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RadZakpak

The Blackout Universe

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After doing some transcriptions for Aether-related characters in Blackout mode, I started to question just how all these people came together for this Battle Royale. You have people from the Chaos story, Aether story, the campaign, the multiplayer, the Modern Warfare series, Dead Ops Arcade, Black Ops trailers, and a member of Avenged Sevenfold all coming together to duke it out in some familiar locales from all over the multiverse placed in California until only one survives. On the surface, it's just a game and really Treyarch could put whoever they want into the game and have them fight no matter how nonsensical it is. It's just for fun. The thing is, characters have conversations, and they say some things that suggest there is a little more to it than that in the story department. Audio logs from the Specialist Stories and presumably the cut campaign suggest there is a lot more to it.

 

Let me say this right off the bat, because a lot of people deride the idea that Blackout has any implications on the Aether storyline: It doesn't. It's a one-way street. But our characters being put into this whole new universe, potentially the campaign universe, is just as interesting as characters like Roebuck or Woods being integrated into our beloved Aether. So don't say anything about that, because we already know they are not "connected" in a traditional sense. So let's dive in to what we know about this Blackout Universe.

 

What is Blackout?

Sometime in the 2040's, Alex Mason's granddaughter, Savannah Mason-Meyer founded a project called Project Blackout for the CIA. There's pretty much nothing else we know about Project Blackout, but we can safely assume it is in some way related to the Blackout mode. To sum up the Specialist stories, Savannah was working on a variety of technologies, such as DNI implants, which are a major part of Black Ops 3's campaign, which takes place after. She also created something called an Archetype. Archetypes are essentially "clones" of long-dead people with generally all the same memories as their original. Whether they are created, artificial people made with DNA, or other people surgically altered and implanted with memories, we don't know. But four were made that we know of, Woods, Alex Mason, Raul Menendez, and Viktor Reznov. Something went wrong with Alex, though. His mind seems broken, and Woods is attempting to implant false memories into his head (Poor Mason). But the place he does this in, of all places, seems to be Verruckt:

You can tell this is Verruckt by the broken architecture and the color of the walls. Verruckt is found on the Blackout Map. Are you following?

 

So the multiplayer specialists, who are now confirmed to be in the campaign universe, are being tested on by Savannah with DNI implants, in which training takes place. In this simulation, generally multiplayer maps are simulated with enemies to fill them and teach the basics of the game. On one level in particular, which I can't even find footage or a screenshot for, the player is given a Ray Gun and zombies are spawned in to end the mission. Note: These missions are voiced over by Woods, and at the very beginning, he introduces himself alongside Savannah, meaning these missions are in some way connected to the campaign universe.

 

A One-Way Ride Down Aether Street

So with the Archetypes in a place that looks like Verruckt Asylum, the worlds of Campaign, Multiplayer, Blackout, and Zombies are suddenly thrust together, and they are all connected to Savannah Mason, the creator of the Archetypes and Project Blackout. It's worth noting that in a rapid-fire interview, when asked if Blackout, the mode, was a simulation, David Vonderhaar said "No." It's possible he had no idea Blackout was even mentioned offhandedly in the Specialist Stories, and considered it its own universe where all these characters come together and fight.

 

Getting off that, the Specialists and Campaign characters don't seem to treat this world of Blackout as anything out of the ordinary. Both groups, assuming all the Campaign characters, including Hudson and Weaver, are connected to Savannah, and would understand where they are presumably. Certain Aether characters, however, seem to question where they are, and even Richtofen does not seem to know, or he brushes it off as a 115-induced delusion. 

 

Quote

PR: Before you accuse me, Nikolai, I have nothing to do with our arrival in this place!

 

PN: Thank Mother Russia for that. Maybe I get extra lucky and somebody shoots you, da?

Quote

PT: Your behavior is curious, Richtofen. I have never seen you out of your element.

 

PR: Nor shall you! (chuckles) Ah, that’s the trouble with Element 115. I am it, und it is me.

Quote

PR: Ah! Takeo! Sehr gut. I am pleased to see you have joined my delusion. (laughs nervously) I was getting anxious.

 

PT: On the contrary, Richtofen. You have joined mine. The spirits apparently wish me to suffer.

Quote

PT: Richtofen does not compel us to fight in this mission, Nikolai. Why raise your weapon here?

 

PN: I have raised weapon so long I suppose it is habit. At least without him, reality is safe.

Quote

UT: What have you done? What place is this?

 

UR: This… this is not my doing.

Quote

UN: Takeo… who are these people?!

 

UT: I do not know, old friend. It is good that we stand side by side.

You get the picture. They're about the only ones who seem to question where they are, but all they know is that they must fight together against total strangers. Primis Richtofen seems to believe it is a delusion, yet he is still troubled by not knowing just what is going on.

 

So why ARE they there? Let's listen to a very late addition to Blackout, the Pentagon Thief, explain how he sees this world:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlsAcJAqN-0

 

Some standouts: 

Quote

"This place, it must be a nexus. A great many paths cross here."

Quote

"I feel like I have been here before. Or maybe will have going to have been here before."

Quote

"What, little witch? What is it you want to show me here?"

Quote

"Is this past? Present? Future?"

Quote

"How am I here? Gersh? Is this your doing?"

Quote

"This... this is not the Pentagon."

Apart from those, it is mostly Yuri lamenting Samantha in his head. Samantha actually does have a connection to Blackout. When stepping outside the circle in-game, you will begin to slowly die and start to see images on your screen, including one of Samantha. @caljitsu theorized this may be a combination of Nova 6 and 115, adding a further connection to Nightmares... but for now, that is besides the point. 115 is present, and connecting your mind with Samantha. With the Aether. Is this how the zombies on the map itself came to be? They have orange eyes after all. It's also got the mystery box, and a wall-buy for the Ray Gun Mk 2 in Buried.

 

In terms of familiar locations, we've got Verruckt, a place we've seen the Archetypes, we've got Nuketown, the Diner from TranZit, the entire underground section of Buried, and the lighthouse from Call of the Dead, all located in California (Confirmed by road signs.) Were they temporally displaced here? Or are they a facade for this war games scenario?

 

If Blackout is actually a simulation, based on a real life location, could Savannah have "created" the Aether cast specifically for this program? Are they based on the real-life characters, which she is somehow aware of? Are they... Archetypes? Cloning is in the Aether storyline, so it's not that far-fetched.

 

What is far-fetched is the inclusion of characters like the Cosmic Silverback, M. Shadows, The Replacer, the Chaos crew, and... Captain Price? What makes this location a "nexus", as Yuri calls it? Why do seemingly all these souls converge into one place, which seems to possibly be in the Campaign Universe, if this truly is Project Blackout? Is it real or a simulation?

 

Is it all just a game?! ... The answer is yes...

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Love this stuff, Rad. Very fascinating. There's also some quotes for each character that you get after a win, I remember one from Primis Richtofen where he exclaims that the future has changed.

 

There is quite a few more connections, for instance the map Arsenal which is a military contractor that is seemingly planning project Blackout, has a 935 diagram of the MPD sitting around.

 

I think the most interesting thing about them wholly combining all these modes is that in theory they're all in the same 'multiverse'- so the Tag ending would have effects on everything. Tag resets the multiverse, which might cause both Campaign and Zombies to have a... reboot? Modern Warfare just had a reboot so it'd make sense for Black Ops to do the same, and all this groundwork would also make it much more natural if the Campaign realm were ever to cross over to Zombies, as it seems it might in the next game.

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Amazing, didn't know about this all: Brains!

 

A simulation within the universe, a gane within a game. Some of those quotes remind me a bit of Black Ops III's Nuketown, which always came over to me like some kind of simulation as well. Also that Woods programming Mason again is insanely sad. I mean, why always Mason?

22 minutes ago, KronoriumExcerptB said:

There is quite a few more connections, for instance the map Arsenal which is a military contractor that is seemingly planning project Blackout, has a 935 diagram of the MPD sitting around.

935 possibly behind this? As far as we know, Group 935 was technologically the most advanced in the Agonia fracture, which is also the fracture where Broken Arrow showed Maxis their motto: "To open up new world". We've got a Die Glocke research that explores space-time here and a mysteriously disappeared Maxis as well. However, if it would truly be Maxis or Group 935 behind Blackout, how and why would he include all those Campaign characters who age from an era after Maxis, some even from the future. My guess: it is Broken Arrow. Or perhaps a joint cooperation with Maxis or some other from Group 935. Maxis took the DNA of the zombies characters, Broken Arrow of the Campaign. Who knows it has to do with the Nacht loading screen, where we can see countless characters sitting behind computers, seemingly in some kind of trance.

F9cpejARXyMmwVRkWKWrUPE6FY570KJT3wZkqSRhuBQ.jpg

Perhaps they are connected to a hub, which connects their thoughts into one sole simulation where they fight each other. Could be where that nexus quote is about.

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49 minutes ago, anonymous said:

Amazing, didn't know about this all: Brains!

 

A simulation within the universe, a gane within a game. Some of those quotes remind me a bit of Black Ops III's Nuketown, which always came over to me like some kind of simulation as well. Also that Woods programming Mason again is insanely sad. I mean, why always Mason?

935 possibly behind this? As far as we know, Group 935 was technologically the most advanced in the Agonia fracture, which is also the fracture where Broken Arrow showed Maxis their motto: "To open up new world". We've got a Die Glocke research that explores space-time here and a mysteriously disappeared Maxis as well. However, if it would truly be Maxis or Group 935 behind Blackout, how and why would he include all those Campaign characters who age from an era after Maxis, some even from the future. My guess: it is Broken Arrow. Or perhaps a joint cooperation with Maxis or some other from Group 935. Maxis took the DNA of the zombies characters, Broken Arrow of the Campaign. Who knows it has to do with the Nacht loading screen, where we can see countless characters sitting behind computers, seemingly in some kind of trance.

F9cpejARXyMmwVRkWKWrUPE6FY570KJT3wZkqSRhuBQ.jpg

Perhaps they are connected to a hub, which connects their thoughts into one sole simulation where they fight each other. Could be where that nexus quote is about.

 To be clear, I don't think it is 935 doing this, as all the evidence suggests it's an American/CIA project. But they've got their hands on some 935 stuff is what I was trying to say.  

 

 

Also there is 100% time travel involved, as Blackout itself seems to take place in the 70s.

 

5c1b6eaafa99135f.png

 

 

"Approved 02-12-1970" This is in one of the hangars and is also referenced in some of the Spec HQ intel. There is also an ID somewhere around the Blackout map of a guy that works for the Pentagon specifically in Project Blackout and it's dated in the 70s. Gas also priced at $0.36 in the Blackout map, which is exactly the price in 1970. There is a newspaper in Blackout talking about a potential Vietnam peace proposal, which also fits with 1970. Zero has multiple quotes where she complains about the map being in the dark ages technologically.

 

 

So Blackout is clearly meant to take place in 1970, but there's still a lot of questions of just how that works, given that most of these MP characters weren't even alive back then.

 

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1 hour ago, KronoriumExcerptB said:

I think the most interesting thing about them wholly combining all these modes is that in theory they're all in the same 'multiverse'- so the Tag ending would have effects on everything. Tag resets the multiverse, which might cause both Campaign and Zombies to have a... reboot? Modern Warfare just had a reboot so it'd make sense for Black Ops to do the same, and all this groundwork would also make it much more natural if the Campaign realm were ever to cross over to Zombies, as it seems it might in the next game.

Certain leaks suggest the next game will be a Black Ops reboot with new actors and a new story based in Vietnam... so this would actually be a good explanation. I'm pretty against the idea of a reboot so soon, but this would dampen the blow a little.

 

17 minutes ago, KronoriumExcerptB said:

 

Also there is 100% time travel involved, as Blackout itself seems to take place in the 70s.

 

5c1b6eaafa99135f.png

 

 

"Approved 02-12-1970" This is in one of the hangars and is also referenced in some of the Spec HQ intel. There is also an ID somewhere around the Blackout map of a guy that works for the Pentagon specifically in Project Blackout and it's dated in the 70s. Gas also priced at $0.36 in the Blackout map, which is exactly the price in 1970. There is a newspaper in Blackout talking about a potential Vietnam peace proposal, which also fits with 1970. Zero has multiple quotes where she complains about the map being in the dark ages technologically.

 

 

 

 

I had no idea about any of this. At first I assumed that it was a mistake, but your evidence is solid. I think this would lend further credence to the theory that Blackout is a simulation, due to all the modern weapons and vehicles scattered around, however, the characters in this simulation are "real" in some capacity. They are lucid, and they maintain their memories and form self-aware thoughts. We see similar simulated training with DNI all over Black Ops III, with other real-world people being able to interact with you in the simulated memories, and people in those memories responding naturally to you. 

 

Still, if it is a simulation, why would that Seraph document even need to be in it? And why would it be stamped with a 1970 date if it is a real-world document? It would be some serious mind-fuckery, but perhaps Broken Arrow truly did find out how to open new worlds, and reached across the metaphorical aisle to take the greatest fighters and pit them against each other and test... something? What does it all accomplish? Also why M. Shadows?

 

It's all a bit silly, but cool to think about.

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On 3/21/2020 at 6:54 PM, KronoriumExcerptB said:

 To be clear, I don't think it is 935 doing this, as all the evidence suggests it's an American/CIA project. But they've got their hands on some 935 stuff is what I was trying to say.  

 

 

Also there is 100% time travel involved, as Blackout itself seems to take place in the 70s.

 

5c1b6eaafa99135f.png

 

 

"Approved 02-12-1970" This is in one of the hangars and is also referenced in some of the Spec HQ intel. There is also an ID somewhere around the Blackout map of a guy that works for the Pentagon specifically in Project Blackout and it's dated in the 70s. Gas also priced at $0.36 in the Blackout map, which is exactly the price in 1970. There is a newspaper in Blackout talking about a potential Vietnam peace proposal, which also fits with 1970. Zero has multiple quotes where she complains about the map being in the dark ages technologically.

 

 

So Blackout is clearly meant to take place in 1970, but there's still a lot of questions of just how that works, given that most of these MP characters weren't even alive back then.

 

Blackout isn't in the 70s. Archetypes are being utilised.

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I took another listen to all the intel, and while I'm still confused on just what these Archetypes are and what the hell is going on, there are three instances of number sequences just like the ones heard in Black Ops. These sequences can be decoded in some way using the book Profiles in Courage by JFK, just as the codes in Black Ops were. The problem is, these are Ascension codes, which don't seem to telegraph what excerpt from the book to use as the encryption key. I'll share the codes and their context here to future reference, and maybe someday they will be solved.

 

EDIT: @RichKiller brought the solutions to my attention, so I've added them.

 

1. In the intel piece "The Running Woman", the specialist Battery and Ruin are talking, seemingly about a game of Blackout? Here is the transcript:

 

Quote

Battery: They're dropping like flies...

Ruin: The fuck is going on... When did you last see Wilkes? Or that psycho, Cristoph?

Battery: People are actually dying out there in the zone. For real.

Ruin: Well that ain't gonna be us.

Battery: I feel you, Walsh. One minute I think I'm on top of this, and then it feels like... I'm in a dream. Ascend. From. Darkness. I keep seeing... shapes.

Ruin: No, they're not shapes. They're numbers. You're seeing fucking numbers

The description for this intel reads: 

Quote

Ascension 2 12 21 19 11 15 17 15 19 19 3

According to Richkiller this simply decrypts to "ARCHETYPES".

 

2. In the intel piece "Mason's Ladder", Woods is attempting to either brainwash or fix Mason's mind by reading off a numbers sequence:

 

Quote

Woods: Ascension 7 21 14 20 4 0 5 4 20. (DECODED: SAVANNAH)

Mason: (moaning sounds with the numbers) ... His sister.

Woods: No, you're still in the box, Mason. Her sister.

Mason (With Woods alongside him): 2 1 14 (DECODED: CIA) Archetype...

Woods: Yeah... Both of us. Mason? Mason! Come back, focus. Where are you right now?

Mason: Oh... they, they're everywhere... they're everywhere! Woods?! Woods, incoming! Incoming! Woods, I need ammo! Woods! ... They're not... human! They're not hu-

Woods: Not human, that is the whole point. 16 6 12 14 11 22 6 (DECODED: ZOMBIES). Courage, baby. Profiles. You got this.

Mason: They're not monsters...

Woods: You see what they want you to see, man. Easier to kill.

Mason: Frank... Frank...

Woods: I am right here, buddy. I am right here.

Mason: GET ME OUT OF HERE!

 So here Woods DIRECTLY mentions Profiles in Courage. Could the rest of his words be a hint to where the key lies in the book?

 

It's also worth noting that Woods says these are Reznov's numbers. Perhaps even the same ones he used to brainwash him to kill Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner.

Quote

Woods: Yeah, I brought him back. Using your fucking numbers.

Reznov: My numbers? ... No longer...

Woods: Alright, he's in here. You ready?

Reznov: Da.

Woods: Mason!

Mason: Yeah? This better be goddamn good, because you woke me up.

Woods: Mason! You look like hammered shit!

Mason: It's all in your mind, Woods. ... Reznov? Oh.... FUCK! NO!

Woods: Mason! Mason! Mason! Stop! He's real! He's right here! He made it out of Vorkuta! I want you to look at him. Mason, look at him!

Reznov: It is me, comrade.

Mason: Reznov? Frank? What the fuck?

Woods: Yeah, Al. He was the first.

Mason: The first what?

Woods: The first... Archetype.

Based on all the brainwashing, it looks like Woods is trying to convince Mason that the two of their roles were reversed. He wants to convince Mason that it was he who was in the box in Angola. He puts him in the same robes and wheelchair that Woods wore when he retired. In this intel they exchange quotes that the other made (Originally Mason says "Woods! You look like hammered shit!" and Woods tells Mason, "It's all in your mind, Mason.") Why he would do this, I don't know.

 

3. The final numbers sequence plays in the background of the final piece of intel, a conversation between Raul Menendez and Savannah Mason-Meyer:

 

Quote

Savannah: They will all be taken care of by nightfall.

Raul: Excellent. This whole incident was... merely an oversight. Project Blackout is thriving... Sites are under construction all over the world. (Numbers begin playing)

Savannah: Josef-... Jessica's death was not in vain.

Raul: Our work will turn the tide against the crimson cancer. Your vision of a better world is upon us.

Savannah: Oh my god, no. No. Not my vision. It. Never. Was.

Raul: This was all you... I don't understand... If... if not yours... we've been... we've been... We've been working towards this common goal together... This has been... It was always your vision.

Savannah: You figure it out.

 

Okay so off the bat, Savannah almost says Josefina's death was not in vain. Josefina being Menendez's sister who was killed when Mason and Woods arrived in Panama. She is the reason for his need for revenge. Instead, Savannah shifts into saying that Jessica's death was not in vain, her sister who she betrayed after she tried to expose Savannah's work. Does this Raul know what happened to Josefina?

 

The number sequence that plays in the background is this:

 

Quote

Ascension 3 12 5 21 3 0 25 16 5 18 12 20 11 18 17 24 14 0 6 7 11 4 4 24 5 1

Here is all the intel if you want to give it a listen. I'm so confused yet so intrigued. What's the story here? 

 

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6 hours ago, RadZakpak said:

I took another listen to all the intel, and while I'm still confused on just what these Archetypes are and what the hell is going on, there are three instances of number sequences just like the ones heard in Black Ops. These sequences can be decoded in some way using the book Profiles in Courage by JFK, just as the codes in Black Ops were. The problem is, these are Ascension codes, which don't seem to telegraph what excerpt from the book to use as the encryption key. I'll share the codes and their context here to future reference, and maybe someday they will be solved.

 

EDIT: @RichKiller brought the solutions to my attention, so I've added them.

 

1. In the intel piece "The Running Woman", the specialist Battery and Ruin are talking, seemingly about a game of Blackout? Here is the transcript:

 

The description for this intel reads: 

According to Richkiller this simply decrypts to "ARCHETYPES".

 

2. In the intel piece "Mason's Ladder", Woods is attempting to either brainwash or fix Mason's mind by reading off a numbers sequence:

 

 So here Woods DIRECTLY mentions Profiles in Courage. Could the rest of his words be a hint to where the key lies in the book?

 

It's also worth noting that Woods says these are Reznov's numbers. Perhaps even the same ones he used to brainwash him to kill Dragovich, Kravchenko, and Steiner.

Based on all the brainwashing, it looks like Woods is trying to convince Mason that the two of their roles were reversed. He wants to convince Mason that it was he who was in the box in Angola. He puts him in the same robes and wheelchair that Woods wore when he retired. In this intel they exchange quotes that the other made (Originally Mason says "Woods! You look like hammered shit!" and Woods tells Mason, "It's all in your mind, Mason.") Why he would do this, I don't know.

 

3. The final numbers sequence plays in the background of the final piece of intel, a conversation between Raul Menendez and Savannah Mason-Meyer:

 

Okay so off the bat, Savannah almost says Josefina's death was not in vain. Josefina being Menendez's sister who was killed when Mason and Woods arrived in Panama. She is the reason for his need for revenge. Instead, Savannah shifts into saying that Jessica's death was not in vain, her sister who she betrayed after she tried to expose Savannah's work. Does this Raul know what happened to Josefina?

 

The number sequence that plays in the background is this:

 

Here is all the intel if you want to give it a listen. I'm so confused yet so intrigued. What's the story here? 

 

The LOCATIONTEXAS translation is interesting, due to a certain BO4 multiplayer map. 

 

Arsenal takes place in Texas, and is home to Diaysler, a major weapons contractor for the U.S Government for the last 100 years, designing some of the killstreaks dating back to BO1. You can find multiple documents from the CIA on the map.

 

In the middle of the map, they are testing the Blackout helicopter and on the whiteboards you can read about some of their trials for Project Blackout. "Identify what is causing failure at this point" and "Minimal effectiveness w/ prolonged exposure" referring to how the helicopters in blackout begin to fail when they are inside the collapse. 

 

 

You can find several containers marked with "6" suggesting that Nova 6 is at least partially what is used in the collapse.

 

 

And, most interestingly, the blueprint of Griffin Station can be found on the map.

image.png

 

 

 

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