The stream of ambiguous images and slices of audio continues to fuel speculation over the setting, characters and plot of Black Ops 2. The latest image revealed by Treyarch may at first seem like an obscure body part of an unnamed character, but closer inspection reveals an all-too familiar set of tattoos. Will Sgt. Frank Woods be making a surprise appearance in Black Ops 2? More importantly, what does this mean given the future setting?

The presence of Woods – the runaway fan favorite of the budding franchise – in the sequel isn’t shocking by itself, but given the recent burst of game details many will be left scratching their heads. Black Ops 2 has only recently been revealed to be set within a near-future World War III, but the early screenshots and details don’t give too much information about the specific characters. If this is the new setting, then a well-developed character that fans reacted overwhelmingly positively to would be a good way to usher players into an outlandish backdrop.

Thanks to an image revealed on Call of Duty‘s official site, that chaperone may in fact be Sgt. Frank Woods of Black Ops fame. Granted it’s only an arm that’s revealed, but the tattoos and war commendations are more than telling. Have a look:

Black Ops 2 Woods Image Revealed

It’s hard to tell if the fabric visible is a hospital gown or simply a poorly-rendered shirtsleeve, but we’d recognize that werewolf and flame tattoo anywhere. And the sheer number of service medals visible in the framed photo could only be gathered by one of the CIA and USMC’s most notorious operator. Need more evidence? Have a look at that inverted watchband. Typical Woods.

Now exactly why Woods would be appearing in the next Black Ops title is no mystery, since the first game established his character as one of the most trusted operatives the U.S. government had during the Vietnam and Cold Wars. Assuming he managed to survive the explosion which presumably killed both he and Lev Kravchenko in Black Ops, a role within the American government is a no-brainer. But whether this photo is merely meant to show that Woods did survive the first game, or that he will be playing a significant role in the new future war is what we’re wondering.

There is a chance that Black Ops 2 will span more than a few decades, in which case an exploration of both Woods’ military service and the futuristic weapons of WWIII is possible. But if that’s what the developers at Treyarch have in mind, they’re stepping directly into Modern Warfare‘s backyard. Is this coincidence? We doubt it. Just have a listen to this recently released clip of audio released through the game’s official site:


It’s impossible to tell if the elderly voice is, in fact, Frank Woods. But the similarity is certainly close enough to assume that alongside this revealed image of Woods we’re led to believe that they must be linked. Assuming the aged voice and grim claim made in the audio clip, a scene in which Woods is interviewed for his knowledge of the Cold War seems plausible.

If the setting is far enough into the future, the paper gown and cynical attitude make a lot more sense. And if Woods is being consulted for information in the face of undeniably modern warfare, then the two series bearing the ‘Call of Duty’ title may not be as disconnected as we had thought.

Black Ops 2 Modern Warfare Connections

Players of Modern Warfare 3 will recall a particular loading screen that placed Lev Kravchenko – now taken out by Woods in Black Ops – alongside General Shepherd, the series’ previous antagonist in a web of global villains. While it was assumed to be a nod to fans of the CoD series, perhaps more was being hinted at than was immediately clear. Infinity Ward may have been implying that the Black Ops fiction didn’t just exist alongside that of Modern Warfare, but as a precursor and integral part.

We certainly don’t expect the two studios to cancel their annual-release cycle and merge into a single story, but revealing a place for Frank Woods and Alex Mason to fit into the future war that has been building in the MW series is an inspired move. Regardless of whether the decision will be a success or not, it would be hard to accuse either team of remaining content with more of the same. Could Mason have succumbed to Russian brainwashing, leading the charge against an American government bolstered by Woods’ elite experience?

Hopefully some of these questions will be answered when the trailer is revealed tonight,but feel free to give us your opinions on the apparent crossover. Whether or not our theories are on the money, the fact that Black Ops 2‘s marketing seems more in line with Modern Warfare demands some explanation.

Black Ops 2 releases November 13, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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Source: CallofDuty, CoD Wikia