- "Killing me will not stop Nova!"
- — Steiner's last words.
Doctor Friedrich Steiner is the tertiary antagonist in Call of Duty: Black Ops. He was a German scientist and ex-Nazi who created the chemical weapon Nova 6, a nerve toxin capable of killing a human in a matter of seconds.
Steiner was born on June 11, 1904, in Hamburg, then German Empire. Not much else is known about his early life. He reportedly suffered from several conditions, including paranoia, insomnia and night terrors.
World War II
- "In '43, the Führer realized that the Allies could not be held back much longer. We began to look for more "unconventional" solutions. Throughout the war, my own research was focused on chemical weapons...it was meticulous and frustrating work. However, what we finally developed was a weapon more effective than we ever dared to imagine."
- — Steiner revealing his job during the war.
Before the war, Friedrich Steiner was a genius who had earned a collection of degrees and was thus sought by the Waffen-SS for his service in the various Wunderwaffen projects. His role was the creation of Nova 6 (the development began in January 1943), a toxin with such deadliness even the creator himself was horrified at what he had done. The weapon was to be used as a last resort against the Allies, but before it was properly tested, Germany was invaded by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet and Polish troops, the suicides of Adolf Hitler and many Nazi officials and the subsequent collapse of the Third Reich.
- "As I looked into the German's eyes, I saw all the evil of the Fascist Reich still burning strong. At that moment, every fiber in my being yearned to put an end to his wretched life."
- — Reznov after his encounter with Steiner.
Towards the end of the war, Steiner belonged to the task force which was sent to launch Nova 6 loaded rockets towards the United States, but his cargo ship was crippled by British bomber planes and trapped in the Arctic ice. As much as they tried to salvage what they could, Germany lost the war. To ensure his survival, Steiner contacted officials in the Soviet Union offering information and his expertise in exchange for his life. This was accepted and Steiner awaited the arrival of his new associates. Deeming his men expendable, Steiner allowed them to be slaughtered by the Soviet strike team led by Viktor Reznov and Dimitri Petrenko that was commanded by Major General Nikita Dragovich and his right-hand man Colonel Lev Kravchenko. When Reznov eventually reached the area where Steiner was holed up, it was to find the Nazi sitting calmly while smoking a cigar and surrounded by dead Germans he had executed. Arrogantly calling Reznov a "Russian dog", Steiner demanded to be taken to Dragovich. Under the traitorous Dragovich's orders, Steiner uses Reznov's squad for the "demonstration" of the Nova 6. While most of the squad including Dimitri are killed, Reznov and what is left of his men manage to escape amid the chaos created by a British strike team that was sent to recover or destroy the Nova 6 shipments. Reznov vows revenge on Steiner, Dragovich, and Kravchenko for the death of Dimitri, his friend, and companion.
Although Reznov escapes after having destroyed the original Nova 6 shipment, for the next 23 years, Steiner works for Dragovich to make a refined version of the toxin, the centerpiece of conquest against America. Steiner was also responsible for the brainwashing of many people into Soviet sleeper agents, including the captured American operative Alex Mason. Mason, however, proved too resistant to the mind control to be an effective sleeper agent (with Steiner himself noting his surprise at this) and he was deemed a lost cause by Dragovich. Unknown to them, however, Viktor Reznov managed to turn the brainwashing against them and gave Mason new orders: to kill Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner.
- "In 36 hours, the sleeper agents will receive their final orders. Only I can tell you how to stop the broadcast. I am at Rebirth Island -the Aral Sea. The choice is yours."
- — Steiner asking Hudson for help.
After his role in the creation of Nova 6 has become known, Steiner is listed as a top-priority target for SOG. His facility in the Ural Mountains is revealed by Daniel Clarke, a former freelance chemical engineer who worked for Project Nova before his escape. As Jason Hudson and Grigori Weaver reach the facility, Steiner makes contact with them and once again negotiates for his life: not only does Steiner tell them of Dragovich's plan, but also he discloses something direr. In 36 hours, the United States would be hit with Nova 6 by Dragovich's sleeper cells. Steiner offers to tell them how to stop the attack if only the two could retrieve him from his HQ in "Rebirth Island," as Steiner knows quite well that Dragovich would send men to kill him and tie up loose ends just like how they silenced Clarke.
- "My name, is Viktor, Reznov! And I will have my revenge!"
- — "Viktor Reznov" (Alex Mason), seconds before executing Steiner
However, before the two can extract Steiner, Mason stealthily arrives first on the island where he infiltrates Steiner's Lab. There, Mason kills most of Steiner's guards and finally confronts the shocked scientist, who recognises Mason from Vorkuta and even tells him that he doesn't know what they did to him. Thinking that Viktor Reznov is achieving his revenge, Mason beats up Steiner, and eulogizes all the good men that died because of Nova 6. As all of this is happening, Hudson and Weaver try to stop Mason from killing Steiner, but are too late, Mason executes Steiner and shoots Weaver, but Hudson is able to knock him cold. Weaver says that they need to find Reznov, to which Hudson explains, "We won't. He was never here". He looks at Mason's knocked out body and asks, "What the hell did they do to you in Vorkuta, Mason?"
Steiner's death would then lead to Mason's interrogation, which occurs throughout the Black Ops storyline.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
A photo of Steiner alongside a Redeemer revolver can be found in the mission Echoes of a Cold War. Steiner is mentioned once more in Intel within the Zombies mode by Oskar Strauss, being transferred to Wunderwaffen after requesting reassignment from Projekt Endstation.
- "In '43, the Führer realized that the Allies could not be held back much longer. We began to look for more "unconventional solutions". Throughout the war, my own research was focused on chemical weapons. It was meticulous and frustrating work. However, what we finally developed was a weapon far more effective than we ever dared to imagine... The weapon now housed within this vessel."
- "Long-range V2 rockets. To be launched from this outpost. The targets were command and control centers. Washington DC was our first target...then Moscow."
- "All across America, Dragovich has sleeper cells waiting for the signal to release the Nova 6. In 36 hours, the sleeper agents will receive their final orders. Only I can tell you how to stop the broadcast. I am at Rebirth Island - the Aral Sea...the choice is yours."
- "Dragovich's men are rounding up everyone on the island! Those no longer essential to his plans are being executed! You must hurry, before they kill me too!"
- "'I know you... Vorkuta! You don't know... What we did to you..."
- "Killing me will not stop Nova!"
- "He is unusual... atypical. Few men possess such will. Our other test subjects have been far more successful."
- Reznov, Dimitri, Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner had a photo taken with the wrecked ship as a backdrop before they entered the ship for the Nova 6. The photo can be found at Kravchenko's office both the underground command post and the cave compound.
- Before walking to the ship, one will see Steiner holding a Mosin-Nagant with what looks like a pistol grip but this "grip" is his Walther P38 going through the rifle itself.
- Despite being defecting to the Soviets, Steiner showed no remorse for the atrocities the Nazis committed during the 2nd World War as he smugly looked at a clearly angry Reznov with glee and amusement, showing that he still held the Nazis' racist and totalitarian beliefs despite selling out his country.
- On the intel page for the mission WMD, his name is incorrectly spelled 'Freidrich Steiner.'
- He is briefly seen in Call of Duty: Black Ops II when Woods mentions Mason and his hallucinations of Reznov.
- His mugshot (alongside Dragovich, Kravchenko, Weaver, Hudson, Woods, Bowman, and Mason) can be spotted on one of the Pack-A-Punch camos for the Zombies maps; Classified.