New Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 clue - Ancient Romans and extraterrestrial setting confirmed via intensive detective work

Another day, another Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 teaser drop. And going off the dates on the remaining teasers on, it looks like that’s quite literally going to be the case from now until the game’s ‘official’ reveal on May the 1st. Well fear not. You don’t have to put up with Activision’s drawn out escapade of drip-fed hype. You don’t need to log back onto the series’ official site every day to see what abstract morsels the CoD marketing department has dropped in order to get you to do its job for it by way of a virally disseminated tizzy. 

No. You see we’ve looked closely at today’s clue from all angles, and thusly we have worked out exactly what Black Ops 2 is all about. Allow us to elaborate.

Today,  a bit of poking around reveals a big screen with the word ‘Tacitus’ on it.

Above: See?

You probably remember this word. You’re probably annoyed that you can’t remember where from. Allow us to soothe your tempestuous mind. The word was emblazoned upon the t-shirt of the chap from FPS Russia during yesterday's viral tease, which implied a futuristic time-scale for Treyarch’s next CoD. If you take the hint and throw ‘Tacitus’ into your Google box, you’ll find It’s a site for a clearly fake initiative between the world’s clearly fake greatest minds to achieve… something. The collective’s logo is suspiciously reminiscent of a 3D version of Treyarch’s, so it’s pretty much 110% safe to say that all of these things are linked.

So those are the current details within the reality of this little ARG Activision is running, but what does Tacitus mean in this world? Well Tacitus refers to several things:

Marcus Claudius Tacitus - Emperor of Rome, 275–276
Publius Cornelius Tacitus - Senator and a historian of the Roman Empire
3097 Tacitus - Asteroid named after the Roman historian
Tacitus - A lunar impact crater
Tacitus bellus - One of several varieties of succulent plants
Tacitus - A fictional data matrix from the Command & Conquer series of computer games

Conclusions? There are too many references to the moon going on here for the big grey ocean-tickler not to be involved. We’ve already discovered several potential links between Black Ops 2 and eclipses (the game is even reported to have a release date set on the day of a real one), so between that matter and the various references here to the moon and asteroids, this one is going to get spacey to some degree.

Above: In Black Ops 2

Given that we already very probably know that Black Ops 2 is going to be set at least some distance into the future, we can cleanly extrapolate that, fearing for the stagnation of its until this point tooth-rattlingly fresh and innovative series, Activision has taken the plunge and decided to shake things up before Call of Duty starts repeating itself. And so it’s going to take the groundbreaking step of putting marines in space. Creating ‘Space Marines’, if you will.

Black Ops 2 will be set entirely on the moon, and its traditional pethora of helicopters crashing into things will be replaced with asteroids crashing into things. There will probably be a bit where you have to man a gun turret on an asteroid as it flies through space fighting nearby enemy asteroids, which will culminate in a swirling accidental descent which you’ll only just survive. In true Black Ops style, a screamingly trite bit at the end of the credits will rewrite history by revealing that you yourself created the Tacitus crater with this very crash. Or the net result of the eight or nine you’ll suffer throughout the course of the game.

And the Romans? Easy. Activision won’t want to bring aliens into this, for the reason of maintaining the same staunch, sober realism Call of Duty has always been known for. And putting Communists on the moon just wouldn’t be original enough. Not for Call of Duty, the idea of porting the same ideas to different locations and assuming that is enough. So instead you’ll be fighting ancient Romans.


The precedent for this one? Simple. Treyarch have always been the quirkier, jokier Call of Duty developer. They do the zombies thing. They put the retro-themed Arcade Ops in their last game. They’re probably the kind of lolsome, internet-loving coolsters who read Reddit. And you might remember that a while back Reddit spawned an epic literaray discussion on whether or not a battalion of Marines could take down the entire Roman Empire. And that discussion is now being turned into a movie. And so, in the spirit of the always-groundbreaking, always-original Call of Duty franchise, Treyarch are doing the same thing Eidos Montreal did in Deus Ex: Human Revolution and putting a bunch of big Reddit references in their game. 

And the Command & Conquer bit comes into it because Kane turns up in a big twist halfway through to help the Romans. Because Black Ops 2 will be the first co-production by Activision and EA, the rival publishers having decided that getting involved in a court case over Infinity Ward is “a bit silly” and settled upon sharing all their games instead of fighting. Because it’s nicer. Oh, and there’s probably a botanical moon dome with succulent plants. So that's everything covered.

(Okay, so I might be taking the piss out of the whole slow reveal, corporate prick-tease, cynical fanboy-baiting approach to marketing here, but there is a fairly decent theory that the moon stuff might indeed relate to the return of the setting for the inevitable Zombies mode. Check it out here)


  • c-c-c-combo breaker - April 26, 2012 4:10 a.m.

    Oh, how I miss the days of 'tango suckah'.
  • Nephilim - April 25, 2012 8:33 p.m.

    When I saw that Roman I immediately thought of Dr Who :D
  • IceBlueKirby - April 25, 2012 5:09 p.m.

    We're zombies on the moon, we celebrate your doom... No, really, I hope the game does take on a futuristic element, and if that involves a trip to the moon, that's fine with me. I've skipped all the CoD games after Modern Warfare (well, I played part of the first level of MW2, but I kept dying) so that's about the only thing that could get me interested again.
  • ThatGamerDude - April 25, 2012 3:37 p.m.

    So are we going to be able to shoot down some Roman gods or what? I would die if CoD did some cocaine-injected version of a God of War level but with Roman gods!
  • crooks77 - April 25, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    possibly black ops 2 might still be set in the cold war, and the moon references actually refer to the space race we had with the soviets, and not future warfare on the moon. unless america had a secret moon base during the cold war. and there was a level where you fight soviets, aliens, and space bears during an attack on said secret moonbase. that'd be sick.
  • Brutalicus - April 25, 2012 2:33 p.m.

    I'm gonna come right out and say if this game takes place in space I may purchase my first Call of Duty title. Then I will be summarily disappointed by its four-hour campaign but I will be pleased that they had the balls to take the series into outer space. if.
  • Pwnz0r3d - April 25, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    I totally lost it at "TANGO SUCKAH." And well see while Tacitus is a Latin name with deep connotations with the Romans, as you stated it also has connections with the moon. The moon landings occurred AFTER John F Kennedy's assassination, which in the CoD universe occurred during the events of Black Ops (of which Mason was totally unaware.) So that might tie into it. Hey if Michael Bay can somehow bullshit sentient robots on the moon being the real reason behind the Apollo missions and make it work somewhat why can't Treyarch? They both like fire.) (And no way a squad of Marines could take down a Roman legion. The legionnaires took down the Spartans, who in all honesty were tougher than any other military could ever dream to be because all their humanity was stripped (granted, Greece was practically gone by then). A massive testudo formation and maybe 40 Romans will be killed. The Marines will keep retreating till they run out of ammo.)
  • angelusdlion - April 25, 2012 1:33 p.m.

    Just please not tell me they're doing the "squad of marines in a time portal" thing.. just.. no.
  • beastlyeats - April 25, 2012 12:57 p.m.

    Those weren't reddit references in Deus Ex. AnonymousX had a #chan hat. Even if 4chan didn't make some of those little faces on the posit notes reddit defiantly didn't make them ether.
  • calool - April 25, 2012 10:02 a.m.

    at the bottom of the page it says tacitus is a weapons manufacturer in the game, possible hint that the story involes you taking down a corrupt/puppet company selling weapons to the russians/chinese/north koreans/evil space monkeys?
  • NanoElite666 - April 25, 2012 9:43 a.m.

    But there's already both zombies and Nazis on the moon. I don't know if the Romans would be able to establish much of a foothold there if they have to oppose those two forces.
  • Trooper59 - April 25, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    actually its the release date as the next eclipse is on November 12 this year a tuesday, has a more believable article, no offence
  • Moondoggie1157 - April 25, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    Yea see, this would be a CoD game that I'd actually play haha
  • greentumbleweed - April 25, 2012 9:10 a.m.

    First-person shooter action on the moon, fighting asteroids and ancient Romans, and a surprise appearance of super villain Kane? Shut up and take my money!

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