In Nightfall, it is a static object added for story purposes. The story behind it is that it was recovered from an undisclosed location by David Archer. Made of ancient volcanic glass, the inscriptions on its sides were carved while it was still cooling. With his team in the Alaskan wilderness unable to translate the text themselves, Archer was forced to hire Dr. Samantha Cross, a paleolinguistics expert. As time wore on, however, a mimetic virus caused by her exposure to the obelisk resulted in her acting in favor of the Cryptids. Obelisks are also noted for enhancing a human's genetic makeup when near one, which is credited for being a reason why players can jump to greater heights in Awakening.
In Awakening, it is a substitution for the Hives seen in previous maps. The obelisks must first be scanned using the modified Laser Drill. After the obelisks have been scanned, the player must then destroy them using the Vanguard. The Obelisks can be damaged by conventional weaponry when the time comes to destroy them, but most weapons, regardless of the circumstances, deal so little damage to the Obelisk that it is usually just a waste of ammo and time. The Vanguard is the only weapon that can deal significant damage to the Obelisks, and as such, protection of the Vanguard is critical since the Obelisks are nearly impossible to break without the Vanguard. Like the hives, there are usually challenges associated with every Obelisk that is being scanned.
In the last area, there are three very distinct, tall Obelisks that cannot be destroyed. Instead, these three Obelisks will extend the draw bridge that connects to the chamber housing several Ancestors once they have been scanned.
- When a player attempts jump on top of an obelisk, they get electrocuted on contact with it.