WARNING: This blog contains major spoilers for Call of Duty: Vanguard’s single-player campaign. You have been warned.
Call of Duty, as a franchise, is a pretty fascinating thing. It’s basically an experience and a genre all it’s own at this point, and Activision’s commitment to continuously cranking out a new title in the series ever single year is nothing short of a massive lift.
Often lost on folks during these games’ releases is Call of Duty’s campaign mode. It’s definitely fourth when it comes to popularity of the series’ main modes (behind Warzone, Zombies, and Multiplayer). But thanks to a few massive revelations at the end of Call of Duty: Vanguard’s stellar campaign – we might’ve been given a very obvious connection to bring the various CoD timelines together.
WARNING: This is your last warning before I spoil the ending of the Call of Duty: Vanguard campaign. Seriously. Turn back now.
The main objective in Call of Duty: Vanguard’s campaign is to pursue the truth about “Project Phoenix”, a mysterious Nazi initiative that each member of the Vanguard discovered a few breadcrumbs about during their independent origin missions.
As the campaign progresses, the player, the Vanguard themselves, and their captor – Herr Jannick Richter – discover the truth about these plans. Project Phoenix is a failsafe should Hitler and the Third Reich ever fail, and it reorganizes the Nazi legion beneath Hitler’s conniving successor, Hermann Freisinger. Freisinger and his co-conspirators celebrate Hitler’s death and failure, and think they’re destined to ride off into the sunset to begin the “Fourth Reich” and shape it to their liking.
Obviously, the Vanguard had other ideas.
Once Freisinger is defeated and his plans are halted, the Vanguard uncover a massive treasure trove of Nazi plans – some of which look to connect other games in the Call of Duty universe. Here’s a breakdown of what they found, and what each plan might mean.
I’m also going to include a video below from YouTuber “BabyZone”, who has cut together Vanguard’s final cutscene with each plotline it connects to.
Project Phoenix – The main set of plans the Vanguard has been pursuing over the course of the game, Phoenix was a directive that would transfer power to the new Fuhrer, Hermann Freisinger, and a covert inner circle of traitors to the Third Reich who were plotting on Hitler’s downfall from within.
The dossiers revealed that covert sleeper cells to revive the Reich were in development in several remote locations, including the Cape Verde islands, Bahamas, Argentina, and even Antarctica. This might set up some fantastic story DLC opportunities to burn those fuckers down too.
Project Nova – “Nova” refers to Nazi-created NOVA 6 gas, which plays a massive part in Call of Duty: Black Ops, as the Soviet Union discovered the gas and decided to keep some of it as a “non-nuclear” option should tension with the United States ever reach a total breaking point and require military action.
The NOVA 6 gas would brutally kill anyone who came in contact with it, and Alex Mason discovers (and ends) a plot in Black Ops where Sleeper agents were put inside each US state capital and programmed to release the gas upon hearing a series of numbers.
Project Aggregat – Very closely related to Nova, is Project Aggregat. Aggregat mentions a facility that contains multiple V-2 rockets ready to launch, and in Black Ops, we find out that the original Nazi plan was to use those rockets to carry massive payloads of NOVA 6 gas to Washington D.C. and Moscow to cripple U.S. and Russian leadership and turn the tide of World War II in their favor.
And last but certainly not least, we have Project Aether. All that Polina says when opening the file folder is that the plan mentions something about “reviving the dead”, which should immediately send up a shitload of red flags for everyone.
This is obviously a callout to the franchise’s Zombies mode, and we already know that Vanguard’s zombies mode is being developed by Treyarch and is intended to continue Black Ops: Cold War’s Zombies plotline. There’s no telling if the existence of the undead will officially become canon, or if “the Nazis are trying to resurrect people” and “Zombies exist” will remain as alternate timelines.
It’s All Coming Together
Our last breadcrumb is Captain Carver Butcher, from Call of Duty: WWII. Butcher claims to have founded the Vanguard team, but suffered some devastating injuries during the war and is now “retired”.
Flash forward to 1984, an aging Butcher is confronted by Russell Adler, Alex Mason, Jason Hudson and Frank Woods beneath an underground Nazi bunker in Verdansk. He starts talking about the hunt for the remainders of the Reich, starting on an island in the Pacific. This may also be connected to Project Phoenix and the various Nazi sleeper cells across the globe – hell, those countries might even be the sites for future Warzone maps.
It’s clear now after all of this that the various teams at Sledgehammer, Treyarch, and everywhere else are trying to make a more cohesive timeline out of the massive amount of stories they’ve told over the years in Call of Duty’s campaigns. I absolutely love this, and I hope to see more lore and cohesiveness to the game’s stories moving forward.
What do you think? Is this all too coincidental, or could we finally be looking at a shared universe for all of Call of Duty’s timelines?