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Call Of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War Confirms What We Always Suspected

The Call of Duty franchise might have started as a series set in World War 2, but as time went on, CoD took on several new identities with unique plots that don't correlate to any real wars. The two main CoD subseries, Modern Warfare and Black Ops, feature their own cast of memorable (and reviled) characters, as well as plots. For the longest time, audiences assumed that Modern Warfare and Black Ops took place in two separate timelines — three if you count the Modern Warfare reboot. Turns out we were wrong all along.

Warning: Major Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War spoilers to follow.

CoD: Black Ops – Cold War follows a player-created character named Bell as he chases the villainous Soviet agent Perseus. However, since all is fair in love and cold war, America also has a double agent: Dimitri Belikov, nestled in the heart of the Soviet Union's seat of power. This spy for the red, white, and blue is a high-ranking Russian security chief, so Belikov gets invited to all the important security meetings, especially those that deal with rooting out moles. Ironic, no? One such meeting brings Belikov face to face with many prominent men, including Mikhail Gorbachev. Oh, and the man who will oversee the spy extermination: Imran Zakhaev.

Now, you're probably thinking that this Zakhaev is just another Russian who shares the same name, face, and strong beard as the legendary Modern Warfare villain, but no, it's the same man, thus linking the two continuities. Not only that, he's just as smart and astute in Cold War as he is in Modern Warfare. How else could he get in good with Gorbachev and make the man trust him over Belikov, the KGB's Head of Security?

However, the strings tying Modern Warfare and Black Ops thanks to Cold War (and Zakhaev) are fairly tenuous since a late-game plot twist reveals Bell is actually an ex-comrade of Perseus, betrayed by another ally of Perseus and rebuilt by the CIA through brainwashing. This revelation gives Bell — and players — a chance to change the game's ending and sever the ties between the continuities. Players can either help America storm Perseus' headquarters and stop him from detonating bombs across Europe (that America planted, by the way, to prevent the USSR from getting its communist hands on them), or lead them into an ambush and detonate the bombs themselves and pin the blame on the U.S. While Zakhaev doesn't play any part in these final proceedings, they are still vital to his history. After all, it's hard to become an ultranationalist terrorist who wants to resurrect the Soviet Union when you live an alternate timeline where it never fell in the first place.

Going forward, what will Activision or its subsidiaries do with Zakhaev and his status as a story-linking linchpin? Fans will have to wait and see.