Last week, Activision confirmed that Treyarch and Raven are working on the next Call of Duty game, a bit of news that was only surprising for the fact that Raven was listed as a co-headliner. With that cat out of the bag, it now appears that the journey toward actually revealing the game is properly underway.
The process began with crates containing projectors and slides of US and Russian maps that were mailed out to influencers. Once they unlocked, an ARG investigation began that you can watch unfold in its entirety courtesy of YouTuber NoahJ456, if you’ve got five hours to kill. But the quick-and-dirty version, laid out by VCG, is that the intrepid sleuths eventually ended up at the 1972 World Chess Championships between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer. Retracing the moves of a match during that tournament led to the discovery of a website, pawntakespawn.com.
The site isn’t very active right now, but it does currently feature a very interesting image. There’s a CRT television, a VCR, a phone handset inserted into an acoustic coupler, and an old IBM PC sitting in the background. It’s all very “early 1980s,” which ties well with the presumptive title of the game, Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War. So does the Spassky-Fischer match referenced in the ARG: Former world champion Garry Kasparov said in an interview with Bill Kristol that Fischer’s decisive defeat of then-champion Spassky—the first time a US-born American player claimed the championship—was a “crushing moment in the midst of the Cold War.”
It’s easy to miss, but the site also indicates that something is going to happen—my guess is an official unveiling—later this week. The VCR is flashing 12:00, as most VCRs do, but if you wait long enough it will briefly flip over and flash “08-14” instead. That’s August 14, which is this Friday.
All told, it sounds an awful lot like we’ll be headed back to the Cold War in this year’s iteration on Call of Duty. I imagine we’ll be hearing more about what’s coming as the week rolls on—we’ll keep you posted.