The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War beta is over, but that didn’t stop one intrepid fan from discovering a fantastic Easter egg hidden within its menu screen.
Redditor Neur0r took a close look at the background images of the beta menu screen, taking screenshots and analysing them in Photoshop. It’s hard to tell, but there are numbers displayed on the images for each mode as well as the store. These numbers, alongside the CIA stamp, sparked a thought in Neur0r’s mind.
As revealed in a post on the Black Ops Cold War subreddit, Neur0r ran these numbers through the CIA’s website, specifically the section that lets you search through declassified documents from the Freedom of Information Act. Neur0r discovered the faint numbers on the menu pull up period-correct documents.
For example, a search for 092735-7/KJ, which was spotted on the store portion of the menu screen, returned three documents, all relating to the Iran-Contra political scandal of the mid-’80s. The main document is a Report of the President’s Special Review Board dated 26th February, 1987. This is a report into the National Security Council, focusing on the Iran-Contra affair. The Iran-Contra affair was a secret US arms deal that traded missiles and other arms to free some Americans held hostage by terrorists in Lebanon, but also used funds from the arms deal to support armed conflict in Nicaragua. According to History.com, the controversial deal – and the ensuing political scandal – threatened to bring down the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Another search using a code found in the menu returned a scientific abstract dated 31st December 1967. One of the other searches returned a secret trace request from July 1988 that was only declassified by the CIA as part of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in 2008. Neur0r points out some of the searches are incomplete, and there may be more hints in the Black Ops Cold War menu screen yet to be found.
This Easter egg is in keeping with Black Ops Cold War’s campaign setup, of course. The game is set in the 1980s, and revolves around a CIA officer called Russell Adler, who pursues a supposed Soviet spy codenamed Perseus. In one cutscene released by developer Treyarch pre-release, we see a virtual recreation of Ronald Reagan giving Adler and his cohorts the greenlight to stop Perseus under the radar.
Even beyond this campaign tie in, the Black Ops series is known for its Easter eggs. Players had already found a large number of Easter eggs in the multiplayer maps released during the beta (Menendez returning in Cold War, our first look at Nuketown etc), and Treyarch extended the open beta by a day as part of an elaborate ARG that involved making a real-life phone call. Expect plenty more where that came from when the game comes out.