While a new Call of Duty game is still on track to be released in 2020 despite Covid-19, Activision has not shared much about it. Several leaked reports, however, have teased what's to come: one such leak claims the game will be set during the Cold War in places like Vietnam and the Soviet Union, focus on stealth, and involve timely conspiracies like the U.S. Government's use of MK-ULTRA. Just how accurate are these claims?
On Tuesday, Reddit user SunnyMatrix posted to the Gaming Leaks and Rumors subreddit with information on the next Call of Duty that he heard from "a source that is involved in primarily screenwriting for television and film, although they sometimes are brought on as a consultant to review storytelling in the videogame industry." The rumor discusses specific story and gameplay details for the new game, which will supposedly be called Call of Duty: Classified or more simple, Call of Duty: Black Ops in the vein of a reboot similar to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
This rumor backs up previous reports that say the game will be a follow-up to the Call of Duty: Black Ops sub-series. The post claims that Classified "will incorporate CIA Operatives Alex Mason, Frank Woods, and Jason Hudson, although they will not be playable characters."
It also explains that the story "primarily takes place in Vietnam with 'offshoots' in other Cold War-era locations" and will ultimately focus on "the uncovering of covert Soviet operations and human experimentation." The rumor also claims the story has gone through a lot of rewrites, which lines up with reports of a troubled development from sites like Kotaku.
This leak shows how elements from the Cold War may be incorporated into the game's story as well. Famous Cold War-era events like "the assassination of John F. Kennedy" but also conspiracies about MK-ULTRA, a real government project in which psychiatrists dosed civilians with psychedelic drugs, subjected them to electroconvulsive therapy, and performed psychotherapy to explore the possibilities of mind-control — often without subjects’ consent or knowledge. Also mentioned is "Operation Northwoods," another real-life case of espionage that involved staging terrorist acts and blaming them on Cuban operatives.
The rumor also teases an opening level where players are "attacked in the dead of the night by Vietcong forces with an emphasis on stealth gameplay after the initial attack." The rumor does not state whether or not the rest of the game will be as stealth focused as this first level, but stealth and espionage seem like prevalent aspects of gameplay.
The Inverse Analysis — This rumor is in all likelihood just speculation. It remains unverified, and the leaker even says "it is in no way, shape, or form concrete." Despite that, it still provides some interesting ideas for what another Call of Duty game set in Vietnam and during the Cold War might look like. The original Black Ops didn't lean as much into the Vietnam War as it could have, so this reboot/remake like this could make for an interesting direction.
This rumor, along with other more credible reports, suggests that the Vietnam War will be a major focus for the next Call of Duty game. It's an exciting direction for the series to go in after Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare put the series back on track. Now we just need to wait for Activision to officially unveil the next Call of Duty to see what's true from these rumors and reports.
A new Call of Duty game will reportedly be released for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X this fall.