Hidden markings explained on Contradband’s Black Ops 4 map

Jeffrey Mizrahi

Stone carvings, tally marks, and human remains tell a darker story on one of Black Ops 4’s most popular maps.

The Call of Duty series is no stranger to easter eggs. From the more traditional eggs like the Giant Apple in Call of Duty: Finest Hour, to the larger cross map egg in Black Ops 3’s Revelations Zombies map, players have been trained to keep their eyes open.

However this easter egg comes from an unexpected place – multiplayer map, Contraband. Since Black Ops 4 released in October 2018, players have started to pick up on little details in multiplayer that may point to a larger story.

Beginning with wall markings that read “TOO SALTY XX” “Don’t Wet the WATER!!!” and “Saw a boat today. Passed me by. Was it real???”, it’s clear there were a group of people who were once stranded on this island.

Here is where things start to get spooky. More markings are found with text reading “FEAR THE WATER!” “One fish, two fish, red fish, dead fish.” and “Fear the beast!”.

As more markings are uncovered, the story opens up and it’s clear there were two men who were shipwrecked on this island. One named Frank, and the other being an unnamed passenger responsible for the wall markings. A wooden board on the map reads:

– Frank says help will come soon…

– Supplies running low. Frank still thinks we will be saved.

– Caught Frank stealing from me. He denies it but I know the truth.

– Frank and his ??????? football

– Frank has disappeared… I eat well tonight!


Frank’s remains can be found near a football, a reference to the volleyball Tom Hank’s character befriends in the film Castaway as a sign of going insane.

As of now, that is where their story ends. There are still some loose ends with other cryptic markings found around the map that seem to resemble letters from the Apothicon alphabet from Zombies, however they do not match up all too well.

Reddit user ‘Cicada1205‘, who provided the images, summarizes what he thinks is the full story here:

Frank and the author of the board journal are on the ship that’s now stranded on the island. They crash – presumably not far in the future, considering they have Russian food from 1941, maybe even in the 20th century? They stay there for roughly a year and go insane – Frank befriends a football, the author catches Frank stealing from him, kills and eats him. Fast forward to the future, a couple years before the actual map takes place, a drug/weapons cartel stumbles across the island and turns it into a base of operations. For some reason they have to quickly abandon it. Fast forward a couple of years to the future, a military intervention on the island, and this is the actual map.

What’s most interesting is that this hidden story has nothing to do with the maps description in-game which reads:

Contraband: Surveillance of an international arms smuggling operation has uncovered this shipping hub on a remote, uncharted island off the coast of Colombia.

But still, there are more secrets to uncover. For example, Youtuber ‘eColiEspresso‘ made a video showing a shipping manifest from current day that mentions a stolen nuke.

While we still don’t know who the beast is, what killed Frank, or what those symbols mean, the story is not over. What do you think led to these voyagers demise? Let us know in the comments below!

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