- "Am I dreaming?"
- "Well...let's say you are. Why not just go with it, right? After all, you can always wake up."
- —The Player and John Taylor
The Player is the main protagonist of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, whose name is never revealed. Formerly a member of a hostage rescue unit led by Jacob Hendricks, the Player received cybernetic augmentations - becoming a "Cyber Soldier" - after a mission gone wrong.
As a new recruit in a hostage rescue unit, the Player was introduced to their new commanding officer, Jacob Hendricks. After briefing from Hendricks, the two went undercover in an NRC airbase in the Siemen Mountains to rescue the Egyptian Minister Said from torture and interrogation. Causing a massive disturbance by turning the base's D.E.A.D. systems against an incoming cargo plane, the pair used the chaos to divert the NRC forces away from the target. Upon locating Said, the Player and Hendricks discovered that there were many more hostages being tortured; however, Commander John Taylor's priorities lay only in Minister Said.
After killing Said's interrogators, he insisted that they also rescue Lieutenant Zeyad Khalil, an Egyptian Army officer being detained nearby. Having served alongside Khalil a year earlier, Hendricks reluctantly agreed and freed Khalil. Fighting their way through NRC guards, the four were ambushed by a large group of NRC soldiers, but were assisted by Taylor and his "Cyber Ops" team; Sebastian Diaz, Sarah Hall and Peter Maretti.
With their help, the operatives made short work of the remaining NRC forces in the area, but after their primary extraction plan failed, they were forced to fall back to a secondary extraction point. Hendricks convinced Taylor to take his team and rescue the other prisoners whilst he and the Player escaped with a stolen APC. Hendricks and the Player managed to secure a VTOL extraction for Said and Khalil, but the Player missed boarding the VTOL. An NRC GI Unit then approached the Player. The Player tried to fight it off, but was dismembered, having both of their arms ripped off, as well as breaking one leg and ripping the other. At the last second, the Player was rescued by Taylor.
- "I expect better. You should know that."
- — Sebastian Krueger, regarding the Player's suitability for the "Cyber Soldier" program
Having been impressed with the Player's skills in Ethiopia, Taylor recommended them for Project Prometheus, the Winslow Accord's "Cyber Soldier" program. The procedure involved replacing the Player's dismembered arms and broken legs with cybernetic equivalents, and implanting them with a Direct Neural Interface. While training the Player through a DNI immersion, Taylor taught the Player the importance of self-sacrifice to save the lives of others. Afterward, Taylor oversaw the augmentation procedure until a life support failure threatened the Player's life. Taylor attempted a DNI interface with the dying Player, and through their agony in death, Corvus was reborn, manifesting itself in Taylor's DNI and pulling the Player's consciousness through to Taylor's DNI.
Although the Player was pronounced dead moments later, they lived on through DNI, confined to an immersion created by Corvus from parts of Taylor's memories. Unaware that they were dead, they underwent successful augmentation in this immersion and became a member of the Cyber Ops unit, alongside Jacob Hendricks who had also underwent cybernetic upgrades.
Hunt for Taylor
Corvus managed to spread into the DNI Infection of Diaz, Hall and Maretti after Taylor succumbed. Dragging them into the same immersion, Corvus consumed their minds and controlled them, forcing them to explore Taylor's memories in search for answers regarding its inception, which had been found by Taylor and Hendricks in real life during their hunt for the traitor Dylan Stone and his team in 2064.
The Player, meanwhile, was assigned to investigate an abandoned CIA black station in Singapore. Fighting through the streets of the quarantine zone against the 54 Immortals with Hendricks, and regrouping with their CIA handler Rachel Kane, the Player discovered the black station staff dead and the local data drives, containing stolen secret CIA files. Kane concludes that the last recorded activity at the station was that of Taylor's team, which the Player found hard to believe. Some of the stolen files found their way to the 54 Immortals.
In order to determine the truth behind the killings, the Player and Hendricks posed as arms dealers and infiltrated the 54i headquarters in an attempt to recover the stolen information, which included security footage from the black station. The Player and Hendricks were compromised by the 54i leaders, Goh Min and Goh Xiulan, forcing them to retaliate and inadvertently kill Min. An enraged Xiulan ordered every 54i soldier in the area to kill the two as they fought their way to the stolen files. Cutting off Xiulan's right hand in order to bypass a fingerprint authentication system, the Player and Hendricks were able to secure some of the data before making a hasty escape.
The footage from the black station proved Taylor's team was behind the killings and the theft of the data drives, which Hendricks still denied. To work out Taylor's motives, Kane sent the Player and Hendricks to the site of Taylor's last known operation before his betrayal - an investigation into an alarm triggered underneath the abandoned Coalescence facility at the heart of the quarantine zone.
Upon arrival, they found it ransacked by 54i troops, who had been contracted by the Common Defense Pact to find something deep underneath the facility. After clearing out the 54i, they discovered what it was that the 54i were looking for - a long-abandoned CIA black project called SP/CORVUS, which unethically used involuntary human test subjects and seemed to be connected to the disaster that killed 300,000 Singaporeans and led to the creation of the quarantine zone.
Shocked by their discovery, the Player and Hendricks determined that this must have been what caused Taylor's team to defect. Hendricks became suspicious of Kane and accused the CIA of plotting a conspiracy. Exploring further into the facility, they found Diaz hard-wired into the server room, uploading classified information straight from his DNI. Defeating an army of GI Units sent to kill them, Hendricks forced a DNI interface on Diaz, killing him but providing Hendricks with information regarding Taylor's motives. Suddenly, 54i reinforcements arrived at the scene, flooding the entire facility in an attempt to kill the Player and Hendricks in revenge for the death of Goh Min.
The Player and Hendricks escaped, but the information leaked by Diaz allowed the 54i to target the safehouse that Kane was located at. Refusing to abandon Kane, the Player and a reluctant Hendricks defied Kane's orders and managed to defeat an invading army of 54 Immortals soldiers and kill Goh Xiulan to secure Kane.
The information extracted from Diaz allowed the Player, Hendricks and Kane to follow in Taylor's footsteps to Egypt, where Taylor was looking to capture and interrogate Dr. Yousef Salim, a psychotherapist involved in SP/CORVUS. However, due to the compromising leaks, the team was unable to communicate with their superiors. From here on in, they were acting on their own accord.
Due to the Winslow Accord's alliance with the Egyptian Army, Kane was able to instruct Lieutenant Khalil to secure Salim at Ramses Station. However, Taylor leaked more information to the invading NRC, allowing them to target weak points in the Egyptian Army defenses. Whilst the Player and Hendricks held off the NRC with Khalil's help, Taylor's team used the assault as a distraction to extract Salim and disable Ramses' D.E.A.D. systems, allowing NRC reinforcements to capture Ramses Station.
However, all was not lost; the Player had slipped a tracking device on Salim, meaning they could track both Salim and Taylor's location. Hendricks, enraged that the Player had not consulted them about this, punched the Player in the face, before announcing his reservations about the mission.
Together, the Player and Hendricks tracked Salim to Kebechet, where Taylor was interrogating him. Unfortunately, Salim was killed before they could secure him. Suddenly, they came under attack from Sarah Hall piloting a Manticore. After defeating her, the Player forced an interface with her to extract information directly from her DNI, only to find it hideously corrupted by Corvus. Corvus then communicated with the Player, explaining that it was an AI created at SP/CORVUS and that it had inadvertently caused the Singapore disaster, and that despite this, Sebastian Krueger, the head of the project, had continued the illegal research in Zürich. Corvus also explained that it was looking for the "Frozen Forest", an illusion created by Salim to calm unstable test subjects in Singapore which Corvus is determined to prove is real.
Horrified by what they had seen but now able to determine Taylor and Maretti's location, the Egyptian Army launched an assault on the sub-Cairo aquifers that housed Taylor and Maretti under NRC protection, while the Player, Kane, and Hendricks were able to trap Maretti inside, but were unable to secure Taylor, who escaped. After nearly drowning, the Player was saved by Kane, who theorized that Corvus was a DNI virus that could infect people's DNI and manipulate their minds. She claimed it had manifested inside of Hendricks when he interfaced with Diaz and that, by interfacing with Hall, the Player was also infected. Unsure of what to do to contain it, she recommended finding Taylor to get some answers. Confronting Maretti, the Player brutally killed him, upsetting Hendricks.
After tracking Taylor's final location to the Lotus Towers in Cairo, the Player and Hendricks assisted Khalil in inspiring a civilian uprising by publicly assassinating NRC General Hakim. Whilst the uprising distracted the NRC forces, the Player and Hendricks fought their way to the top of the towers, where Taylor was once again trying to escape. By cryptically suggesting that he was a "puppet" for a greater force, and that the events that were about to play out had "already happened", Taylor hinted that the entire scenario was merely a rerun of his own memories. Confronting Taylor on the roof, the Player brought down a Mothership under Taylor's control before being incapacitated by shrapnel. Taylor then tried to kill the Player, but managed to resist Corvus' control by ripping out his DNI. As he lay dying, he was shot dead by Hendricks, who then left the Player to die, having finally succumbed to Corvus.
Kane rescued the Player, taking them to Zürich to recover. She explained that a manual DNI purge was the only way to stop Corvus from taking control of the Player's mind, which would cause their memory to be wiped.
Having had their consciousness put in Taylor's DNI, the Player managed to assume control of Taylor's body in the real world, since Taylor's consciousness was apparently dead after the events of the simulation. No longer in an immersion, the Player fought through the streets of Zürich, where Corvus had unleashed chaos in an attempt to stop the Player from getting to the Coalescence HQ and wiping Taylor's DNI. Despite the chaos, Kane and the Player managed to get to the HQ, where they found illegal weapon experiments, including Nova 6 research. By faking a containment issue, Corvus tricked Kane into manually override the computer systems from within the containment chamber, before unleashing the deadly nerve gas on her. As she died, she warned the Player that Corvus can trick people into believing things that aren't real.
Devastated at Rachel's death, the Player proceeded to find Hendricks holding Sebastian Krueger hostage, demanding an end to the DNI experiments. As Hendricks killed Krueger, the Player, believing Hendricks to be infected with Corvus, did not hesitate to kill him. The Player then turned the gun on themselves and pulled the trigger.
The Frozen Forest
- "Ever do or say something you can't explain? Maybe it wasn't you that said it, you that did it. Maybe it was someone else - their thoughts bleeding through into your brain."
- — Maretti
Now believing themselves to be dead, the Player awoke in the "Frozen Forest" - a vast immersion realm built by Corvus using the collective memories of Taylor, Diaz, Hall, and Maretti. Here, a Corvus-controlled simulated Hendricks attempted to persuade the Player to stay in the Frozen Forest forever and abandon their mission to stop Corvus. The Player bluntly refused, and was confronted by a visual representation of Corvus, who revealed the immorality of Krueger's experiments and tried to hamper the Player's progress by summoning 54 Immortals, NRC, and Zürich Security Forces soldiers from Taylor's memories.
Before long, the Player encountered Taylor, free from Corvus' control, who explained that his consciousness still existed in the Frozen Forest due to a DNI glitch. Working together to destroy the illusion of the Frozen Forest from within, the Player and Taylor overcame Corvus' advances. Diaz, Hall and Maretti - still existent within the Forest, despite being dead - explained the situation to Taylor, who figured out that his mind had merged with the Player's, causing them to share a body. After the Frozen Forest was completely destroyed, Corvus revealed that it had been attracted to Taylor's memories because of his knowledge of SP/CORVUS and by controlling him and his team, it saw the opportunity to explore his memories through their actions. However, its quest for answers led it to discover that it had caused the Singapore disaster. Overwhelmed with guilt for causing so much death, Corvus felt obligated to create a place of eternal peace, where everyone with a DNI could live on consciously after physical death.
The Player re-assumes control of Taylor's body back in the Zürich HQ of Coalescence. Corvus berates the Player for continuing to fight them, but Taylor holds Corvus off, allowing the Player to purge Taylor's DNI, sacrificing their own consciousness to defeat Corvus. Proceeding to the entrance of the building, a ZSF soldier approached the Player, asking their name; just before being wiped from existence, the Player responded with Taylor's name, thus handing Taylor control of his body again.
The Player's features are determined by the literal player from a list of nine selectable characters that can be changed throughout the Campaign. The Player's gender, face, helmet, and body are all customizable. The gender and face are chosen before beginning the Campaign, but can also be changed afterword via the wardrobe in the Safe House along with helmets and bodies which are unlocked throughout the Campaign and can be worn before any mission.
Body Outfits (Female)
Body Outfits (Male)
- Equipping a helmet for the Player character only displays it to co-op partners during Campaign gameplay, and will not appear during cutscenes.
- While the male Player is often referred to by other characters using gender-correct pronouns (him, brother), the female Player does not receive such references, and may simply be called "them".
- In the reveal trailer the male version of the player's early appearance was with a clippered short buzz cut when he wielded a light machine gun, a crew cut hairstyle when wielding a assault rifle with a knife and a pistol, but in the story trailer and the final version of the game either had a buzz cut, combed forward hairstyle or wore a bandana.
- The male version of the player's hair color was a lighter brown color in the reveal trailer but was changed to a darker brown color in the final version of the game.
- The Player was initially set to return in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in the scrapped Career mode, but their appearance was scrapped alongside the mode itself.