There you are, ready to watch the new Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War trailer. You’ve got a chicken tender sandwich (on white bread, of course) with extra mayonnaise in one hand and a snifter of Monster Energy drink sitting at the ready on the corner of the IKEA table that you proudly repurposed into a desk. You’re basking in the glory of a new Call of Duty game that’s totally going to recapture those glory days of Modern Warfare 2 gone by. Truly, this is as good as it gets.
Then, without warning, your Cold War trailer viewing experience is shattered by the appearance of this face:
The sudden reveal of the 40th President of the United States sends you into a state of confused panic. You attempt to throw your sandwich across the room in a wild response to the terror, but its empty nutrients have left you weak. Suddenly tired, you realize that the Monster Energy drink has granted you no energy at all. Now curled up on the floor, you can only look at your monitor in horror as Ronald Reagan looks down on you from a position of power yet again.
What is it about CGI Reagan that’s so terrifying? That look certainly has something to do with it. It conveys a barely muted feeling of pure ecstasy that was previously only reserved for the mere mention of the phrase “trickle-down economics.”
There’s also something to be said for the one-way ticket to the uncanny valley this render books for us. Much like how many people said that Nixon lost to Kennedy because Nixon wasn’t quite ready for the challenges of the television era, there’s certainly an argument to be made that the weathered wrinkles of Ronald Reagan’s Dorian Gray portrait face weren’t meant for the 4K age.
Yet, the most disturbing element of Reagan’s sudden appearance in the Cold War trailer has nothing to do with the visuals of his Grand Moff Tarkin render. No, it’s the implication that Cold War will ask you to take marching orders from Reagan once again, the man behind the most important desk in America endlessly ranting about a Star Wars defense system.
So will Cold War really cast us as Superman in The Dark Knight Returns? Are we to be a super-powered soldier doing the bidding of Ronald Reagan as he attempts to win the Cold War and make the world safe again for under-the-table arms deals? Will Nancy pop up during one of the game’s narrative choice moments and ask us to “Just Say No?”
We won’t know the answers to those questions until we get our hands on Cold War in November, but I can assure you CGI Reagan will haunt my nightmares until then. It’s just a shame that the game isn’t called Call of Duty: Blacklist so that it could include a QTE minigame where Reagan surrender his acting buddies to Joseph McCarthy.