Our beloved Captain Price is heading to Modern Warfare as an operator in multiplayer, but is his legacy a fabrication due to one missed bullet?
John Price is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s main protagonist. Throughout the Modern Warfare sub-franchise, brought to us by Infinity Ward, the campaigns have seen some amazing characters come and go, but one has remained consistent throughout - Captain Price.
Since his first day, his partners and comrades of Task Force 141 have added many trials and tribulations to Captain Prices story. But with many of them now fallen to the hands of antagonists Makarov and Zakhaev, the story of a brilliant leader and charismatic hero rests on the regret of a 2-inch inaccuracy and a lifetime mission of vengeance.
We are first introduced to Captain Price in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (CoD: 4) in the mission ‘F.N.G’, where he recruits then-sergeant ‘Soap’ MacTavish’. But Price’s storyline begins much earlier than that and is portrayed in arguable the best mission of Call of Duty history, All Ghillied Up. CoD veterans will know this as the ultimate stealth and sniping mission, but this mission is the foundation for the entire Modern Warfare storyline.
All Ghillied Up is set 15 years prior to the storyline set in Call of Duty: 4, in 1996, where Price is still under the mentorship of Captain MacMillan. Sweeping through the wastelands of Chernobyl, the pair weave through long grass, duck under tanks and take out full military teams with their snipers, in order to scale a 40-story building to gain a vantage point for an assassination. The man on the receiving end is Imran Zakhaev, who is the main antagonist throughout CoD: 4. After Price and MacMillan set up their vantage point, Zakhaev turns up to his trade of Uranium for nuclear weapons, you, playing as Price, take the shot. The snipe takes Zakhaev’s arm, just a few inches from a fatal wound to the chest, and the pair battle off into the distance thinking it was mission complete.
However, the narrow miss was not the end of the Russian Ultranationalist, as he stumbles into a van with predecessor Makarov and then-ultranationalist Yuri. Zakhaev survived the shot and sparked the wars which would proceed in the Modern Warfare campaigns.
We all fell head over heels for Captain Price throughout CoD: 4 and the rest of the Modern Warfare storyline, as his bonds with Soap, Ghost, Roach, Sandman, Gaz, and Yuri showed that not only was this man a true war hero, he was a brother too. The typical Hollywood war-film protagonist that fanbases idolise. And we all do.
But over the course of CoD 4, MW2 and MW3, Captain Price ends up with a lot of blood on his hands due to the failed assassination, and his brotherly bonds are filled with regret, especially when they all fall.
One of those comrades is Soap. When the two meet in F.G.T, Price instantly mocks his nickname and lays down the law of who’s boss.
“"Right… What the hell kind of name is Soap, eh? How'd a muppet like you pass Selection?"
However, Price and Soap form a duo that stays together through all three campaigns, saving each other’s lives on multiple occasions. The pair team up with Task Force 141, and hunt Zakhaev down during CoD 4, where they were destined to be killed by the Russian, after the bridge they were chasing him on was blown up by an aircraft. As the lay heavily wounded on the floor, Price slid Soap his pistol, and the rest is history. As Soap kills off Zakhaev for good, CoD 4 ends with Captain Price seemingly dead.
In Modern Warfare 2, we found this was not the case, as Soap rescues Prisoner #627 from the ‘Gulag’, which turns out to be Price. After being captured by Makarov and the Russian Ultranationalists, Price was sent to rot in the Gulag, until Soap rescued him three years later. With business back to usual, Zakhaev’s plan had been passed to Makarov, who was raining hell on earth, and the united team advanced to take him out, finally tracking him to a safe house on the outskirts of Moscow. With the team securing vital intel, Roach and Ghost retreated to an evacuation point, where you all know the rest. A bullet from Shepherd to each of them saw two of Price’s closest friend’s dead, in a war which could have been avoided should Zakhaev have been killed 18 years back.
With Makarov escaping, World War Three broke out in MW3. Price’s squad was down to three, and himself, Soap and Yuri had tracked down Makarov to Hotel Lustig in Prague. In another assassination attempt gone wrong, Makarov learnt of the plan to kill him, and rigged the meeting as an ambush, setting explosives to kill both Soap and Yuri, both of whom tumbled 40-or-so feet from a window, leaving Soap in a critical state. Yuri and Price battle through the streets of Prague dragging Soap on their shoulders, to lay him down on a table, ultimately to pass away. For the first time in the three instalments of Modern Warfare Captain Price loses control and breaks down, returning the pistol that saved their lives back to Soap, as a sign of repentance to his fallen brother. Prices dearest friend was dead, and the Russian Ultranationalists that he should have destroyed claimed another of his squad.
The end of MW3 saw Captain Price and Yuri save the world from the Russian threat, but Price’s story wasn’t over. Even though he was a decorated soldier and saved the planet, his only remaining thought was to end Makarov and cure his seething lust for vengeance. Finally tracking Makarov down to a hotel, the race began to kill him, as Price and his new protégé Yuri turned up in Juggernaut suits. Chasing the Russian to a helipad on the roof, Price brings down the helicopter that was evacuating Makarov, crashing it back onto the roof, which they both survived. In a race to a single pistol, Makarov wins and aims down the barrel at price, until Yuri put a bullet in his side, and is turned on and killed. Price’s final teammate had died, and all because on a bullet that was a couple of inches off back in All Ghillied Up.
Price ultimately smashes Makarov through the ceiling, with a wire around his neck to kill him. As the campaign finishes, Price lights a cigar and can only be assumed to reflect on his fallen brothers, concluding the sad story of Captain Price and his failed assassination.
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Image via Activision