Black Ops 2 Vs Sci-Fi

Dave Cook


We take a closer look at that Black Ops 2 trailer to find out how classic sci-fi has inspired the next Call Of Duty.

Published on May 16, 2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 got a rather ace trailer this month, showing off a new breed of insane future combat. But it was also rammed full of sly nods to sci-fi culture. Join us as we geek out on the sci-fi movie references.

Blade Runner

At the start of the trailer, you can see a futuristic aircraft docking at what appears to be a UN building – hence all of the flags outside – and over the top you can hear a synth soundtrack that smacks of Blade Runner.

It’s a cool little synth riff, but as Black Ops 2 is set just over ten years from now, the tune and scene in the trailer are perhaps a bit too sci-fi. After all, we’re still miles off from Ridley Scott’s grim depiction of Los Angeles – and that film was set in 2019 too.

Ghost in the Shell

CLAW mechs. They seem a tad slow, but come armed with a shed load of guns. Count them – Rail gun, minigun, grenade launchers and what looks like a scoped anti-aircraft rifle. Overkill much?

The CLAW isn’t too far removed from the Taichkoma tanks as seen in Ghost in the Shell. To be fair though, the Taichkomas are much, much cooler than the CLAW, which looks slow and clumsy by comparison. Plus, the Ghost in the Shell tanks could use stealth cloaks, and jump around like a spider, making them much more mobile. The CLAW looks like a broken shopping trolley by comparison. 

Minority Report

In the space of a few seconds we see the wrist computer of Black Ops 2 protagonist David Mason, and a projected image of downtown Los Angeles, full of HUD markers and other data. This is the kind of projected user interface that sci-fi fans love to trace back to Minority Report, but without the Kinect motion control options.

Total Recall

This one is blatant, as we see a man clutching a concealed gun walking behind a x-ray-ish surveillance screen. The screen highlights his gun in red, alerting security to the potential threat.

There’s no denying that this tech has been ripped right out of Total Recall, and the scene where Quaid walks past an x-ray scanner, only to have his concealed gun flash up red on the display.

Terminator: Salvation

The trailer starts talking about robots and unmanned armies, cut to imagery that smacks of Terminator: Salvation, which is also set in – you guessed it – Los Angeles.

In Terminator: Salvation, Los Angeles is a smouldering wreck of a city, and many scenes in the Black Ops 2 trailer show the downtown area in ruins, with tons of robots and drones running amok. It’s a similar premise, and set the same location.

Battle: Los Angeles

In this part of the Black Ops 2 trailer, you can see downtown Los Angeles getting absolutely battered by rockets, drones and other robotic enemies, which is quite a lot like Battle: Los Angeles.

You can even take a still of the Black Ops trailer and Battle: Los Angeles, put them side by side and play spot the difference. 

While the film dealt with an alien invasion, Black Ops 2 is about the hijacking of an unmanned drone army, so they are different, but either way, LA gets absolutely humped. Three cheers for mindless destruction.


This sort of makes sense when you see the special operations unit rushing around the Los Angeles streets in the Black Ops 2 trailer. These guys are armed to the teeth, sporting badass tattoos, hulking rifles and lethal levels of testosterone. But they’re also fighting a hive mind enemy without emotion, fear and in massive, swarming numbers.

This is sort of the basis of Aliens, in which a crew of brash, over-confident colonial marines descend to a planet in search of missing colonists who have fallen silent. They are arrogant and believe they are going to pull off their mission with ease. Then the aliens show up and kill most of them. It’s like Vietnam but in the future.

The Terminator

OK, so this is a daft one to close on, but that cop’s roll is pure T-1000 from Terminator 2, and there’s no way that the film was an influence on Black Ops. We doubt he’s getting back up from that one though.



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