Call of Duty Cold War: Good, Bad, and Alternate Endings Explained

Cold War features three different endings that vary based on your decisions in the latest Call of Duty campaign. Here's what you need to know about all of them:

Call of Duty
Photo: Activision

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War is here, which means that many of you are already working your way through the campaign to see the ending before settling into a year of multiplayer and Warzone matches.

This time, though, which ending you see in Cold War is going to depend on certain decisions you make along the way. So far, players have discovered three Cold War endings: a good one, a bad one, and an alternate version of the bad ending.

So whether you want to see every ending or you just want to make sure that you get the one you want, here’s a brief rundown of the various ways Cold War‘s conclusions differ from each other.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War – Good Ending

It’s easy enough to trigger Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War‘s good ending. During the interrogation sequences with Adler, you just need to tell the truth and reveal that Persues is at the Solovetsky Monastery.

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From there, you and your team will assault the Monastery in pursuit of Perseus. Along the way, you’ll need to disable a series of AA guns so that your planes can bomb the radars and prevent a nuclear strike.

After some celebration, you’ll meet up with Adler at some nearby cliffs. After appearing to make amends for his actions and pay you tribute for your work, he asks you to make one more sacrifice for the “greater good.” Shortly thereafter, you and Adler pull guns on each other. While we don’t see what happens, it’s strongly implied that you kill each other. Amongst all this madness, it seems that Perseus remains at large.

In many ways, this is presented as the “true” ending of the game (or at least the “good” ending), which is actually somewhat strange. After all, it not only ends with you seemingly dying at the hands of a former friend for seemingly knowing too much about the CIA’s activities (or at least so that they can create a martyr) but we don’t even really get to see what happens to Perseus or some of the other key Soviet players.

Still, everything that happens in this ending feels roughly in-line with the other events of the game. It’s certainly great that you prevented multiple nuclear attacks, but that larger questions linger regarding your methods, their implications, and the motivations of your companions.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War – Bad Ending

Again, it’s pretty easy to trigger Cold War‘s bad ending. During the Adler interrogation sequence, you just need to lie to him and say that Perseus is at Duga.

Shortly after lying to Adler, you’ll be able to use a nearby radio to get word to Perseus about your deception. At Duga, Adler will become suspicious of your actions and information. You’ll be able to exchange some dialog with him if you’d like, but if you’d prefer, you can just choose to initiate an ambush on Adler and the rest of the team.

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Shortly thereafter, you’ll be asked to hunt down the surviving CIA operatives. Following a brief battle with Adler over a knife, you kill him and are joined by Perseus. After confirming that he is not really Perseus and that there is no one person known as Perseus, he congratulates you for your contributions and detonates a variety of nuclear weapons across Europe. During a cinematic that follows, we hear Reagan advise an associate to erase any records of their association with this incident.

Well, nuclear war is absolutely a “bad” outcome, but it is somewhat interesting that the game’s bad ending is the one where you live and that your death in the good ending doesn’t even come across as some kind of heroic sacrifice. There’s almost a sense that elements of the bad ending are designed to leave you questioning whether or not you made the right decision or are at least designed to maintain the narrative illusion that you have.

Of course, there is an optional ending in Cold War that’s even bleaker than this one…

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War – Alternate Bad Ending

If you want to see how dark Cold War‘s ending can get, then you just need to follow the key step outlined in the “Bad” ending (in other words, lie to Adler after the interrogation sequence).

This time, though, don’t use the nearby radio to tell Perseus about your plans. You’ll still head to Duga just like in the bad ending, but this time, there are no reinforcements waiting to help you, so Adler shoots you shortly after figuring out you’ve betrayed him.

From there, the ending plays out roughly the same as the other bad ending. That is to say that nukes detonate across Europe, Reagan orders all information related to this operation to be destroyed, and Perseus prepares to try to build a new world, albeit this time without you by his side.

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While this is being touted as the alternate bad ending, it’s interesting how this ending ties into some of the other events and themes of the game. You could certainly make the argument that you deserve to die for your betrayal, but unlike the good ending (which sees the world saved from nuclear war at the cost of your own life) and the bad ending (which does see a nuclear war come to pass but at least tries to spin a “greater good” angle into the nightmare), this ending is pretty much nothing but disaster.

So, it seems you could call this the “worse” ending to the “bad” ending, although you did make these choices along the way so your decision to betray the CIA and not ask for help arguably makes this the “painfully stupid decisions” ending.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War – Ending Sequence Choices

No matter what ending you choose, the final moments of Cold War will include a rundown of certain choices you made during the game. Specifically, it will recount the decisions you made during the following moments:

  • What you did with the Cuban operatives
  • What happened with Operation Chaos
  • What happened with Operation Red Circus
  • Quasim Javadi’s Fate
  • Anton Volkov’s Fate

Aside from the clips themselves, your decisions during these moments don’t seem to impact the outcome of the game’s endings in any other notable way.