Thus far, Treyarch has had a bit of a tough time getting fans invested in the Dark Aether story. The often-overused concept of Russia vs. America that was seen in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was not for everyone, and while the Dark Aether entities of Call of Duty: Vanguard are interesting, the mode's gameplay has been so unpopular that few have paid attention to the narrative. However, the release of Call of Duty: Vanguard’s first round-based map has gotten fans talking again.


While many are happy to see a traditional survival map in Call of Duty: Vanguard, others are stunned by the big plot twist within Shi No Numa Reborn. In one of the map’s radios, Gabriel Krafft name-drops Scarlett Rhodes’ father Alistair. If that was not enough, the Sentinel Artifact appears at the end of the quest, a key item from the Chaos story. For a few reasons, Treyarch’s decision to tie the Chaos story and the Dark Aether story together is a game changer that could get fans more invested in both plots.

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The Chaos Story Was Standalone Before Call of Duty: Vanguard

Anyone familiar with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies will remember that the Chaos narrative was kept entirely separate from the Aether timeline. This was understandable, as there were different rules within the Chaos universe. Prima Materia was a stand-in for 115, for example, while the Chaos story as a whole focused heavily on mythology. Treyarch did not pull its punches with this aspect of its new narrative, either, as players fought Odin’s eye and learned that Medusa was the narrative’s main villain.

How exactly Treyarch plans to justify this different tone and the mythological focus within the Dark Aether universe is entirely unclear. Perhaps figures like Medusa could be retconned into Dark Aether entities, or perhaps Treyarch could be opening up the concept of a multiverse once again. While this certainly got a bit messy with the Aether narrative, other universes could be a good way to explain these story differences.Though there is always a chance this is just a different version of Alistair Rhodes, much like how Eddie is different from Richtofen, the sudden decision to bring back elements like Sentinel artifacts seems more deliberate.

Treyarch Can Finally Give Closure To Chaos Story Fans

While it could prove difficult to canonize the Chaos story, the fact that it is actually happening is thrilling. This narrative allowed Treyarch to do things it simply could not do in a more grounded story like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s, and fights with mythological creatures like werewolves were a nice change of pace. Unique locations like Ancient Greece were a joy to experience, and weapons like the Primordial Hands were fun to wield. Through the return of the Chaos story, more unique maps could be seen again.

However, the true reason why this shocking use of Chaos elements is promising is the fact that fans can finally have some closure. Based on past leaks, two more maps for the Chaos Story were meant to be released, so Ancient Evil featured a cliffhanger. However, those final maps never came, as Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies as a whole was unpopular and Treyarch needed to shift its resources to focus on the development of Black Ops Cold War. This left Shaw and Bruno mind controlled, Scarlett’s fate up in the air, Alistair seemingly dead, and Diego all on his own.

While fans should not be expecting to control the Chaos crew again, especially not in Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies, Treyarch could be laying the groundwork for their potential return. A standalone Call of Duty Zombies game is rumored, after all, and it could be a perfect place to finally cap off the Chaos story. At the very least, fans could learn what happened to the Chaos crew through hidden radios and documents, getting a proper ending for a story that never seemed like it would actually get one. While it is odd to fuse the Chaos story and the Dark Aether narrative together, it is better than leaving the former unfinished.

Call of Duty: Vanguard is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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