Black Ops Cold War character creation is just one element of customization and choice, along with non-linear missions and the ability to affect the Black Ops Cold War ending (opens in new tab) this year. You’ll be able to play as a completely customizable character in Black Ops Cold War (opens in new tab), who you'll be able to name, choose a gender for, pick a background, and even select a psychological profile that will give you in-game perks.
The in-game system we see during an early look at the game uses what looks like a classified document that reports on your character. You can select or redact various parts that lets you choose various options. You can pick a name on top of the ‘Bell’ codename assigned in the story, a skin tone, a place of birth and a military background (from CIA, MI6 or ex-KGB). You’ll also, not only be able to choose a gender, but leave it classified which will treat the characters as gender neutral. In that last case VO will change to use ‘they’ and ‘them’ as pronouns.
For the most part all of these Black Ops Cold War single player campaign (opens in new tab) options are purely cosmetic, with no impact on the game. You will however, also be able to pick a ‘Psychological profile’ that will impact gameplay. These are effectively a character trait that gives you a single player perk. Choosing to be ‘Paranoid’ will boost your ADS/aim down sights speed for example, ‘Violent tendencies’ ups bullet damage, ‘Lone wolf’ lets you spring longer, ‘Professional’ gives you full movement speed in ADS and so on. Those are just an example though and there are currently 15 options to choose from so it sounds like there should be something for everyone, likely mirroring the multiplayer selection of abilities.
The Black Ops Cold War release date (opens in new tab) will be November 13 in cause you were wondering how long you had to wait.