ve got a few ideas of our own. The Cold War may not have been a traditional military engagement settled over battlefield skirmishes, but it was one of the most significant historical conflicts of the last century as well as an event that would define the lives of the generations that lived through it and the generations to come. These are just five events of the Cold War that the next Black Ops game could focus on.

The Vietnam War

This is not only the most obvious place for the Black Ops series to go, but most rumors suggest that Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War will cover the Vietnam War in some way.

Ad – content continues below

While the Vietnam War was not a direct conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, you could argue that it stands as arguably the closest we came during the Cold War era to the two sides engaging in an open war outside of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Korean War. China and the Soviet Union contributed resources to North Vietnam while the United States lent direct military support and additional resources to South Vietnam.

We’ve seen glimpses of the Vietnam conflict in previous Black Ops games, but anyone with even a passing knowledge of the cultural and historical significance of the Vietnam War knows that there is so much more that the Black Ops series can cover.

While we fully expect the next Black Ops to touch upon the Vietnam War, we have to wonder how much of the game will focus on that war. Furthermore, the nature of the Black Ops series until this point raises some valid questions regarding whether or not it will deal with some kind of alternate historical view of the war which sees the Soviet Union participate more directly in the conflict.

The Soviet-Afghan War

Along with the Vietnam War, the Soviet-Afghan War remains one of the most important Cold War events that the Black Ops series has barely touched upon in previous installments.

The full history of this conflict is significant, fascinating, and quite brutal, but essentially, it escalated when Afghanistan’s communist party seized power in 1978 and initiated sweeping changes. Following a series of violent incidents related to the power shift, the communist leaders in Afghanistan, who received significant support from the Soviet Union, were soon at war with an insurgent faction who were financially and spiritually supported by the United States and other parties.

There’s long been some debate among historians regarding the war’s causes, impact, and the motivations of its principal participants, but many consider this conflict to be the Soviet Union’s version of the Vietnam War and one of the biggest contributing factors to the nation’s eventual fall and the end of the Cold War.

Ad – content continues below

While Black Ops 2 featured a mission that occurred during this war, there’s so much potential historical ground to cover here. Much like the Vietnam War, you could either play the events of this conflict relatively straight from a historical perspective or change things up in such a way that contributes to a more “cinematic” Cold War conflict.

The Space Race

The Cold War was defined less by traditional military conflict and more by the competition between two superpowers who wildly differed in their political and cultural beliefs. Naturally, it’s a bit difficult to convey those often more subtle and complex ideological differences through a typically over-the-top action series like Black Ops.

That’s why the “Space Race” is such an interesting option for a specific Black Ops backdrop. The United States and the Soviet Union’s shared desire to explore the furthest reaches of space resulted in significant technological advancements in a short amount of time as well as some of the most important moments in human history.

Naturally, you’d have to alter the actual events of the Space Race in such a way that ensures they could serve as the backdrop of an action game, but it might be fascinating to see the Black Ops team twist history as to ensure that we get a few sci-fi levels which feature ‘60s versions of futuristic technology.

While we doubt that this will be the focus of the game, it’s another fascinating example of a potential “What if?” scenario.

Contra War

We suspect real historical conflicts aren’t the first thing you think of when you hear the words “Contra” and “video games,” but this is another of those historical events that saw the Cold War run a little hot as the United States and the Soviet Union supported two sides of a notable ongoing engagement.

Ad – content continues below

Again, the full history of this conflict is long and ambiguous, but the condensed version involves the Reagan administration’s interest in stopping the spread of communist regimes in South America by supporting a group of right-wing rebels in Nicaragua commonly referred to as Contras.

We’re not going to dive into the full implications of this conflict, but it’s safe to say that the fallout of this scenario would be felt for quite some time. From a sheer dramatic perspective, though, the Contra War is fertile ground for the next Black Ops game. Because the United States’ involvement in this war depended heavily on covert CIA operations, this would be an excellent chance for the Black Ops writing team to dream up some stealth operations under the pretense of assumed or “altered” history.

Mutually Assured Destruction

This isn’t really a specific event but rather a reference to the nuclear arms race which persisted throughout much of the Cold War and, in many ways, defined the fear and implications of the entire conflict.

Basically, the United States and the Soviet Union realized early into the Cold War that they had developed enough nuclear weapons and honed their respective strategies in such a way as to ensure that each side would wipe the other out entirely if either launched a nuclear weapon. The entire concept quickly became a policy of mutually assured destruction (or MAD).

Obviously, the United States and the Soviet Union never launched nuclear missiles at each other or triggered an apocalypse. However, the constant threat of such an event loomed large over the duration of the Cold War and effectively helped dictate many of the policies that shaped its outcome.

Not only could the Black Ops team use the events of the MAD era as the backdrop for a fictionalized story of what could have happened, but there’s already some speculation that they are preparing to do just that. After all, it was recently discovered that Modern Warfare’s Warzone mode contains an Easter egg related to what seems to be a Soviet Union nuclear weapon. Yes, the seed has been planted for a larger story that dives deeper into an alternate Cold War where a nuclear disaster did strike.

Ad – content continues below