Call of Duty’s Black Ops 4 Logo Explained By Historians

Black Ops 4 Logo

Treyarch and Activision’s upcoming Call of Duty installment Black Ops 4 promises to provide a revolutionary and “game-changing experience” for fans of the shooter franchise. Though, when the game first revealed itself, the teaser was met with both excitement and bewilderment from the internet, mostly due to the Black Ops 4 logo which depicts four tally marks in lieu of the much more common “IV” Roman numeral.

After numerous games such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Fallout 4 have widely avoided the format, “Black Ops IIII” would seem to be complete nonsense, but that hasn’t stopped many from also arguing in favor of the design. In typical fashion, the internet has been going back and forth about the numbering ever since the logo’s debut. Thankfully, Eurogamer was able to get to the bottom of this debate by contacting possibly the best available resource on the subject, the British Museum.

Calling the establishment’s duty curator for Greece and Rome, they were able to find the answer to the ongoing gamer argument. IIII or IV? It turns out that the answer is less than satisfying: both usages are correct. Apparently, Romans would use either numbering quite often, sometimes placing “IIII” and “IV” within a few sentences of each other.

According to the British Museum, the reason why both were in usage is similar to how we use contractions in modern day. Addition notation (IIII) was the initial way numbers were used in shorthand, and subtraction notation (IV) began to spread as numbers became increasingly difficult to write one tally at a time. Subtraction notation was able to catch on with writers as it required considerably less effort compared to the alternative.

Well, there you have it. IIII and IV are both technically correct Roman numerals. The internet can now stop fighting about the Black Ops 4 logo, or at least move on to the next thing. Luckily, there’s plenty to debate at the moment, as Super Smash Bros. for Switch is packing a shadowy roster, Valve is looking to start developing again (Half-Life 3 confirmed?), and Diablo III is probably coming to the Nintendo Switch…maybe. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will release for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 12th.

What do you think? Are you glad to have a definitive answer regarding the Black Ops 4 logo, or are you still not a fan of how it looks? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more history exploration from recent weeks, check out these next few links:

Eric Hall2687 Posts

Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his biweekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.


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