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If you finished the Campaign and didn't understand some things, read this.


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Note: I wrote none of this, but found this post on reddit. This honestly explained so much stuff and has things make so much sense now. It has made me appreciate the campaign so much more now.


https://www.reddit.com/r/blackops3/comments/3shl7v/spoilerscampaign_explained_two_storylines/ by /u/ChinaTercel



Note: Translated by ChinaTercel, the author is 双马尾优优姬 on Baidu. Link: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4151043880

Please don't mind my English, it's not perfect..

I apologize for the format, somehow it's been messed up, I'm trying to fix it.

Before I get into this, for those of you who have finished the campaign already, don't you feel some things just aren't right? Don't you feel the storyline

is in conflict with itself at times?

Before the game was released, Treyarch developers said the real story of BO3 lies within easily ignored details, do you really know what that means?

Here are a few examples:

Q1. The in-game date starts off with "yyyy-mm-dd" but turns into "Day 1/2/3...", what does that mean?

Q2. We rescued Khalil and the Minister in the "first" mission. To Khalil, Hendricks should have been a lifesaver but we don't see any appreciation in the later missions. Instead, Khaili acted defensive against Hendricks as if they've never met before. Why? Also, the main reason Khalil got rescued was because the Minister mentioned how Khalil getting killed would make a great piece of propaganda for the NRC to weaken the Cairo uprising. Taylor refused to rescue extra prisoners until he heard the name "Khalil" so apparently both Hendricks and Taylor knew Khalil. Why do two CIA Black Ops know of some Egyptian commander? Does the phrase "Cairo uprising" sound familiar, too?

Q3. At the end of the second mission right before the surgery, Taylor, Hendricks, and the head of Coalescence are all present in the room. We also see a woman walking out of the door. The very same scene appears again towards the end of the campaign with Rachael next to the player's bed. See what I'm talking about here? Who was the mystery woman that walked out of the door in the first scene?

Q4. In the campaign, the player and Rachael seem to have formed some kind of relationship. First saving Rachael in Singapore, then Hendricks half-jokingly asked if the player has fallen in love with Rachael. Even at the second hospital scene we've talked about earlier, the way the player and Rachael talk clearly are NOT normal. They seem more like couples than partners, even if the player is female. Is the player supposed to fall in love with Rachael as a male and Treyarch got lazy so they didn't change the script for a female player? Note that in the "first" mission, Hendricks asks Taylor about Rachael and Taylor replies things didn't work out. Did Taylor and the player seriously fall in love with the same woman?

Q5. Is Reznov dead? What was Mason doing when he disappeared? Where did Menendez go?(Assuming he didn't bathe in gasoline and burn) Does BO3 not explain any of the above?

Q6. In the final mission, remember how you were fighting shitloads of robots before getting into Coalescence HQ? How did those dead robots turn into dead human bodies when the player walked out at the very end?

Q7. Why does the player say (s)he's Taylor at the very end?

All these questions shall be answered, not with Corvus in my head, but with reliable evidence from the game itself.

Go grab some popcorn! The mindfuck is about to begin.

The true story of BO3 lies within the part where almost everybody has ignored(as StandsForVice mentioned in his post): the scrolling text at the beginning of every mission. It scrolls so quickly that people tend to ignore it entirely.

However, if you scroll frame by frame, here's what part of the text from the "first" mission says: "Hendrick's VTOL was forced out of the airspace with his team still on the ground. Though they tried to fight back, they were quickly surrounded and overrun by NRC bipedal robots. Most did not survive. I'd like to state for the record- the responsibility for the outcome rests solely with myself. No blame should be apportioned to Hendricks- even though he directly challenged my orders. I was the one who decided to break protocol and return for the other hostages. Even in light of the tragic consequences of my decision, I do believe that trying to save the lives of our allies was indeed the right thing to do."

After reading this, we can conclude that the author of this report is Taylor. It also shows Taylor's loyal and caring character: he took the blame for Hendricks. But if we keep on reading...

"The sole survivor of Hendricks' team was taken to the Zurich facility to undergo emergency lifesaving procedures. After being stabilized, they were quickly identified as a potential candidate for the expansion of the Cyber Ops program, and were fitted with a DNI. Prior to limb replacement surgery and full body augmentation, I personally interfaced to assist with their integration, acclimation, and training. They had potential. Unfortunately, complications arose during the procedure- They were pronounced dead shortly thereafter."

What? They're dead? Dead after the second training mission? Then who have we been playing as? How can Hendricks be with the player if he's dead?

We can already get the answers to some of the questions we've asked in the beginnning.

A1. Maybe the game writing the dates differently indicates that the story isn't presented in a chronological order. If we want to put things in order, then every single mission after the "second" mission actually happened before the "first" mission.

A2. Let's go to the second-to-last mission at the Lotus Tower. Remember where that is? In Cairo, when the player and Hendricks are trying to track down Taylor while Khalil tries to, you guessed it, start an uprising! The phrase "Cairo uprising" has not been mentioned in this mission but the word "uprising"

has. Remember when Khalil said how killing a general of the NRC would greatly benefit the Egyptian army's propaganda, raise the morale of the people, and successfully uprise? Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Sounds very similar to the words the Minister said in the "first" mission. There are a lot of repeating

lines spoken by different characters throughout the game and trust me, it's not Treyarch's laziness. I will talk about it later but keep it in mind.

Cairo uprising.

In the "first" mission, it was said that Khalil was the hero of the uprising.

It wouldn't make sense if the "first" mission happened before the uprising/second-to-last mission.

Now if we assume the "first" mission happens after the second-to-last mission, Khalil's attitudes don't seem unreasonable anymore. Of course Khalil was being defensive when he met Hendricks during the campaign because it really was their first meet. That's also why Khalil recognized Hendricks right away in the "first" mission when he got rescued.

Now there's a new problem. How did Taylor know of Khalil in the first mission? He has never met Khalil because Khalil has always been with us, the player and Hendricks. Didn't both Hendricks and Taylor die in the last mission? Then how can they be alive again in the first mission?

There is an explanation but for now I want to talk about something else.

Let us assume that every single mission before the "second" mission happened before the "first" mission. Here's the text from the "second" mission. http://imgsrc.baidu.com/forum/pic/item/1abacefc1e178a82379e9c41f003738dab77e8ca.jpg

What we can know from those text is that Taylor used to be under Hendricks' command. Taylor's Black Ops squad has four other people: Stone, Ramirez, Conrad, and Joseph. Notice how every single squad member here correlates to Taylor's squad in the story(Diaz, Hall, etc.)?

We can also know that they have been through training which indicated they are all fitted with DNIs.

Mind you, Hendricks doesn't seem to have augmentations or a DNI in the first mission.

Great, now even more questions begin to surface. The story never said anything about Taylor's old squad or the history between Hendricks and Taylor. How do we answer the questions we've asked before?

Here are a few sengments taken from texts in other missions: http://imgsrc.baidu.com/forum/w%3D580/sign=ad7f112dc5cec3fd8b3ea77de689d4b6/7d41e61190ef76c6b38217ca9b16fdfaae51671f.jpg http://imgsrc.baidu.com/forum/w%3D580/sign=6756a5088b1001e94e3c1407880f7b06/f5be4e4a20a44623cd6d49839e22720e0ef3d7cd.jpg

You get the idea. Generally speaking, Taylor is the narrator in every single report. If you go ahead and read every single report/text, a totally surprising truth begins to surface: THE STORY OF THE PLAYER IS THE STORY OF TAYLOR THE WHOLE TIME!

Ever since the "third" mission, you have been playing out Taylor's story: trying to track down the "traitors" headed by Dylan Stone with Javier Ramirez, Alice Conrad, and Joseph Fierro!

Prepare yourselves for the FIRST plot twist in BO3:

Hendricks and the player are actually brain-dead by the end of the second mission due to DNI having "complications". Chronologically speaking, the "second" mission is actually the final mission in the game. It is also the biggest hint apart from the Cairo uprising. All in all, you're not the player, not Taylor, but Corvus! The entire game is a simulation mostly based on actual events from Taylor's memories.

I know all this might be hard to digest, so let me explain things further.

Let's talk about Corvus. Corvus is a DNI-based AI which is not supposed to develop self-awareness. By the time the game has chronologically ended("second" mission), DNI still remains a secret CIA black project. Taylor and his team(Stone, Ramirez, Conrad, and Joseph) might have been early testers of the DNI.

Taylor might even be the very first tester of the Alpha version of the DNI due to the deep impression he has left for Corvus.

Now let's go back to Taylor and Stone's team. First of all, the events are real. They should have happened before 2065 but after 2054 because the the "first" mission happened in 2065 and the train explosion happened in 2054.

One theory would be that the entire "first" mission is a simulation as well, but everything stays true to the facts except for the part where the player's limbs get ripped off since there's no way anyone could have survived that much injury. Also, getting ripped apart by robots in the first mission develops a fear for robots that can be seem throughout the campaign. (Note from the translator: I don't very much agree with this theory but the author has it in his writing.)

A great deal of mix-up between dream and reality can be seen in the "second" mission. Why is Rachael walking away and out of the room? Apparently, that is actually a part of Taylor's memory. The mix-up also means that the DNI training might be something else, too. Those trainings might have been done not by the player, but by Taylor and Stone's team when they were first introduced to the DNI. Look back at the text from the "second" mission, you will find Taylor describing his training just like the player's training.

If you are still not convinced, let's say it's Taylor who is going through the second mission instead of the player and replace Diaz and Hall's team with Stone's team, you will find everything actually makes more sense. Keep in mind that Taylor's team is among the very first to integrate DNI and the train

explosion is in 2054 instead of "a few months ago" in 2065.

Prepare yourselves for the SECOND plot twist in BO3:

The campaign of BO3 actually tells stories from two timelines: the actual events from Taylor's perspective and the simulation created by Corvus.

Here is a brief summary of the first timeline:

Taylor and his team were dispatched to save the train but failed to do so. They've sustained life-threatening injuries and were taken back to CIA base to be fitted with augmentations and DNIs. Their virtual training mission is the very thing they've fail to accomplish: saving the train. The reason Taylor keeps repeating "train goes boom" is because his mentor back then kept saying that phrase. That phrase has deeply affected Taylor and his team and since they have been fitted with DNIs, that phrase affected Corvus as well. We do not know what happened in the next 4 or 5 years but we do know that Stone's squad(without Taylor) had been sent to investigate the Coalescence facility and betrayed the CIA. Once a member of the squad(Taylor) and the commander of the squad(Hendricks), Taylor and Hendricks were sent to investigate what exactly happened in that facility. The rest of the story follows the campaign, you just have to swap the characters(Taylor for Stone, same thing for the rest of the squad).

Now, onto the history between Taylor and Hendricks.

You can probably see it by now. When Taylor and Hendricks were dispatched to investigate the facility, Rachael was their CIA overwatch. After the locations of the CIA safehouses were compromised, the 54 Immortals went after Rachael. Since Taylor liked Rachael, he insisted on rescuing her. Of course, Hendricks wasn't very happy about that so he got a little bitter. At the end Taylor risked his life and saved Rachael, and they started a relationship.

Why did Stone's squad betray the CIA?

The reason is simple. While investigating the facility, Stone's squad found that the CIA has been conducting NOVA6 and DNI experiments on humans. Those experiments caused the explosion that killed 300k people in Singapore. Stone's squad also might have discovered the potential link between NOVA6 and DNI so they got both scared and disgusted at the same time. That's when they have decided to betray the CIA and seek vengeance, also to find the truth motive behind the DNI project.

The reason Stone's squad chose not to tell Hendricks is simple: Hendricks was appointed by the CIA to be their CO out of nowhere. They didn't trust Hendricks. What if Hendricks knew about the NOVA6 and DNI experiments all along?

There are two possible reasons Taylor got kept in the dark along with Hendricks: Stone's squad either didn't trust Taylor or they respected Taylor as their squad leader and didn't want to get him involved on this suicide mission.

Ironically, it was Taylor and Hendricks who went after them.

Here's how the real events ended:

Joseph, Alice, and Javier were all dealt with. Stone was the only person left; he has escaped into Egypt, made a deal with the NRC, kidnapped Dr. Salim, and wanted to let the world know about CIA's unethical human experiments once NRC gets Cairo. However, as Taylor and Hendricks caught up, his plans got messed up: the Egyptian people revolted and the NRC couldn't proceed. At this time, Stone had run out of choices. He killed Dr. Salim, got onto the top of the Lotus Tower and waited for the final moment.

Hendricks either got injured or was doing something else. Whatever it was, Taylor went to the top of the tower without Hendricks. This was also where Taylor and Hendricks got separated from each other and wouldn't meet again until the "first" mission, either because of distrust or Rachael(in the campaign, they were arguing over Rachael when the robots came and Hendricks had to cover the player). Taylor went to the top of the tower, confronted Stone and tried to convince him to stop. Instead, Stone committed suicide and told Taylor his motives: not only NOVA6 and the DNI were extremely unethical and caused 300k people dead in Singapore, Stone and Taylor were both fitted with DNIs and Stone had no idea what the DNI's true purpose is. He also told Taylor that if he wanted to know the truth, then Taylor should finish what he started and go to Zurich to look for the answer.

After that came the breakup between Taylor and Rachael. When Taylor was back at the base healing his injuries, he told Rachael about his plan to force his way into the Coalescence HQ and find the answer. Worse, Hendricks was right about Rachael knowing things. More or less she knew about the experiments in Singapore so when she heard Taylor was going to find out the truth(possibly betray CIA), she cut ties with Taylor and walked away. She also told Taylor to tread carefully as the truth could be too heavy for him and crush him.

In the last mission, note that there is a lot of simulated content. Hendricks obviously did not get mind-controlled by Corvus and killed since he shows up again in the "first" mission. Also, in the "first" mission Taylor did not mention anything about Rachael dying so it is possible that Rachael dying was simply another simulation thing done by Corvus. Whatever tricks Taylor pulled off, he faked a terrorist attack and made all the guards go outside the building to fight off the "terrorists" while he snuck into Sebastian Krueger's office and questioned him.

The answer Krueger gave is the same in both the real world and the Corvus simulated world. The real research was about the brain while NOVA6 was simply something to destroy evidence if anything went wrong.

There was no epic battle between Taylor and anyone, Krueger told him everything he wanted to know. The disaster in Singapore was intentional because the research got compromised. Brain research serves for the DNI and the DNI serves for a mass surveillance project created by the CIA. Once DNI has been installed in every person, CIA can tap into their thoughts and monitor everything.

Now Taylor has put himself in a dilemma. On one hand, CIA is doing so to make the world safer but on the other hand, people would have no privacy anymore.

He was torn between world peace and personal privacy. At last, Taylor chose to stay silent. He did not kill Krueger or anyone and walked out of the building muddleheaded. By that time the "terrorist attack" had been dealt with and one ZSF soldier spotted Taylor walking out of the building. The soldier went ahead and asked Taylor for his name. Since Taylor was muddleheaded, it took him a brief moment before he said "Taylor."

After all this mess Taylor had become discouraged and it took him a few years to shake things off. He went back to the CIA and made peace with Krueger and Rachael. His superiors greatly praised him for keeping quiet and seeing the big picture(unlink Stone's squad) so he got ranked up in the coming years. On the other hand, Hendricks didn't get promoted as much due to his temper and stubborn personality.

At last, in the year 2065, Taylor's new team(Diaz, Hall, etc.) along with Hendricks' new team(the player) goes on a mission to rescue the Egyptian Minister.

After the mission, the player sustained heavy injuries and had to get a DNI implant. Hendricks also volunteered for the DNI implant. However, the surgery goes wrong and both Hendricks and the player die.

And ladies and gentlemen, this is the end of the first timeline.

Now, onto the second timeline.

The virtual simulation starts right after the real events end.

We can assume that the reason the player and Hendricks die is due to Corvus being born or going crazy.

DNI was created to monitor the public but instead it gave birth to a super AI, Corvus. Corvus has some degree of self-awareness due to DNI still being in testing stage. As far as we know, the only people know has had access to DNI are Stone's squad, Taylor's new squad, Taylor, Hendricks, and the player. Also, the dead test subjects as well.

Corvus is able to rewrite itself. It has learned different experiences and worldviews from different users. Corvus only felt fear and a struggle for life in the initial test subjects, then felt a need for truth from Stone's squad. Since then Corvus has been constantly growing and with it, it's able to take in more things. From Taylor's new squad, Hendricks and the player, Corvus acquired new information and combining all the information together, Corvus created a simulated journey.

Why? Why did Corvus create the journey?

Let's assume you're an AI. You know you're an AI and you know you're man-made but at the same time you are also unsure of yourself and your surroundings.

How will you feel? Scared. A lack of security. If you're a person then you'll know that you're real if you touch yourself but for an AI, you realize you're in the void. You feel like nothing's real.

Therefore, you'll most likely be thinking about two things: Why am I created and what's a safe place for me.

Now are you getting it? The second timeline, the simulation, revolves around those two questions.

The entire simulation is Corvus, as an AI, trying to discover and redeem itself.

The reason Corvus created the forzen forest is to make itself feel safe(we have no idea if Dr. Salim really created the Forzen Forest since it's all a part of the simulation). However, in the process of discovery and redemption, the AI itself denied the frozen forest(it can be seen from when Dr. Salim said that the forest is fake).

At the end of the campaign, the AI also denied the purpose of its own existence(Krueger telling the AI that he's just a software glitch). That's when the AI finally got it: there's no purpose to its existence and there is no safe haven for it to go to. That's why the AI suicided twice in the last mission(actually every single DNI user death signifies the AI denying a part of itself), killing Hendricks and the player first to suicide physically and then destroying the three hearts to suicide mentally.

The entire simulation can be seen as a struggle within Corvus' mind. Burning the three hearts basically means Corvus is shutting itself down.

Could be worse.

Even suicide fails! At the end we can see the DNI purging itself. In other words, it's rebooting. Corvus, as an AI, only has limited control over things, not even its own fate.

Note that Corvus wants to die because it knows that it serves no purpose and shouldn't exist. Imagine you have thought everything through that you want to die. There's no heaven or hell for you. Your life is meaningless. Just when you've jumped off a building, you get saved! That's how Corvus felt at the very end. It's confused, annoyed, and suffering, JUST LIKE TAYLOR IN THE REAL LIFE TIMELINE when he knew the truth.

Hence when ZSF asked the player for a name, the player/Corvus said "Taylor".


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This post gave me confusion.

I figured something was not right when the Player calls himself "Taylor". It feels like Treyarch looked at their twisted scenarios in Black Ops and re-introduced them to create an even crazier plot twist. In the words of Robot Chicken, "WHAT A TWIST!".

After reading several comments across the interwebs about the ending, someone brought up the idea that the Player purging their DNI evidently entangled Taylor's mind with the Player's. And to be honest I would love for that to be the case if the journals hadn't existed. But because they do and explicitly tell of the Player's death, it rustles my jimmies.


Great job breaking my mind, Treyarch.

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12 hours ago, InfestLithium said:

This post gave me confusion.

I figured something was not right when the Player calls himself "Taylor". It feels like Treyarch looked at their twisted scenarios in Black Ops and re-introduced them to create an even crazier plot twist. In the words of Robot Chicken, "WHAT A TWIST!".

After reading several comments across the interwebs about the ending, someone brought up the idea that the Player purging their DNI evidently entangled Taylor's mind with the Player's. And to be honest I would love for that to be the case if the journals hadn't existed. But because they do and explicitly tell of the Player's death, it rustles my jimmies.


Great job breaking my mind, Treyarch.

I also noticed similar plot lines with the first BO campaign. 

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