As one of the biggest franchises in gaming history, the Call of Duty series has had its fair share of famous guest stars. Over the years, Hollywood heavyweights like Kiefer Sutherland, Gary Oldman, and most recently, the legendary Kevin Spacey have appeared in various Call of Duty games. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is going to feature a celebrity guest star as well, but this time, Treyarch is recruiting from a source that’s not Hollywood.
As revealed in the upcoming eSports issue of ESPN‘s magazine (scheduled to hit newsstands Friday, June 12th), Treyarch looked to the NFL to find its Black Ops 3 guest star. Specifically, the company tapped one of the NFL’s most prominent players, Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, the Seattle Seahawks star running back and Super Bowl XLVIII Champion. As explained by Mark Lamia, the head of Treyarch, “When we learned he’s a huge fan, we thought it’d be awesome to have him inside our game.” Lynch’s inclusion in the game will mark the first time that a professional athlete has ever appeared in Call of Duty.
As detailed in the magazine, Lynch visited Activision’s motion capture studio in Los Angeles to go through the process of scanning his image for the game. He then donned a full-on motion capture suit and acted out a scene in which a gunfight erupts in a bar. Lynch’s character is evidently a villain, but the finer details about Lynch’s character and his role in Black Ops 3’s larger story remain under wraps.
Lynch’s day working with Treyarch concluded with a cinematic screening of Black Ops 3’s cutscenes, as well as the chance to try the game in a hands-on demo. Lynch was reportedly very enthusiastic about the Black Ops 3 multiplayer experience, and played it for four hours with his friends in-house game testers.
Marshawn Lynch has been very vocal about his video game fandom over the years, so it’s no surprise that he jumped at the chance to appear in a Call of Duty game. As it turns out, Call of Duty is the Super Bowl champion’s favorite game series, a love affair that began during his college days. Lynch reportedly still plays Call of Duty daily, and views his appearance in Black Ops 3 as one of his most important accomplishments. Speaking to ESPN, Lynch said, “I’ve been in the Super Bowl, movies, music videos, Madden. But to have your own character in [Call of Duty] is, I mean, it’s almost like you arrived.”
Thanks to his status as one of the NFL’s biggest stars, this isn’t the first time that Marshawn Lynch has appeared in a video game. In the past, his likeness has been featured in numerous Madden titles. During an appearance on Conan on TBS, Lynch played Mortal Kombat X against the eponymous talk show host as well rival Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.
It’s nice to see Marshawn Lynch recognized for his work in the game industry, and that ESPN is dedicating an entire issue of its magazine to eSports. As some may recall, ESPN televised a Heroes of the Storm tournament not too long ago, which irritated some hardcore sports fans. One radio host even threatened to quit if he’s ever asked to cover eSportsy. Hopefully Lynch’s role in Black Ops 3 will help the more narrow minded individuals out there to be more accepting of both eSports, and video games in general.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will be available November 6th for PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360.