Call of Duty: Vanguard Campaign: Characters & storyline

Keshav Bhat
Arthur Kingsley in CoD: Vanguard

Sledgehammer Games is bringing a new take to the WWII experience with Call of Duty: Vanguard’s campaign mode, which features the rise of Special Forces across all four fronts of the war.

The campaign of Vanguard is centered around the rise of Special Forces, groups of trained fighters, attacking against enemies together. This concept was something that was unheard of during the WWII era. 

Call of Duty: Vanguard’s campaign is not a sequel to Sledgehammer Games’ 2017 title, but rather a brand new title with a focus on all fronts of World War II.

Dave Swenson, Campaign Creative Director, says that the team spoke directly with historical advisors on the different stories of World War II. The team looked at “tide-turning battles” but also how the outcome of the war was determined by “critical moments.”

Player looking around a wall in Vanguard

Vanguard Overview & Story

Vanguard takes place across all four fronts of the war – Pacific Front, Western Front, Eastern Front, and North Africa. The team wanted to tell stories of the individuals who put their lives on the line during the war; a micro-focus on select stories that come to life in unique ways in the world of Vanguard.

World War II featured huge armies running into battle; there were no navy seals, no high-tech equipment; it was not always fought on the front lines. The war was fought everywhere – even in civilian places and destroyed homes.  

Sledgehammer Games wanted to focus on identifying the first rise of groups of trained individuals fighting together. And this led to the rise of the Special Forces.

In Vanguard, players will get to experience the four fronts of World War II through the eyes of four Special Forces characters. The story revolves around the four being sent to Berlin, Germany to identify Project Phoenix. This is a project that they believed was how the Nazis intended to prolong their rule beyond Hitler. 

The four Special Forces were sent to stop this advancement. During their attempt to stop, the four Forces get captured and taken into the Lion’s Den inside of Gestapo Headquarters. The Nazis interrogating them were scared because they had never seen small squads of allied forces fighting together that were highly trained.  

This sets the foundation for what Vanguard is about. Players will follow the four Special Forces characters through their journey during the War and how they came together to fight for their people. 

Player model in Call of Duty: Vanguard

Vanguard campaign characters

The four Special Forces characters of Call of Duty: Vanguard are based on real individuals that fought during World War II. 

Arthur Kinglsey is the leader of the Special Forces unit and is a British Paratrooper, part of the 9th Parachute Battalion, based on Sidney Cornell. Kingsley is the leader of the team, portrayed by Chiké Okonkwo and written by Tochi Oneybuchi.

Lt. Polina Petrova is from the Soviet Union, part of the 138th Rifle Division, and based on Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who was a Soviet Sniper in the Army. 

Petrova is described as an “inspiration” and a “hero” to the locals for her bravery in fighting off German forces. She helped local civilians with fending off German fighters during her time and became an integral part of the Special Forces unit.

Lt. Polina Petrova in CoD: Vanguard

The third member of the Special Forces Division is Captain Wade Jackson. Jackson is part of Scouting Squadron Six, a US Fighter Pilot based on Vernon “Mike” Micheel

Jackson experiences the growth of becoming a member of a team, after working and flying solo in his time, and becomes an expert pilot for the crew. 

The last of the Special Forces is 2nd Lt. Lucas Riggs. Riggs is part of the 20th Battalion, from Australia, which fights in North Africa. The character is based on Charles Upham, who was a New Zealand soldier that fought in North Africa in real life.

Sledgehammer Games says that the Australian Infantrymen set new standards in their regions for how to fight, and that will show in the North African front of the game’s campaign. 

More details on Call of Duty: Vanguard’s campaign will be announced as we get closer to launch on November 5.

While we didn’t hear any more information about the game’s story mode, Sledgehammer have confirmed a new map and anti-cheat for Warzone, 20 multiplayer maps, and that Treyarch are developing the game’s Zombies mode.

In the meantime, players will be able to get their hands on the game over the coming weeks and months, and we have everything you need to take part in the upcoming Vanguard Alpha and Open Beta tests.

About The Author

Keshav Bhat is the Co-Founder of, the world's largest Call of Duty news site. Based in Atlanta, Keshav also serves as the Head of Social Media for Dexerto network, running a network of over 10 million social followers. Keshav can be contacted for tips at [email protected]