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"Call of Duty: Black Ops III deploys players into a dark, twisted future where a new breed of Black Ops soldiers emerges and the lines are blurred between our own humanity and the technology we created to stay ahead, in a world where cutting-edge military robotics define warfare. With three unique game modes: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies, providing fans with the deepest and most ambitious Call of Duty ever."
— Official Description
"How far can we push technology, before it starts pushing back?"
Jacob Hendricks in the Reveal Trailer

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows and Beenox and Mercenary Technology for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was announced on February 5th, 2015 and officially named on April 9 of the same year. The official, full gameplay reveal was shown on April 26th, 2015,[1] and the game was officially released on November 6th. Black Ops III is the twelfth game in the Call of Duty franchise and Treyarch's first to be developed in a three-year development cycle.

It is the fourth game in the Black Ops series, following Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. A fifth entry to the series, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, was released on October 12th, 2018.

It is the first Call of Duty game for which downloadable content, including Beta Access, is available first on PlayStation consoles. The Beta was released for PlayStation 4 on August 19th, and ended on August 23rd. The Xbox One and PC Beta version was released on August 25th and ended on August 30th. Black Ops III is also the first modern Call of Duty that has official Chinese translation.

The game was ported on macOS by Aspyr Media and released on April 4th, 2019.[2]


On February 4, during DICE, Treyarch head Mark Lamia gave a presentation about the Zombies mode found in Treyarch's Call of Duty games. He touched upon its importance to Treyarch as a company establishing its identity, how it built up the company's relationship with its fans, and the opportunities the mode's success brought to Treyarch. At the end of the presentation, Lamia claimed Treyarch was excited to "continue the journey" with its fans, confirming that Zombies will return in the next Call of Duty.

On April 6th, a small title update for Black Ops II added in the Snapchat icon to an image in the game. The image itself was present on a similar poster found in the maps Plaza and Express.[3] Upon scanning the image with the application "Snapchat", Call of Duty would be added as a friend. Later, Call of Duty updated their story with a 10 second video showing three clips, along with a narrator saying, "Listen only to the sound of my voice". Throughout the following weeks, Call of Duty updated their story with different videos of varying length, displaying the hidden narrator talking about a "program" and "Test Subjects".[4] Different images shown at the end of select videos revealed a "Trident" logo, and the name "Dr. Salim".

A teaser confirming Black Ops III to be the next Call of Duty was released on 9th April, along with the date of a reveal trailer being released on 26th April. The reveal trailer had the song "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones.

The game's campaign mode was originally intended to be open world. Midway through development, the campaign was rebooted into a linear campaign.[5]

Multiplayer Beta

The Call of Duty: Black Ops III Beta was a multiplayer only version of Call of Duty: Black Ops III released to the general public on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC prior to the full game's release on November 6, 2015. It was the biggest beta on PlayStation 4[6].


The beta was playable as of August 2015. It was available to all players who pre-order the game. The beta began on August 19 and continued through August 23 on PlayStation 4. On August 23, Treyarch announced the beta would keep running through August 24 10PM PST[7]. It began on August 26 and ran through August 30 on Xbox One and PC. On August 30, Treyarch announced they would keep the beta running through August 31 10PM PST[8].

The beta became available for everyone from August 21 to August 24 on PlayStation 4[9] and from August 28 to August 31 on Xbox One and PC[10].


The beta was a test of the multiplayer and included three maps by default; Combine, Evac and Hunted.

Eight Specialists were available during the beta. Four of them were available by default: Ruin, Battery, Outrider, Prophet. Players who ranked up to levels 22 and 28 could unlock respectively Seraph and Nomad. Specialists Reaper (level 34) and Spectre (level 40) were added as well.

Seven game modes were available by default: Team Deathmatch, Domination, Demolition, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint, Capture the Flag and Search and Destroy.

Some new mechanics of Call of Duty: Black Ops III were also available such as Cyber Rigs (Thrust Jump, Power Slide, Wall Running, etc.) and features like Paintshop (except on PC).

The level cap was 28 in the beginning of the beta.

The size of the beta varied from one platform to another : 12.3GB on PlayStation 4, 13.1GB on PC and 13.78GB on Xbox One.


  • PlayStation 4
    • On August 21, the version of the beta added the map Stronghold, the Uplink mode and increased the level cap to 34.
    • On August 22, the version of the beta added a new mode called Safeguard and increased the level cap to 40.
    • On August 23, the version of the beta increased the level cap to 49.
  • Xbox One & PC
    • On August 28, the (Xbox One) and (PC) versions of the beta added Stronghold, Uplink and increased the level cap to 34.
    • On August 29, the (Xbox One) and (PC) versions of the beta added Safeguard and increased the level cap to 40.
    • On August 30, the (Xbox One) and (PC) versions of the beta increased the level cap to 49.


Call of Duty: Black Ops III follows up on the events of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, specifically in regards to the drone strikes of 2025 that took place by hands of Raul Menendez near the end of the game. The game is set between 2065 to 2070 and technology is irrevocably embedded on the battlefield. The Campaign mode is only available to the Xbox One, PS4 and PC editions of the game.[11] The player will have access to all missions from the start, and will be able to play them in any order desired without consequences.[12]

After the Drone Strikes of 2025, ground combat is once again the focus of military strategy, with bi-pedal combat robots and drones fighting alongside human infantry. Elite Black Ops soldiers have been embedded with a direct neural interface (DNI) that let them communicate with robotics and net-connected weaponry, in addition to other cybernetic bio-augmentations such as super-powered prosthetic limbs.

The game emphasizes multiple protagonists in each of its levels; up to four distinct characters experience the events of the story all at once, allowing for up to four player cooperative play. Levels feature larger environments and "off the rails" sections in which players engage in large scale open area battles created to increase the possibilities available to the player on the battlefield, with the intent of new open sections aiming to increase the ability of replays of the Campaign. The Campaign also features a new animation system and enemy A.I which has been updated to better react to the diverging approaches players can strategically use.[13]

Cyber Cores and Cyber Rigs are the new technologies that are available to the players. Cyber Cores consist of skills like hacking and controlling enemy robotics, while Cyber Rigs provide players new movement and defensive capabilities. Players also have access to T-Mode, which enables co-op players to visualize the battlefield with threat assessment overlays and highlights so that they can help each other.[13] Players are now able to choose their character's gender. Furthermore, the playable character's lower body and shadow are now fully visible during gameplay, whereas in previous games it was only the case during some scripted scenes. They can also have their helmets and outfits customized in many varieties.

Also featured is a "Safe House" where co-op players congregate between campaign missions and can review many items such as weapon loadouts and collectibles. Players can also access an in-game wiki to learn more about the backstory of the game and the state of the world that they are playing in.

Similar to Multiplayer, the player can earn XP (Experience Points) by completing many tasks that can't be spent, but allow the player to rank up to unlock weapon blueprints to purchase weapons, optics and attachments, lethal and tactical grenades, tactical rigs, wildcards and Cyber Cores and Cyber Rigs. The player can rank up to level 20, the highest level in Campaign. Accolades are the new challenges returning from Call of Duty: Black Ops II, but come in more varieties for every mission and offer 250, 500, or 1,000 XP as the reward upon completion, with the three main accolades for every mission (Untouched, Score, and Got Em') to reward a fabrication kit. Fabrication kits can be earned by completing missions and the three main accolades for every mission and can be spent on items.

Campaign also introduces a new difficulty, Realistic, which is harder than Veteran. In Realistic mode, the player will have only one hitpoint, thus will die in one hit from any weapon.[14]


On October 27, 2065, the game begins with the Player and their new CO, Jacob Hendricks, infiltrating an NRC Airbase in Ethiopia to rescue Egyptian Prime Minister Said from the NRC with the assistance of John Taylor and his team of cybernetically enhanced soldiers part of the Winslow Accord Black Cyber-Ops Division. Needing to distract the NRC, the Player and Hendricks, along with Winslow Accord Special Forces Team Alpha, use the base's D.E.A.D system to shoot down an NRC plane. Disguised as NRC soldiers, the Player and Hendricks manage to infiltrate the base and rescue Said from the NRC, although they discover there are more prisoners than their Intel provided. The team soon become compromised after Said convinces them to rescue Lt. Khalil, an Egyptian Army veteran and war hero who the NRC plan to use as a tool in their campaign against the Egyptian people. They soon rendezvous with Taylor's Team after being cornered by NRC forces and proceed to escape the base, managing to procure an enemy APC. Before leaving, Hendricks convinces Taylor to rescue the other hostages after reminding that some part of him must still be human. While their escape is successful, the Player and Team Alpha are left behind after their evac harrier sustains heavy fire and bugs out to avoid being shot down, although Hendricks demands that they go back. The Player and Team Alpha are eventually overrun by enemy forces and the members of Team Alpha are killed and the Player is viciously attacked by an NRC Grunt, ripping both the Player's arms off and breaking their right leg until they are found and rescued by Taylor.

Believing that it's the Player's best chance for survival, Taylor brings them to a research installation that specializes in the advanced cybernetic enhancements that Taylor and his team use and decides to use the same cybernetics in order to save the Player's life. The Player is later awakened onboard a train by Taylor, who reveals that the Player had survived the mission but had sustained life threatening injuries in the field. The Player soon learns that the train they're standing in is a simulation created within their DNIs. Revealing that the Player was given one and is currently in a medically induced coma, Taylor explains that their DNI's allows them to communicate with each other on a subconscious level and tells the Player that they have a long way to go. Taylor then introduces them to his unit, which consists of cyber operatives Sebastian Diaz, Sarah Hall, and Peter Maretti during a series of simulations of past battles that were connected with a terrorist attack on a Coalescence train inside the Player's own mind.

Each operative assists the Player in putting the pieces together on how to use their new cybernetics in combat while also helping themselves progress through the simulated terrorist act. Although the Player proves themselves as an efficient soldier, the Player suffers a minor setback when they comes across a group of simulated grunts, causing the simulation to briefly destabilize until they are calmed down by Diaz, who reveals that their DNI can cause certain traumatic memories to seem realistic and can have damaging long term effects if not treated. The Player eventually reaches the final stage of the simulated train bombing and manages to reach the bomb, but is unable to defuse it in time even with their DNI. The Player remains unsure of what to do until they are helped by Taylor, who tells the Player that the solution is actually quite simple. Figuring out that the train car carrying the bomb can be detached from the rest of the train using their DNI, the Player sacrifices themselves by detaching the train car while still inside and the bomb detonates, ending the simulation. Taylor then informs the Player that there was really no way to stop the train despite all the Player's new abilities, telling them that although their DNI can show them all the answers, it'll be be up to them to choose what they have to sacrifice and that sometimes they must let go. The Player is then awoken in the real world and is informed by Taylor that they are being prepped for surgery. Although Hendricks wasn't injured on the mission, he volunteers for the cybernetic surgery as well and both he and the Player are recruited into Taylor's unit.

In 2070, the Player and Hendricks, who are now close friends, are recruited by CIA agent Rachel Kane to investigate the CIA Black Station in Singapore that lost communications. On route they encounter foot soldiers for the ruthless criminal organization the 54 Immortals, who have access to military grade weaponry. Needing to fight through the 54i forces to reach their objective, the operatives are temporarily pinned down by a heavily armoured man of war "Warlord" cyborg before they are rescued by Kane, who then joins Hendricks and the Player in reaching the safe house. Upon arrival, the team discovers the CIA Black Station staff brutally murdered in the ritual "Denial of Reincarnation" and the data drives gone. While they initially believe that 54i enforcer Jae Xiong is responsible for the murders, Kane goes through the entry logs for the safe house and discovers that Taylor's team were the last ones there before arriving. Both Hendricks and the Player are initially unconvinced of Kane's theory about Taylor, having served with him for the past five years.

In order to learn the truth about what happened, the Player and Hendricks then lead an assault on the 54 Immortal's headquarters in the Bio Domes to recover the data drives by posing as arms dealers, making contact with 54i drug dealer Danny Li at a teahouse owned by the 54i. While Hendricks attempts to learn the whereabouts of Jae Xiong, Li states that nobody has seen him in years. After managing to convince Li to work with them, the pair are compromised by 54i leaders and siblings Goh Min And Goh Xiulan, who quickly deduce that the arms dealer are actually members of the Winslow Accord. Greatly out numbered, Hendricks orders Kane to active friendly Grunt reinforcements, killing both Goh Min and Li and forcing Goh Xiulan to flee. After fighting their way to the 54i headquarters, the Player and Hendricks catch Goh Xiulan attempting to decrypt the drives, with Hendricks knocking her out. They then attempt to pull the information out of the drives, but are locked out due to a DNA security system that only allows the Goh siblings to access the console. With Goh Min dead, the Players severs Goh Xiulan's right hand in order to access the console, an act which clearly bothers Hendricks. After obtaining the information from the drives, the pair then escape with Hendricks claiming that what he saw was bullshit, confirming that Taylor and his team have indeed gone rogue.

To understand Taylor's sudden betrayal, the team then use the Intel they retrieved to investigate the site of Taylor's last op, an abandoned Coalescence Corporation facility in Singapore that led to the deaths of 300,000 people. Within the facility, Hendricks and the Player are both attacked by seemingly inactive Grunts, displaying odd, human like behavior. They discover that the facility was actually a cover for a CIA black project named Project Corvus and later find the decayed corpse's of Jae Xiong and several other test subjects, learning that the CIA were performing DNI experiments on them against their will. They soon learn that Diaz himself is nearby and has hooked himself up to the facility's central CPU core, controlling the Grunts and uploading CIA safe house locations to multiple sources worldwide. Needing to stop the Intel leaks, Kane orders Hendricks and the Player to stop him. While they manage to stop Diaz, the intel was unfortunately sent, revealing every CIA safe house location worldwide. Needing to understand Taylor's motives, Kane orders a reluctant Hendricks to interface with Diaz's DNI, killing the rogue soldier in the process. The team learns that Taylor's squad is currently hunting the two sole survivors of the Project: Dr. Yousef Salim, who is residing in Cairo, and Sebastion Krueger, who's current whereabouts are unknown. They soon become compromised by 54i forces, who were tipped off by the information Diaz sent them before dying. Goh Xiulan, now with a bionic hand, orders her lieutenant to trigger explosives throughout the facility, causing it to flood. While Hendricks and the Player manage to escape the facility, Kane orders them to leave Singapore to avoid being executed by the 54i after her position was compromised by the data leaks.

Knowing that Kane will have no chance of survival if she stays, the Player refuses to abandon her and convinces Hendricks to help rescue Kane from 54i forces, who are currently invading Singapore in vengeful retaliation for Goh Min's death. On route to the safe house Taylor contacts them and claims that he’s told the truth and that the 54i’s wrath upon the citizens of Singapore is righteous. He admits to revealing information to them as well as giving them access to the CIA comm channel protocols. Taylor also mentions that he is doing this to find the Frozen Forest, to which leaves both Hendricks and the Player confused. After reaching the besieged safe house, an explosion knocks back the two operatives, engulfing the building in flames. While Hendricks believes that explosion killed Kane, the Player refuses to give up and attempts to rescue her, but is suddenly attacked by Goh Xiulan in an attempt to avenge her brother, but is ultimately killed by the Player when he/she burns her skull in a bare pipe flare. Walking out of the burning building with a wounded Kane, the Player chastises Hendricks for giving up on Kane. Hendricks mumbles sheepishly "You've got a lot of blood on you."

After escaping Singapore, the team then heads to Egypt to interrogate Dr. Yousef Salim, who had been apprehended by Lt. Khalil's forces. Hendricks, who is on edge, interrogates Salim, telling him that Taylor and his team will kill him unless he reveals what he knows about the project and the Frozen Forest, wanting to know why the rogue unit is obsessed with it. Salim admits that he had worked on the secret project involving illegal DNI experiments on humans, and that his job was to comfort the emotionally unstable test subjects, using the fictional Frozen Forest as a way to keep the subjects calm. Becoming more aggressive, Hendricks violently demands why Taylor and his team are obsessed with the Frozen Forest, but is interrupted by a sudden explosion. Learning that the NRC are attacking, the team assists Khalil and his forces in repelling the attack. Using the assault as a way to distract the team, Taylor and his squad then capture Dr. Salim, although the Player is able to track them using a small tracking chip they had slipped to Salim earlier. Angered over not knowing about the tracker, Hendricks punches the Player hard across the face, accusing them of keeping secrets from him along with Kane. The Player then explains that something is clearly wrong with Hendricks since leaving Singapore, and that they made the call to not tell Hendricks about the tracker. Feeling remorse against striking his friend, Hendricks helps the Player back up, admitting that he shouldn't have taken his feelings about the mission out on the Player, but tells them that everything about it feels wrong.

Elsewhere, Taylor's team interrogates Salim about the location of the Frozen Forest, and then execute him right after Taylor orders Hall to ambush the Egyptian army using a Manticore Mech Suit, needing time to complete his interrogation and escape. While Hall proves to be a challenge against the Player and Hendricks, she is ultimately defeated. Needing to know more behind Taylor's motives, the Player decides to interface with Hall's DNI against her and Hendricks's objections. The Player is surprised to find that Hall's mind is heavily defended in an attempt to find out what she hiding. After fighting through digital defenses of Halls mind and destroying what remains of her subconscious, the Player discovers the presence of an AI virus named Corvus, who had corrupted Taylor and his team during their mission in Singapore, having integrated itself into the DNI's of Taylor's team and slowly taking over their cybernetics, being able to control their actions against their will. After disconnecting with Hall's DNI, the Player tells Kane about the AI and the location of Taylor and Maretti, who have taken refuge on an aquifer controlled by the NRC.

With help from Khalil and the Egyptian army, the Player, Hendricks, and Kane launch an assault on the aquifer in an attempt to capture Taylor and Maretti. During the assault, the Player's cybernetic systems suddenly shut down until they are awakened by Kane, who reveals that Corvus can also infect anyone who interfaces with it, meaning that both Hendricks and the Player are infected as they had interfaced with Diaz and Hall. Continuing the attack, the team decides to lock down the facility in order to trap the rogue soldiers. While they manage to seal Maretti inside, Taylor makes it out and flees on a NRC harrier. During their pursuit of Maretti, the Player and Hendricks continue to experience complication in their cybernetics as Corvus is slowly taking control of them. While the Player manages to fight off Corvus's influence, Hendricks begins to take his frustrations out on the Player, accusing them of losing perspective and even going so far as to threaten to kill Kane, believing that she is somehow behind this until he is struck down by the Player. Telling Hendricks that nobody will be able to help them once Corvus takes control, the Player reminds him of their friendship and that they will need each other more than ever if they are going to fight off Corvus. Managing to bring Hendricks back to his senses, the pair then find and confront Maretti, who attempts to kill them with a sniper rifle but is ultimately killed by the Player when the later kicks him out a window onto a pile of debris, impaling him.

The team then learns that Taylor had made a deal with the NRC in exchange for protection and is currently in Lotus Towers, an NRC stronghold in the city of Cairo. The team then make an attempt to capture Taylor, killing the NRC General Abasi Hakim as a way to start a city wide revolution that'll divert the NRC's attention. As they make their way towards Taylor, the Player and Hendricks continue to suffer malfunctions in their cybernetics, experiencing constant system failures and hallucinations as well as hearing Corvus's voice. While the Player is still able to fight of the AI's influence, Hendricks, who had been infected since Singapore, becomes more aggressive and violent towards his own allies, stating that they are fighting a losing battle and that they will make no difference whether they win or lose. After managing to reach Taylor's location, Henricks and the Player attempt to reason with their old leader, who is in a catatonic state. Claiming that he will take them all home, Taylor takes control of the NRC grunts throughout the city, attacking everyone on site including the NRC soldiers. While chasing Taylor, Khalil contacts them and tells them that he is greatly outnumbered by the NRC before his communication cuts out, with Kane confirming that enemy forces captured Khalil. While the Player initially request that they save Khalil, Kane reminds them that Taylor is the priority but promises that they will do what they can once this is over.

After managing to catch up to Taylor, the pair is soon confronted by an army of grunts, with Hendricks staying behind to hold them off while the Player continues to pursue Taylor to the top of Lotus Towers. The Player then fights Taylor, who has commandeered an enemy Mothership. While the Player manages to take down the Mothership, their cybernetic arm is pinned by the ship's debris, partially shutting down other systems, which renders them defenseless. Taylor, who survived the crash unscathed, pulls out a combat knife with the intent of murdering the Player. After desperately trying to convince Taylor that he is not himself, the Player manages to get through to him briefly as Taylor regains his senses and tears out his own DNI through his neck, effectively cutting off Corvus's influence over him. While the Player initially believes that it is over, Taylor reminds them that Corvus still resides in the DNI's of both the Player and Hendricks, making them loose ends. Although the wounded Taylor is no longer considered a threat, he is suddenly killed by Hendricks, who has finally succumbed to the virus and leaves the Player pinned, departing aboard another mothership to the Coalescence facility in Zurich, Switzerland in order to find Krueger.

Kane manages to extract the Player and brings them to the hospital, where the Player tells Kane that they need to stop Hendricks. Kane, not wanting to lose the Player, tries to convince them that they don't have to do this, stating that she can't go on if the Player chooses to go down this path. The Player, set on stopping Hendricks, tells Kane that this is who they are, with Kane leaving behind her bandana and telling the player not to forget her. Some time later, The Player and Kane, who had chosen to remain with the Player out of loyalty, head to Zurich to stop Hendricks. While they have the support of the ZSF, they are hampered on route when Hendricks hijacks the entire city's computer systems and robotic defenders. After fighting through several hacked robots, the Player and Kane manage to breach the Coalescence HQ, discovering that Coalescence has found and replicated the deadly nerve gas Nova 6, having laced the virus into the explosives that killed the 300,000 people in Singapore. Kane attempts to bypass security by initiating emergency protocols, but is tricked and killed by Corvus when it traps her in a room full of Nova 6. Before she dies, Kane warns the Player not to trust in their DNI, knowing that Corvus is nearly complete indoctrinating them. The Player continues on and confronts Hendricks, who is holding Sebastian Krueger hostage in an attempt to know what the Frozen Forest is. The Player makes a final attempt to reason with Hendricks, but is forced to kill him after he executes Krueger in order to prevent Corvus from spreading.

Being the only surviving host of the virus, the Player attempts to commit suicide to prevent them from being controlled by Corvus, but ends up inside a simulated world created within their own DNI. There, the Player is reunited with the digital reincarnations of their teammates, with Hendricks informing the Player that they have reached the Frozen Forest, a place where they can digitally live on after death as their minds have become a part of Corvus's hive mind. Seeing that their former allies have all given into Corvus's influence, the Player continues on until they encounter Corvus with a digital version of Krueger, who also had a DNI, and demands to know why it was created. Krueger argues that every bit of technology embraced by the public presented new ways for their enemies to compromise them, and the DNI was a way of monitoring the thoughts of everybody at once. Corvus was designed to catalogue them. After being told that it was nothing but a mistake, Corvus brutally murders Krueger and destroys what remained of his subconscious. The Player, shocked by what they witnessed, kneels down in despair until they encounter the digitally reincarnated Taylor, who claims that he was the only one to reject the AI's influence before dying which made what remained of his subconscious a virus in Corvus's system. Agreeing to help the Player fight Corvus, Taylor explains that the only way for the Player to defeat Corvus for good is to initiate a system purge in their DNI.

While the Player is still able to fight through Corvus's digital forces, their mental state becomes more and more fractured and they begin to chant Corvus's words, although Taylor's remains their voice of reason and tells them to keep pressing forward. After fighting their way through Corvus's illusory forces, the Player manages to regain control of their body and attempts to purge their DNI. Corvus makes a last ditch effort to control the Player, but is held off by Taylor, who tells the Player to keep fighting. The Player then purges their DNI, causing both Corvus and Taylor to disappear. As the Player stumbles out of the building where the controlled robotics were overrun by the ZSF, a soldier asks the Player to identify themself. As their system slowly completes the purge, the Player says "Taylor" before the screen dramatically fades to black, leaving the Player's non-reality fate unknown.

Pre-Mission Text Reports

Prior to the beginning of each mission, a stream of text scrolls across the screen too fast to be read normally without pausing the game. These texts are a series of mission reports by John Taylor. The first text describes the events of the mission in Ethiopia, in which Hendricks' team were left behind during the extraction of Minister Said and Lt. Khalil and overrun by Grunts, with the sole survivor taken to Zurich for emergency lifesaving surgery as well as recruited into the Cyber Soldier program, with Taylor personally interfacing with the sole survivor through their DNIs to assist in their recuperation. However, the mission report differs from the events of the game in that it reports the sole survivor of the mission in Ethiopia (the Player) actually died due to surgical complications during the surgery to install their cybernetic augmentations.

The remaining mission reports by John Taylor take place a significant period of time prior to the mission in Ethiopia, describing John Taylor's induction into the C.I.A.'s Black Ops program and his time serving alongside operatives Dylan Stone, Javier Ramirez, Alice Conrad, and Joseph Fierro, with Jacob Hendricks acting as their commanding officer. Several months prior to the Ethiopia mission, Stone, Ramirez, Conrad, and Fierro were sent to investigate a silent alarm triggered by an abandoned C.I.A. laboratory deep underneath the destroyed Coalescence Corporation building in Singapore. There, Stone and his team discovered evidence the C.I.A. had been engaged in illegal human DNI testing on kidnapped criminals, as well as recreating the vicious airborne virus Nova 6, its accidental release was responsible for the Singapore disaster and the resulting 300,000 deaths. Stone and his team threatened to go public with this information, at which point they were targeted for termination by the C.I.A. In retaliation, Stone's team decided to defect to the CDP, trading classified Winslow Accord data to assist their escape.

Taylor and Hendricks were assigned to hunt down their former squadmates, assisted by C.I.A. LNO Rachel Kane. Javier Ramirez was killed inside the C.I.A. lab while attempting to upload additional classified information to the public internet. Taylor, Hendricks, and Kane then tracked the remaining team members to Egypt, where the NRC had used the information leaked by Stone to gain a tactical advantage and seize control of the capital of Cairo. With the assistance of Egyptian military officer Lt. Zeyad Khalil, Taylor's group successfully fought through NRC forces and tracked down and eliminated Alice Conrad and Joseph Fierro. During the course of the mission, Hendricks voiced increasing moral objections to their assignment, feeling morally conflicted with having to assassinate his former teammates. Meanwhile, Taylor and Kane developed a close relationship but explicitly states that it is neither sexual nor romantic and does not impair his ability to carry out his missions.

Working with Lt. Khalil, Taylor's group ultimately triggered a civilian uprising against the NRC in Cairo, killing the NRC's military leader General Hakim and pursuing Dylan Stone through the NRC's regional headquarters of Lotus Towers. During the course of the fighting, Khalil's position was overrun and he was captured by the NRC. Taylor confronted Stone in a final battle on the roof of the Towers, but received serious injuries as a result. Hendricks arrived to save Taylor at the last moment. In the aftermath, Taylor was recruited into the experimental Cyber Soldier program, ultimately being assigned to lead a new team consisting of Sebastian Diaz, Sarah Hall, and Peter Maretti. Meanwhile, Hendricks resigned from the Black Ops assassination team due to his moral objections to the work, and transferred to a different Black Ops team involved in less controversial activities such as hostage rescue. Upon this decision, Kane chose to break up with Taylor due to her disagreement with his decision to join the Cyber Soldier program, leaving behind her bandana, which Taylor can be seen wearing as a keepsake during the mission in Ethiopia. By the time the rescue operation was conducted, Kane had returned to the CIA and broken off all association with Taylor, who stated to Hendricks that the relationship "didn't work out."

Mission Log Protocol Code

At the beginning of every mission, a Level Briefing appears at the bottom left of the screen. Included in the Briefing is a Protocol name.

Protocols in Mission Order

  1. Oscar
  2. Romeo
  3. Whiskey
  4. Echo
  5. Alpha
  6. Romeo
  7. Echo
  8. Tango
  9. Alpha
  10. Yankee
  11. Lima

The first letter of each protocol spells out ORWEARETAYL, or "WE ARE TAYLOR" when reordered. The placement of each letter in the sentence corresponds to each mission's chronological place in the story, according to the reports. Whether or not the "We" is referring to both The Player and Taylor is currently unknown, it may be referring to an alternate theory suggesting that The Player and Taylor's minds were fused after The Player's DNI was purged.


Campaign transcripts



Search and Destroy loading screen BO3

The new loading screen of Black Ops III's multiplayer depicts all players (names blurred in image) and their Specialist, along with their selected weapon or ability. The player's own Specialist is highlighted in yellow.

Multiplayer has evolved substantially since Call of Duty: Black Ops II while still meant to evoke the same spirit. Building slightly off Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, players can now wall-run, power slide, and boost jump their ways across maps that have been built from the ground-up with these new traversal options in mind. Swimming, as well as underwater shooting, has also been added as a new way to approach the battle. The boost jumps function similarly to the exo-jumps from Advanced Warfare. Where the exo-jumps deliver sharper angles and straight lines, the boosted jumps deliver curves and drifts in Black Ops III.

The Pick 10 system from Black Ops II has returned, and the 10 points will be used for picking Guns, Lethals, Tacticals, Attachments, Perks, and Wildcards. Players will have a lot of freedom in customization, even being allowed to put up to six attachments on one weapon. The Pick 10 system does not cover Scorestreaks, as those are chosen separately.

In addition to the traditional Pick 10 class customization, the player now plays as one of ten specific characters, called Specialists, instead of as a generic soldier. The ten playable specialists, four revealed in April, two revealed at E3 2015, two revealed in preparation for the Playstation 4 Beta, one revealed less than a month before launch are, and the last added in on June 14 2016 with the Bo3 contracts are:

  • Ruin: an infantry soldier from a tough neighborhood who volunteered for cybernetic limb replacements, despite not having an injury necessitating it.
  • Outrider: a product of the Brazilian favelas, where she earned a place in the ranks of the Brazilian Special Forces.
  • Prophet: a member of the British Engineering Corps who has over 70% of his body upgraded with cybernetics.
  • Battery: an armored explosives specialist who crushed the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program.
  • Seraph: an enforcer for the 54i crime syndicate who is known for her discipline in combat.
  • Nomad: the last surviving member of an elite rapid deployment force that specialized in jungle warfare.
  • Reaper: a combat robot prototype from a canceled government R&D project built by the Coalescence Corporation.
  • Spectre: a presumed wet-works specialist of whom next to nothing is known.
  • Firebreak: a pyromaniac who uses fire as his greatest weapon.
  • Blackjack: Danny Li from the campaign who now works as a mercenary trying to restore his reputation (Current Gen only).

Each specialist gives players the option of either taking a power weapon or a special ability into battle. The power weapons and abilities have the potential to be game-changers. Rather than being able to access the player's weapon or ability at will, a continually charging meter dictates when they can use it. The meter charges more quickly based on player performance and depends on game mode, but typically takes between two and four minutes to fully charge for weapons, while only taking around two minutes to fill up for abilities. Each Specialist also has their own personality, and will shout quotes and orders in the field freely. The player is also able to pick gestures and taunts for their specialists via Black Market drops, as well as customize their outfit by unlocking new gear with tiered challenges.

The Gunsmith is another element of Black Ops III multiplayer meant to give players an opportunity to create preset variants of weapons with specific attachments, paintjobs and camouflages.

The PC version of the game uses dedicated servers only, and also includes an FOV slider of 65 to 120 degrees. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One use a hybrid system: dedicated servers are primarily used, but direct connections will instead be used if they offer a better connection. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 use only direct connections.

It was confirmed at PlayStation's 2015 E3 Conference that future DLC would be available first on PlayStation consoles as opposed to Xbox consoles. This marks the end of a multi-year deal where Xbox consoles received access to Call of Duty's DLC first.

Multiplayer Maps

Maps are built primarily with an emphasis on three lanes and two stories of verticality, similar to maps in Call of Duty: Black Ops II[15]. Only a few will actually feature water.

DLCs include re-imagined maps from World at War and the Black Ops series[16]

Treyarch also released a map editor tool for the PC version of the game after March 2016, allowing players to create their own maps and game modes, as well as servers with modded content[17].

Perks and Scorestreaks



Zombies returns in Call of Duty: Black Ops III. It is its "own experience" and has its own XP-based progression system. This system affects gameplay by letting you customize your weapons. This is done by changing the skin and scope on the weapon, as well as adding attachments, custom logos, and symbols. The Prestige Mode is also introduced in Zombies, letting players go through 35 levels for each Prestige until Prestige 10, after which they can enter Prestige Master and climb from 35 to max level 1000. For each 100 levels, a few more player symbols are unlocked.

Zombies was briefly teased at the end of the Call of Duty: Black Ops III reveal trailer, where a Zombie could be seen ripping a plank out of a window, with a horde of other Zombies following up behind it; the zombies had yellow eyes. The Zombie mode reveal trailer was first shown on July 9 at the zombies panel at San Diego Comic-Con. There, a short video about the history of zombies was shown before the trailer for the new map, titled "Shadows of Evil".

People who attended the panel also got an early look at the trailer for the bonus map that comes with each of the special editions of the game, a remake of Der Riese titled "The Giant", which is the translation of Der Riese from German.

A month prior to the game's release, a leaked achievement list confirmed the return of Dead Ops Arcade from Call of Duty: Black Ops in the form of "Dead Ops Arcade 2: Cyber's Avengening".

There are four DLC map packs delivered throughout 2016, as well as the Zombies Chronicles edition of Black Ops III awaiting release on May 16, 2017, making a total of fifteen Zombies maps.


Cyber Cores



Main article: Achievements/Call of Duty: Black Ops III


Hardened Edition

The Hardened Edition is available for Xbox One and PS4 for $79.99. It includes:

Digital Deluxe Edition

The Digital Deluxe Edition is available for Xbox One, PS4 and PC for $99.99. It includes:

  • A code for accessing the multiplayer beta for the game (Discontinued)
  • The limited edition specialist concept art cards
  • The Giant Zombies bonus map
  • Three personalization packs: fan favorite Cyborg & Weaponized 115 packs along with a new Black Ops III pack
  • The full base game, Season Pass & additional digital content

Juggernog Edition

The Juggernog Edition is available for Xbox One and PS4 for $199.99. It includes:

  • A code for accessing the multiplayer beta for the game (Discontinued)
  • The limited edition specialist concept art cards
  • The Giant Zombies bonus map
  • Three personalization packs: fan favorite Cyborg & Weaponized 115 packs along with a new Black Ops III pack
  • The full base game & Season Pass
  • The Juggernog mini-fridge
  • The Perk-a-Cola coaster set with a custom tin
  • The collectible steelbook
  • The official Call of Duty: Black Ops III soundtrack

Loot Crate

For a limited time, Loot Crate offered a Call of Duty: Black Ops III themed crate for $100.[18]

The following came in the loot crate:

  • Hoodie
  • Backpack
  • Beanie
  • Coasters
  • T-Shirt
  • Earbuds + Charger
  • Texting Gloves
  • Mousepad
  • Phone Wallet
  • Comic
  • Socks

Last Generation Version

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops III were developed by Beenox and Mercenary Technology, while the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (Microsoft Windows) versions of the game were developed by Treyarch. Due to the last generation consoles' inferior hardware, there have been many significant changes made to their ports. These changes include:

  • The campaign is not available.
  • Nightmares mode is not available.
  • The multiplayer beta was not available.
  • Box art appears slightly different, with a glowing yellow background.
    • As shown on the box, internet is required to play, even with the given option to play local.
    • A small box shows that only Multiplayer and Zombies are available.
    • The Treyarch logo is also not shown.
    • The back side only shows Multiplayer and Zombies.
  • The intro cutscene every time the game is started does not show the Treyarch logo. Instead it cuts straight to Activision's logo.
    • The loading screen symbol is two 4-quartered circles instead of the Treyarch logo.
  • The Paintshop isn't available.
  • Gunsmith isn't available.
  • Ground War isn't available.
  • Maximum frame rate is limited to 30 FPS in Zombies and between 30 and 60 FPS in multiplayer, unlike previous Call of Duty games.[19][20]
  • The menu backgrounds are pre-rendered and run at 30 FPS and all sound effects are disabled. The Specialists always appear in their default skins and their special weapon animations.
  • Nuk3town isn't available.
  • The Season Pass is not available.[16]
  • Theater Mode is not available.[20]
  • Gibbing animation is reduced to decapitations only (Zombies only).
  • Player's lower body is not visible.
  • Zombies main menu character remains as Jack Vincent and does not change.
  • A very noticeable drop in graphical quality.[21]
  • The Emblem Editor isn't available.
  • Split Screen is not available.
  • Black Market (Supply Drops) isn't available.
All Rare, Epic, Legendary, and Common camos, New Weapons, Calling Cards, Customize Specialists, taunts, and all weapon attachments variant are not available.
  • BlackJack specialist isn't available.
  • III Camouflage, Weaponized 115 Camouflage, and Cyborg Pack camos are not available.
  • Cryptokey and CODPoints are not available.
  • The players will only have Liquid Divinium when using 3 vials
  • Purchasing 15 vials would include a 2 bonus, 30 vials will include a 6 bonus, and 60 vials will include a 15 bonus.[22]
  • Modified animations in Dr. Monty's Factory:
    • The spin animation doesn't stop to show the GobbleGums. Instead, it closes and pictures appear in front with labels on top.
    • The tube that sucks away the GobbleGums is also not used.
  • Newton's Cookbook is unavailable.
  • Nine exclusive Multiplayer achievements.
  • Three exclusive Zombies achievements.
    • Many Zombies achievements on Shadows of Evil are ranked a trophy higher (i.e. bronze to silver)/are worth 10 Gamerscore more.
  • Weapon Kits background is blue rather than red.
  • Perk-a-Cola jingles remains the Shadows of Evil jingle in any zombies map.
  • Some events that take place (ex. Days of the Undead, Days of Summer, etc.) are not present.
  • Some newer updates that affect the entirety of the game are not present.
    • This means several glitches still occur.
    • The Power-Up information in Zombies when obtaining a Power-Up still shows the skull in the background rather than the Group 935 logo on Shadows of Evil.
  • The Zombified Richtofen jumpscare on Shadows of Evil is not present.
    • When hovering over to the Player List while in Multiplayer, the pre-rendered menu background for the player's selected Specialist instead of the model viewer.
    • Even if the player returns to the lobby menu while selecting a Specialist, one of the three selection lines for each Specialist will be played instead.
      • Lip dubbing is not used due to the pre-rendered menu backgrounds.
  • Motion Blur is not used.
  • The Main Menu UI and Gameplay HUD has been tweaked to a more static approach.
  • In the Winner's Circle, the 1st place finisher doesn't perform a taunt and the top 3 players can't do gestures. And the camera doesn't pan up when the scoreboard shows.
  • Only the bonus Zombies map, The Giant and the Awakening DLC pack are available to download.
    • Furthermore, the Xbox 360/PS3 version includes a code containing the full game download of Call of Duty: Black Ops.


Main article: Call of Duty: Black Ops III (Official Soundtrack)

Downloadable Content


Cover Art

Hardened Edition

Steelbook Edition

Gold Edition

Digital Deluxe Edition

Strategy Guides

Limited Edition PlayStation 4 Bundle

Loot Crate

Reveal Images




See also - Call of Duty: Black Ops III Controversy


  • On the PlayStation 4 version, the light bar on the player's controller will be orange at the title screen.
    • In Nightmares, the light bar turns yellow when the player has a Cyber Core ready for use.
      • When the player collects the power-up which makes all enemies not move, the light bar will blink yellow.
    • The light bar is yellow while playing the campaign.
    • The light bar's color varies when playing Dead Ops Arcade 2: Cyber's Avengening based on what color the character is that the player is playing as. For example, for the green character, the light bar will be green.
    • When the player first buys a GobbleGum and the notification shows up, the light bar will be the same color as the GobbleGum ball is.
    • When the player is critically damaged in multiplayer, the light bar will be red.
      • When the player's Specialist Ability or Specialist Weapon is ready for use, the light bar turns yellow.
  • This is the final Call of Duty game released on Xbox 360 and PS3.
    • The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were originally planned to feature a single-player campaign that was meant to include 2-Player co-op instead of 4 (as mentioned by IGN), although this version (and also the mulitplayer) were extremely difficult to develop that it couldn’t be fixed in time for release, so Beenox had to focus production on multiplayer. As a compromise, the game was reduced by 10 dollars, and included a downloadable version of Call of Duty: Black Ops.
  • While the Xbox One and PS4 versions have the Motion Blur setting set to Dynamic, in which is having Motion Blur on for some of the in-game cutscenes and the Main Menu and off during gameplay, the PC version has the option to fully turn on Motion Blur or have it completely off.
  • The Collector Edition for the game was originally going to feature a Ray Gun replica, but was ultimately replaced by the Juggernog Mini-Fridge.[23]


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