It’s no surprise that there are some ruthless characters in the Call of Duty series. After all, the franchise is built upon men and women in warfare, with a constant need to kill others for their survival. However, despite the surrounding death in Call of Duty, some take it further beyond a sense of their job and seem enthralled by rage, betrayal, or zombie experiments.
Considering that Call of Duty has had many iterations over the years, spanning past, current, and future wars, it is no surprise that the franchise has managed to produce some dangerous and ruthless characters.
8/8 General Shepherd
As an officer in the United States Army, General Shepherd should be the first to put his country before himself. However, in a shocking twist in Modern Warfare 2, Shepherd revealed himself as the architect of World War 3. For Shepherd, the only way to peace was through war, and Shepherd saw World War 3 as the perfect opportunity for a new world.
Shepherd is a ruthless character for his treatment of what should be his soldiers. Shepherd kills Roach and the iconic Call of Duty character Ghost, making him entirely unforgivable to fans of the franchise. Shepherd saw himself as a war hero and didn’t care how many friends he had to kill to get to his goals.
7/8 Frank Woods
Frank Woods has seen many wars in his youth. He was a trained Marine and a member of the CIA. Frank Woods needs to be ruthless to survive the harshness of being a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He is a man of sheer resilience and one of the leading characters in Black Ops. He’s appeared in most of the Black Ops titles for good reason, that being his ruthless charm and talent for warfare.
On top of being charismatic, Woods has shown how efficient a warrior he is throughout the games. Even as an old man, that charm never leaves his side. He may be a supporting character in the series, but he’s the best bud of Alex Mason, with plenty of kills under his bandana.
When players have introduced to Simon “Ghost” Riley in Modern Warfare 2, they were immediately enthralled by his mystique. The character never reveals his face and is mainly referred to as just Ghost. Ghost is a crucial member of Task Force 141 and has killed many foes of the United States alongside his brothers in arms. Ghost is someone the player wants on their team, as it is best to be with the hunter than the hunted.
Ghost puts his soldiers and the western world before himself and will eagerly run into the line of fire if it means the safety of someone else. He is a heroic character that recently saw new life in the Modern Warfare2 reboot (2022), with hopefully a longer career than his original counterpart.
5/8 Raul Menendez
As another antagonist in the Black Ops series, Raul Menendez wasted no time in showing players just how ruthless he is. One of the first times that players get to see what Menendez is capable of is when he singlehandedly kills many members of the CIA’s infiltration team with nothing but a machete and the sight of red.
Menendez is a sworn enemy to many that have heard his name. He is a drug lord and terrorist, and one that launched an attack against the United States of America, one that the world had never seen before. He is fuelled entirely by revenge for his family and his hatred for America. Menendez’s ruthlessness should not be understated.
4/8 Vladimir Makarov
Cunningness is one of Makarov’s greatest attributes and one that assists in his ruthlessness to bring the western world to its knees. Makarov has a great many speeches in the Modern Warfare franchise, and they are all equally chilling, thanks in part to the cold and emotionless delivery. Makarov is the leader of a terrorist cell and the mastermind behind World War 3.
Without Makarov, the Modern Warfare series would not have a lead antagonist. His ruthlessness extends past his strategy or allegiances, and he will kill anyone that is in the way of his grand plan. Makarov has killed countless lives himself and orchestrated many more.
3/8 Captain Price
History is written by the victor, and for John Price, the victor must always be those that truly know what the right thing is. Captain Price and his great mustache lead Task Force 141 on their eternal mission for world peace. Price is not afraid to get his hands dirty and will lead his squad in any mission they embark on, as he would not risk the lives of his men if he was not willing to do so himself.
As a veteran of warfare, Captain Price knows the toll of combat and exhibits intense ruthlessness against his enemies. Price isn’t afraid to use dirty tactics or threaten those he sees as allies to achieve what must be done for the greater good. His ruthlessness also extends to launching a nuclear bomb in the United States to create an EMP cloud, to give America a fighting chance against invaders.
2/8 Viktor Reznov
His name is Viktor Reznov, and he will have his revenge. Reznov was a Soviet squad leader during World War 2, and his valiant efforts led to the fall of Berlin. Reznov may be a hero to his country, but that is not without being brutal. He has had men burned to death and committed many acts of murder in the war efforts against the Nazis. His ruthlessness knows no bounds; even when imprisoned, he finds a way to exact revenge.
Reznov has the charisma of a leader, and a prisoner uprising begins with his words at Vorkuta. Here, Reznov helped Alex Mason escape back to America at the cost of his own life. However, his ruthlessness does not end in death, as he reprogrammed Mason’s brainwashing to kill Rezlov’s enemies.
1/8 Edward Richtofen
Zombies is a game mode that has been central to Call of Duty ever since World at War. The game mode is vastly enjoyable, solo or with friends, and even has some pretty good scares. The story can be pretty confusing, but the Ultimis version of Edward Richtofen deserves the spot for the most ruthless Call of Duty character.
Richtofen was a Nazi scientist and invested much of his time, sanity, and tests in element 115, creating an army of the undead. Richtofen is only loyal to himself and his waning sanity and sacrifices his teacher and said teacher’s daughter to further his goals of power and experimentation. Richtofen seeks vast power, even at the cost of blowing up the Earth.
MORE: Call Of Duty Games With The Best Zombies Modes