Is Captain Price Immortal?

Adam Rorke
Games Call of Duty
Games Call of Duty Xbox PC Gaming PlayStation

Any Call of Duty (CoD) fan knows the name Captain John Price. He’s synonymous with the series. Through many years and a thick Scottish accent, Price has mentored protagonists in crucial missions, turning the tide of battle in favour of the good guys.

Except it’s not quite years — it’s more like decades. As CoD has spanned multiple conflicts in multiple eras, it’s dragged Price along with it — and the logistics don’t reconcile with a normal human lifespan. It’s here that we start to look a little closer into Captain Price’s career to figure out some possible answers.

Captain Price stands holding a rifle.
The moustache is the last thing bad guys see.

The Price Is Wrong

We first see Price during the events of the very first Call of Duty, taking place during World War 2. Broadly this falls between the dates September 1st, 1939 and September 2nd 1945. Thankfully we can go deeper: Although his current age was unknown, his first mission is during the Seizure of Pegasus Bridge, which historically took place on the 6th of June 1944.

Shortly after this, he was active during the battle of Caen which historically takes place between June and August, 1944. Price’s age is unknown during these events, but for argument’s sake we can compare him to Lofty Wiseman, the youngest person to ever join the Regiment at 18. Price doesn’t appear 18 in the game, but we’ll generously assume he was that kid we all knew in school who grew a moustache before anyone else.

Captain Price's face during each appearance in the Call of Duty franchise.
Captain Price's many faces over the years.

Price supposedly met his death on October 27th, 1944, during the sabotage of the German Battleship Tirpitz. Playing through the eyes of Sgt. Evans, upon destroying the engines you see that Price appears KIA as he lies motionless on the floor of the engine room. Evans’ mission was still ongoing, so there was no time to check for vital signs and Price was left as he fell.

Fast forward to 1996 and we see a very familiar name and face — a face that should be elderly and fragile by now. Teaming up with Captain MacMillian is a Lieutenant named John Price, sporting many similar features to our World War 2 veteran. The official record as reported in CoD: Infinity War says Price born on the 1st of November 1953, ostensibly making him 43 during this mission. We know that the next three Modern Warfare games take place between the years 2011 and 2017, which makes Price 64 during his final appearance.

Captain Price looks very young despite supposedly being 64.
This guy is 64? Nah, this guy ain't 64.

Both John Prices appear too similar to be considered different people. Even for a 64-year old, the second Price appears to have discovered the fountain of youth with the looks and mobility of someone 30 years his younger. We can rule out being a Vampire, as he doesn’t burn to a crisp in the sun … or sparkle. It doesn’t seem likely he’s sold his soul to Satan if he defeats the world’s worst villains. But maybe there are more grounded explanations for his apparent mortality…

Wolverine, Is That You?

If we make a direct comparison from all five of his CoD appearances we can see that Price is definitely aging at a much slower rate than a normal human being.

Price also shows examples of incredible healing. Towards the end of Modern Warfare 2 we see Price and Soap face off against Shepherd in the final battle. During the mission, Soap is taken down with a bad case of knife-in-chest and Price and Shepherd fight to the death. Shepherd gets the upper hand and starts delivering what is quite possibly one of the worst beat downs ever seen. For over a minute, Price’s face copped more blows than any boxer would ever like to take over the course of their career.

Soap manages to save the day — but less than a minute later, Price regains consciousness, walks over to Soap, picks him up, and carries him to the rescue helicopter with barely a blemish on his face. That’s some Weapon X level healing.

Captain Price stands ready with a knife.
A spritely old Captain Price will still cut you if you think about acquiring uranium.

Exhibit C can be seen in the final moments of Modern Warfare 3. Price manages to jump and climb into a helicopter, take out the duo inside, and then crash into the ground where it subsequently blows up.

Price initially appears in bad shape, but it takes less than 60 seconds to regain his strength. He then strangles antagonist Makarov with his bare hands, choking him with cable and falling 30 feet on broken glass. After which, once again, he seems perfectly fine.

Sanctioned Super Soldiers

So was Price the result of the Allies experimenting on their own soldiers? It’s been well established that the Nazis experimented on their own men during World War 2, using concoctions of methamphetamines, steroids, and oxycodone to help make their soldiers fight longer, harder, and endure harsh conditions. What you may not have known is the Allies were experimenting with drugs of a very similar nature.

Another example of illegal and unethical human experiments sanctioned by the Allies was the infamous MKUltra. Run by the CIA, MKUltra was a set of programs with the eventual goal of controlling the minds of its human test subjects. This becomes more relevant as the program was officially sanctioned in 1953, the exact year that the second Price was supposedly born.

Or should we say, born again with a new set of memories?

Captain Price slides a pistol to the player.
After sustaining many wounds, Captain Price slides a pistol to you to finish the job.

The Price of Victory

Naturally you might be thinking, “If he’s such an amazing, immortal super soldier created by the government, then why don’t we see him in any of the future CoD games?”

For those who have played through the futuristic CoD games, the premise centres around the privatisation of warfare, and it’s here that we think we figured out the reason Price was no longer needed.

CoD: Advanced Warfare showcased a lot of new technology when it came to boosting soldiers in the field. Invisibility cloaks, AI controlled drones, nano-bots, biomechanical limbs, and exoskeleton suits that turn regular soldiers into incredibly powerful killing machines. If this were the case then an experiment like Price would be limited by the technology available at the time, only to be replaced by something newer and better.

If it’s two things we can derive from this theory it’s this. War … war never changes, and regardless of the theories, there’s something extremely special about Captain John Price.

Adam Rorke
Freelance Writer, lover of all things esports and proud member of the Australian FGC. Games critic of the days when you could remember every sound your modem made when it made its connection to the internet.