Oliver North is a controversial figure in American history, and his involvement in the Iran Contra affair makes him a patriot to some and a traitor to others. He’s managed to rehabilitate his image and he’s a regular on Fox News, but that doesn’t mean his involvement in the promotional video for Call of Duty: Black Ops II went unnoticed, and Treyarch’s Mark Lamia defended the decision as one of authenticity, not politics.
“When we create the fictions that we create, we do a bunch of research and try to talk to subject matter experts on it,” said Lamia. “Part of that research is reading and watching documentaries and movies and everything else. What can be a part of it is talking to people who’ve been through the experiences, people like Hank [Lt. Col. Keirsey, military adviser], and when you’re talking about doing something in the ’80s, black ops, when we were doing research in the conflicts that we were covering and everything else and some of our conflicts . . . in any event he rises to the top as someone who was probably, obviously the most well-known covert operations [person].”
“So it made sense for us from a game development point of view to spend the time and be able to talk to [him]. One of the things we do is we have these brushes with history in our Black Ops fiction. That’s a signature, I think, to the way we create our historical fiction. We set you up with that,” he added. “We put you in this place where it’s, ‘Ok, I’m in that part of history,’ and we have sort of that fiction we weave right through. Part of doing that has been and is getting a first-hand account whether that was last time in Black Ops, when we were highlighting parts of Vietnam, meeting with someone who was a real S.O.G. who did black operations in Vietnam and in this case with Lt. Col Oliver North.”
North had been involved with wet work operations during the ’80s, so Lamia said that made him a good person to try and go to. “We chose to take on that late ’80s time frame and when you think about that late ’80s time frame . . . you know, we’re not trying to put anyone on a pedestal,” said Lamia. “We’re trying to create our fiction as game developers, as creators. Choosing this person, somebody who has met with leaders, and has run black operations, and understands that was really valuable to have that sort of first-hand account from him… Even down to people who he’s met with in terms of understanding this is somebody who has sat at these tables.”