Activision is taking its marketing campaign for the next Call of Duty game to extreme levels by mailing fans crates in a cryptic alternate reality game. The 2020 Call of Duty game has yet to be officially announced, but it was confirmed recently that the game is in development. A Doritos bag leaked the title of the game, identifying it as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
The Call of Duty franchise has been a mainstay of the video game industry for years. The series has had success recently with its free to play title Warzone, a standalone expansion to last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. In a recent financial conference, Activision confirmed that not only will there be a new Call of Duty game coming out this year, but that it will connect to Warzone just as intimately as Modern Warfare does. It was even hinted that Warzone would somehow factor into the announcement of the new title.
As it turns out, these were not empty promises. On Friday, a brief clip from Warzone was posted on Twitter, showing a deeply cryptic message, “know your history,” flashing briefly on the screen in the middle of a game. Over the preceding week, content creators were sent mysterious black crates, with instructions not to open them until August 10th, as Game Rant reported. Inside the crates, the recipients found 1950s slide projectors, as well as mysterious documents and slides to project. By cooperating online, content creators such as NoahJ456 were able to glean many details from the slides, identifying an apparently key location in Russia’s Ural Mountains as well as images that resemble a Call of Duty Black Ops map called Summit. To coincide with this discovery, Treyarch changed its Twitter profile picture to that of a cloudy mountain range.
By putting together the clues revealed in all 15 distinct slides, NoahJ456 was able to identify a chess match; specifically, the historic match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. By studying this match, Noah was able to reach a website called pawntakespawn.com, which shows a chess pawn, an old telephone, a TV, and what looks to be a VCR player showing a time of 12:00 on August 14th. Noah was contacted directly by Activision after making this revelation, and informed that the website was the first step toward announcing the next Call of Duty title.
ARGs like this are an exciting way for devoted fans of a franchise to connect and interact with their favorite piece of entertainment, and the Call of Duty community has certainly embraced this interactive experience. There’s a lot more that fans can derive about the upcoming title now that the first step of this journey has been completed. Given historical clues, it seems almost impossible to deny that the Doritos leak was accurate in placing the game in the Cold War. When noon hits this Friday, there are certain to be plenty of Call of Duty fans eagerly watching that mysterious old TV to see what further secrets it will offer.