At Least Black Ops II Doesn’t Lecture Me Every Time I Die

At Least Black Ops II Doesn’t Lecture Me Every Time I Die

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” It was General Douglas MacArthur who said that, and his words are as true now as they were in his time.

The reason I know MacArthur said that is because I’ve read those words, over and over, as I’ve died in Call of Duty games. Every time the player dies in many of the past games in the series, he or she would be greeted with some gritty, hard-bitten truism about war, usually spoken by some famous general or politician.

I’ve never liked those quotes. They stand in often stark opposition to the comical, overblown proceedings of the games themselves, and they’re salt in the wound of a tough death after a difficult fight.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

– Winston Churchill

Oh really, Mr. Churchill? I’m so glad you’re here to tell me that failure is not fatal, as I reload the last checkpoint for the 16th time and attempt to single-handedly take down that entire Russian platoon again.

“The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.”

– Joseph Stalin

Oh, how true, Mr Stalin! Wait hang on, I need to leap off this cliff and grab ahold of the landing thingy of this helicopter before warping into the brain of another dude who is fighting off hijackers on a plane.

Thankfully, Black Ops II developers Treyarch have never quite taken to this practice — it seems as though the quotes are the realm of the other CoD developer, Infinity Ward. When I die in Black Ops II, whether I’m shot off a horse or stabbed in the desert, I see a dark, blurry screen, and then I blast away, back in time to the last checkpoint. The game doesn’t try to inspire me, nor does it take it upon itself to impart some crucial words about the horrors of war.

And really, guys: Thanks for that.

Reference: Call of Duty Wiki


  • I saw that first in Operation Flashpoint, an actually good war game and it beats the first COD by three years. It’s funny that COD stole that idea rather than the, you know, open infantry war gaming parts.

  • More frustrating is the “taunts” each time you died whilst playing Arkham City. “Congrats, Joker… you finally got Batman… now go away and let me reload my last save game!”

  • Modern Warfare was my first exposure to this. From memory, the first MW seemed to be aware of the whole “war as entertainment” thing and juxtaposed this with the death quotes. This was before the franchise turned into the Michael Bay-inspired sequel factory that it is today. I thought most of the quotes in that game were either on the horrors of war or war tactics – don’t recall the “inspirational” stuff.

    • Back in the WW2 era CoD, they had some inspirational quotes but most were like the ones in the articles. And c’mon, complaining over a piece of text, seriously?

      • It really depends. It suits some games, doesn’t suit others. The WW2 games it definitely suits, but I too always found it jarringly out of place in the Modern Warfare games? It’s all about atmosphere and these weren’t the right kind.

    • Agreed. A game tries to add something intelligent and meaningful, however tiny it is in comparison to the dullness of the rest of the game, and it gets hate for it.

      I always liked the quotes.

  • I remember seeing quotes like these in some CoD games, and I got sick of seeing them after multiple times where I reached a difficult campaign part causing multiple deaths. I’m glad these quotes don’t exist in some other games such as Battlefield 3.

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