From Five Finger Death Punch to Call of Duty: How Zoltan Bathory became ‘Oz’ Operator

Zoltan Bathory MW2 and Warzone 2's Oz OperatorActivision / Zoltan Bathory

We had the opportunity to talk with Zoltan Bathory, founder and lead guitarist of heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch about his experience and appearance as the Operator ‘Oz’ in Call of Duty for Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone’s Season 5.

In the ever-evolving world of video games, the captivating transition of Zoltan Bathory, founder and lead guitarist of the popular band Five Finger Death Punch, became an enduring legacy in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 as the enigmatic Operator Oz.

Osmond ‘Oz’ Ryan is a new Operator from the KorTac faction who has arrived as part of the Season 5 Battle Pass. He’s a self-taught hacker and works alongside Phillip Graves working for Shadow Company’s General Sheperd.

How Zoltan joined Call of Duty

Bathory’s connection with Call of Duty and the subsequent creation of his in-game Operator can be likened to the meeting of opportunity and preparation. As he puts it, “I was in the right place at the right time… meant to be, kind of.”

He explained that his popularity in the music scene naturally led to this collaboration, as many devs from Call of Duty approached him to bring Oz to life. Also, Bathory’s involvement in the military and close-knit relationships with advisors eventually led to the creation of Oz.

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“My relationship with Call of Duty eventually kind of came from that channel. I’m really good friends with a lot of Call of Duty advisors… which often do photoshoots and video shoots for Call of Duty with devs. I happened to be there, my face made sense, I had the look, and we had this massive fanbase that overlapped, so it just made sense.“

Ana Vega Modern Warfare 2 WarzoneActivision
Ana Vega was released during MW2 and Warzone Season Four, as part of the “Vega Operator Bundle.”

Surprisingly, Bathory’s connection to the game doesn’t end with his own character. His girlfriend, Heather Grace Gracie, the granddaughter of Carlos Gracie, the founding father of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is also known for her role as ‘Ana Vega’ in Modern Warfare 2.

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Zoltan brings Oz to life: Process and similarities between them

Bringing Oz to life in MW2 and Warzone was a secret year-long process involving detailed motion and facial capture sessions to ensure the character bore an uncanny resemblance to Bathory. The secrecy was maintained until Season 5‘s launch, with the goal of “surprising Call of Duty fans.” He elaborated, stating, “I didn’t even share the news with my friends.”

To bring the character of Oz to life, the developers chose a collaborative approach, and Walter Gray IV’s voice work played a crucial role in enhancing the portrayal of the popular rockstar, seamlessly blending into the overall performance.

Graves, Oz and Mila Season 5 MW2 WarzoneActivision
Bathory’s 5FDP is recognized as the third-biggest all-time band in total streaming numbers.

Oz and Bathory share certain similarities, not just in appearance but in skills and character traits. Bathory explained they both possess a wide range of skills, leadership qualities, and a background in combat sports, reflecting the diverse experiences that Bathory has accumulated throughout his life.

“I feel like [Oz] kind of shares similarities to my upbringing life. A lot of people don’t know that I have a micro-electrical engineering degree, I have a pretty wide skill set. There are definitely a lot of similarities… the right skill set, leadership, like starting my band, and obviously, I have the fighting background.”

Becoming the “Call of Duty guy”

The impact of Bathory’s inclusion in Call of Duty was felt deeply by fans worldwide. The immersive nature of video games allowed players to actively engage with his character, leading to a surge in fan interactions, as he now receives requests for pictures not just as a rock star but as the “Call of Duty guy.”

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Despite his multifaceted career as a rock star, and now a video game character, Bathory sees martial arts as a fundamental part of his identity. The discipline and mindset instilled by martial arts have enabled him to approach life’s challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles.

“I believe that I became successful in life because I lived my life as a martial artist. Life has a lot of obstacles coming at you, but martial artists don’t see them as obstacles, but as challenges. You adopt and develop this idea that every obstacle is a challenge and every battle is breathable in some way.”

Oz Onslaught Operator skin and Five Finger Death Punch Afterlife coverActivision / Five Finger Death Punch
Oz’s Onslaught skin nods to 5FDP’s AfterLife, boasting the most Billboard Hard Rock #1 singles.

Will Oz be involved in future Call of Duty projects?

Regarding the future, although MW2’s content including Oz has been confirmed to carry over to 2023’s Modern Warfare 3, Bathory still maintains a reserved stance when it comes to any potential participation in upcoming Call of Duty installments, acknowledging and embracing the franchise’s “brilliant and prevalent” aura of secrecy.

“I want you to hear it when it’s done… I want you to hear it when we release it… it’s like all the Christmas presents, you don’t want to find out before the time comes. Call of Duty are very secretive about how things are going to happen, why they do certain things. So I’m gonna leave this as a surprise.”

In Zoltan Bathory’s remarkable journey to ultimately becoming a Call of Duty Operator, there’s a valuable lesson – the importance of dreaming big and pursuing one’s passions relentlessly. Plus, he gets to be in Call of Duty which is pretty cool.