Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War debuts inclusive character creation options

Posted on August 27, 2020

New details of the character creation features and mission structure for the upcoming Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War have been revealed. These include an impressive array of inclusive and gameplay-impacting options for designing your playable avatar.

Upon starting the game, the player is invited to design their own playable character. You can choose your character’s name, skin tone, gender, place of birth, military background, and psychological profile. However, for any of these options, you can also opt to list them as “classified”. While already sounding cool and mysterious, it also has the effect of having the game refer to your character with “they/them” pronouns if you list your gender as classified. This includes how in-game NPCs refer to your character in voiced dialogue.

Creative Director Dan Vondrak has discussed the motivations behind the expanded character creation features in Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War. “We didn’t want to exclude anybody,” he said. “The option to leave [information] classified was super important because there are only so many backgrounds or places of birth we can have listed in the game. If we don’t find something somebody wants, then let’s let them leave it classified so they can be that mysterious, shadowy Black Ops character they want to be.”

Narrowing down on the inclusive gender options, Vondrak stated that “when it came to gender, that same idea was thrown in: Why can’t we leave it classified? There’s no reason we can’t do that. We were already going to make [the game] change to he/she [for male/female options] so it was easy enough for us to use different pronouns [they/them].” Your player character will not be voiced, but will have dialogue options which can occasionally impact story outcomes.

Cold War

The psychological profile options in the character creation system also add a new level of gameplay features. These are a list of 15 optional perks which tweak your character’s abilities. Some of the revealed traits include Lone Wolf, which doubles sprint speed, and Violent Tendencies, which improves bullet damage. As with your other features, you can opt out of this and list your psychological profile as classified.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War will release on November 13 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC. The official reveal trailer promises some intrigue-fueled Cold War action which will hopefully sate the appetites for Call of Duty’s single-player fans. It is good to know that the next Call of Duty title might appeal to a more diverse playerbase.