Black Ops II

Is It Possible That Call of Duty: Black Ops II’s Dark Future May Happen?

To craft the story in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Treyarch looked at current events and how they may play out down the line. When should we expect robots to take over for man on the battlefield? Is a second Cold War with China closer than we think?  How likely is that a hacker could really bust into our militaries computers and snatch the “keys,” as Woods calls them, in the debut trailer? The answers may surprise you.

Drones on the battlefield is nothing new for video games, and nothing new to the military. The U.S. Military started using unmanned aerial vehicles (or U.A.V.’s) in the field as early as 1964 during the Vietnam War, though they didn’t admit it until 1973. Nowadays the of the most effective (and deadly) U.A.V.’s in the U.S. military is the MQ-9 Reaper drone, which is currently doing lots of heavy lifting in the Middle East. They’re capable of flying up to 14 hours per single flight (when fully loaded) with a max speed of 300 miles per hour. They aren’t lacking in firepower either carrying laser guided bombs, Hellfire missiles, and plenty of other goodies. The U.A.V.’s shown in the Black Ops II trailer are similar, but different. Most notable is that the unmanned drones are VTOLs (vertical take off and landing) which is something that we have right now, albeit not nearly as advanced as they seem to be in 2025. Todays ground based drones serve more of a recon and/or bomb disposal function on today’s battlefields. In 2007 the first armed unmanned drones was used in Iraq, called the SWORDS. They’re capable of accurately shooting grenades, .50 caliber sniper rounds, and M249 machine gun fire among other weapons. The ground robot on display in Black Ops II looks more like a robotic bear and doesn’t seem very interested in recon or bomb disposal. Given how we already have heavily armed unmanned robots on and above the battlefield, and that the U.S. Government really likes the drone program, I think it’s a safe bet our military will have an even larger (and deadlier) robotic presence in the future.

Oil has been the cause of many bombed cities and loss of life over the years. The world will always fight for oil as long as it’s required to keep everything moving. While oil will surely still be a factor in the future, Rare Earth Minerals are set to take center stage as the resource that nations are most likely to kill each other over. We rely on them heavily for creating many key pieces of technology like rechargeable batteries, LCD screens, and certain robotic materials used in the military. The real problem is that China produces 97% of all of these minerals and depending on who you ask, isn’t sharing as much as everyone would like. It isn’t hard to envision an armed conflict between the United States and China happening further down the road for a number of reasons. Black Ops II envisioning a future war with China seems much more probable than fighting Russia or North Korea like many games have you do. Having a stranglehold on a resource that the rest of the world desperately wants/needs is never good, and is just asking for conflict.

Hacking is something that I’ll never fully understand. Heck, just learning basic HTML hurts my head. But there are those that know computers in ways most of us never will, and are capable of doing incredible things with that knowledge. In Black Ops II, the main villain Raul Menendez, manages to turn the world’s unmanned robotic drones on targets of his choosing. How exactly Menendez accomplishes this is still unknown, but hackers nowadays have already pulled off some pretty incredible feats. At age 16 a hacker named Jonathan James managed to hack into NASA and obtain the source code for controlling the temperature and humidity of the International Space Station, while Kevin Mitnick hacked into the national defense warning system. Hacking into whatever system controls our future drones seems well within the capabilities of the next generation of hackers. Even if Menendez isn’t the hacker, he shouldn’t have many problems finding someone capable of helping fulfill his goals in 2025 if this is how the hacking scene looks today.

Sure, all the planets would have to align for Black Ops II’s alternate reality to take place. It seems likely though that parts of Treyarch’s vision of 2025 is bound to come to pass. The drones will no doubtably become a much larger presence on the battlefield for all nations.  Our relationship with China could quickly deteriorate and devolve into war, natural resources have a way of escalating things quickly after all.  And hackers today are already bringing some of the most secure companies and systems to their knees… Is this disaster scenario likely? Not really. But possible? Very.


The table is set, and the pieces are moving.