Starting sometime around 2PM EST on November 3rd, Treyarch's Twitter page began blowing up with images of prestige emblems for their upcoming game: Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Every hour, Treyarch posted a new prestige level and stylized icon. Click the next button to view the slideshow of prestige emblems.
Ten total prestige levels have been confirmed for Black Ops 3 by Treyarch Studio Design Director, David Vonderhaar. Vonderhaar also mentioned on his Twitter feed that, in addition to 10 prestige modes, there is an extra "something special" that has yet to be announced. Players will have to gain experience to level up through 55 ranks per prestige, making the total number of individual ranks 550.
Treyarch has expressed discontent at the idea of adding "additional prestiges" after launch. In Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players were presented with 15 prestige ranks at launch, and 15 "Grand Master Prestiges" afterwards. Vonderhaar's "something special" aims to give Max Prestige players something to do, without adding bonus ranks.
Almost all of the prestige emblems released fit the theme of Ancient Greek mythology, and seem to be inspired by God of War. A Spartan foot soldier, a one eyed ogre, a minotaur, the hydra, and Poseidon, god of the sea himself, all made appearances for this year's Call of Duty prestige icons.
Click the next button to view the slideshow of prestige emblems.
One of the only outliers to the God of War, mythical Greek style is prestige one. This emblem is very smooth, with small red gemstones circling the crisp golden outline. Glowing blue eyes give the center-focused skull a sinister look, and the golden sword and wings in the background make the entire emblem very "family crest-y".
Kicking off the Greek mythology stylization, prestige two features a classic Corinthian helmet, plumage and all. A fairly plain emblem (probably because it's a rather low prestige level), this icon will bring hometown pride to any players from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (hey, that's me!) due to the similarities it shares with the logo of the local hockey team.
The Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 prestige emblems get decidedly more menacing as they go. Prestige three, for example, is a nightmarish silver-grey ogre with a single glowing red eye. Sapphire teeth and horns, along with a bloody red background, accentuate this piece brilliantly.
More or less what I'd call "badass Poseidon", the fourth prestige emblem looks like a cross between the god of the sea and Hades, god of the underworld. A very neat symmetrical look makes this icon very pleasing to the eye. The deep blue helm and merman tail of the god work in accordance with the gold of his scepter and yellow of his eyes.
Generally, Poseidon is portrayed as an old man with a long white beard. I feel like this is an image of him in his teenage years when he rode in a motorcycle gang across the seafloor.
I'm not sure which is a better representation of my imminent death: the golden head of an angry minotaur, or the executioner's axes he replaced his teeth with. This emblem is great for representing the pain and suffering the player that earned it endured to get to that position. The glowing, angry, red eyes will be sure to strike fear into the hearts of noobs everywhere.
My personal favorite, this green hydra seems to be ripped straight out of the original God of War game. The only real difference is that the GoW version only had three heads, whereas this beast has five.
This brings a question to mind. At each prestige, will we unlock specific emblems or player cards (in addition to standard prestige icons) as we have in previous Call of Duty titles? If so, I just found my favorite.
Definitely the most intricately designed emblem so far, the griffin (half lion, half eagle) featured in the prestige seven icon is something to marvel at. Honestly, how do graphic design artists even do something that cool? A menacing image, though I think in-game, when the icons are fairly small, it will be hard to see every gorgeous detail.
The next prestige emblem works nicely for prestige eight; it's an octopus! Although, to say that the subject of this icon is simply an octopus would be a huge understatement. Accents like a red skull on the head of the sea creature, a red anchor in the background, and glowing blue eyes make this emblem stand out.
Very interesting change of pace when we hit the prestige emblem for prestige nine. This icon is a lot more cartoon-y than any of the other emblems, but goes back to the Greek mythology theme. The subject in question is an interesting take on Medusa, a gorgon who could freeze men to stone with a single glance. Her stony-stare is represented in this emblem by glowing purple eyes, a first for the prestige icons in Black Ops 3.
The Cerberus, or three-headed dog, guards the realms of the underworld...in Greek mythology anyways. In Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, the Cerberus has the sole duty of looking badass on tenth prestige player cards. The shield shape of this emblem forces the eye to focus on the centrepiece: a vicious-looking three-headed dog from hell. Menacing lava-red, the Cerberus is a great choice for the tenth prestige emblem.
But wait! There's more!
The prestige master emblem throws away the theme of Greek mythology once more and opts for a more "look at me, I'm the best" style. This obviously makes sense - master prestige is generally pretty hard to accomplish in the Call of Duty franchise, unless players are truly dedicated.
This symbol features an almost tribal circlet with a golden, gem-encrusted skull placed firmly in the middle. It will be hard not to notice in game lobbies.
This may or may not be the final prestige emblem in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Despite Treyarch firmly believing in the final amount of prestige modes available at launch, there has been word of extra slots in the game code for future prestiges to be added. Maybe these extra slots have something to do with the "special surprise"? Only time will tell.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is available this Friday, November 6th, 2015.