There are multiple endings in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, but all of them leave players with unanswered questions. Players can get a “good” and “bad” ending, as well as a “worst” ending. All of the Black Ops Cold War conclusions could use some explanation, especially since the game fits into the series as both a sequel and a prequel.
We’ll cover how to get the good, bad, and worst endings in Black Ops Cold War below. We’ll also break each ending down and explain what it means for this game’s story and the series as a whole.
Before we break down each ending, here’s how to unlock each of them:
- Good Ending: Reveal the truth in “Identity Crisis.”
- Bad Ending: Lie to Adler in “Identity Crisis” and use the radio behind the locked gate in the safe house.
- Worst Ending: Lie to Adler, but don’t use the radio in the safe house.
How to get the “Good” Ending in Black Ops Cold War
To get the Good Ending, players must reveal the truth in “Identity Crisis” by telling Adler that Perseus is at Solovetsky Monastery. The team then leads an assault against the facility and destroys the radio towers, preventing Perseus from setting off the Project: Greenlight nukes. After accomplishing the missions, Adler speaks with Bell on a cliff overlooking the sea. Adler calls Bell a hero and asks them for one last sacrifice before pulling his pistol. However, expecting the betrayal, Bell also draws their firearm. The scene ends before we can see the outcome.
Since Bell and Adler aren’t seen in later Black Ops games, it can be assumed that either they kill each other or that Bell shoots Adler and disappears. However, Black Ops Cold War may be a soft reboot, serving as a divergence point for future entries. If that’s the case, there’s no way of inferring what happens between Adler and Bell at the conclusion of the good ending.
On a broader scope, the good ending means that the status quo has been maintained. The Project: Greenlight nukes were prevented from detonating, and the Cold War continues to be cold. The Soviets disavow any connections with Perseus, and the organization faces significant setbacks. The CIA continues its pursuit of Perseus, but it is now in hiding.
How to get the “Bad” ending in Black Ops Cold War
By lying to Adler in “Identity Crisis,” and telling him that Perseus is in Duga, players begin the path to the bad ending. However, to get this ending, players must have previously opened the locked gate in the safe house. If they’ve done so, a countdown timer will begin after Adler takes off Bell’s restraints. Players must get to the radio in the area behind the gate and contact Soviet forces to tip them off about the impending CIA operation at Duga.
When Bell and the CIA team arrives at the Duga radar installation, they find no sign of Perseus or Soviet forces. However, players will get a dialog option to signal the Soviet ambush. After that, Bell must kill their former teammates and finally charge into the building and finish off Adler.
After the CIA agents are taken care of, “Perseus” reveals that there is no individual that goes by that name. Instead, Perseus is the name of a group of like-minded individuals. Perseus sets off the Project: Greenlight bombs, which engulf Europe in nuclear fire. The United States takes the blame and is shunned by the free world. This changes the world dynamic from being split between two superpowers to the Soviet Union being the dominant political force on Earth. Perseus continues to watch from the shadows, ready to replace the leaders of the Soviet Union if need be.
This non-canon ending is terrible for the Western world, but it’s what Bell originally wanted. Presumably, in the wake of this ending, the Warsaw pack takes over Europe under the guise of helping them rebuild, and the United States is politically isolated.
How to get the Worst ending in Black Ops Cold War
Getting the worst ending requires almost the same actions as the bad ending. However, after lying to Adler and saying Perseus is in Duga, don’t use the radio behind the safe house gate. Instead, proceed to Duga, and Adler will confront Bell. Bell is helpless with no Soviet reinforcements to back them up, and Adler shoots them out of anger.
Europe still burns when Perseus detonates the nukes. The only difference between the bad and the worst ending is that Bell isn’t around to enjoy it and the CIA team is still alive.