Ghost is a fan-favorite character in the Call of Duty series, but his enigmatic backstory has left many wondering who the man behind the mask truly is in MW2.

While Ghost has appeared in two COD games as a main character, a lot of details about his past were left ambiguous.

Fortunately, through comic books and video game appearances, we can piece together the mystery behind one of COD’s most famous characters.

Who Is Ghost in MW2?

Ghost, real name Simon Riley, is a British Special Forces Lieutenant and a member of Task Force 141, the protagonists of MW2.

He first appeared in the original Modern Warfare 2 in 2009 and has since appeared as a skin in multiple COD games and as a prominent character in 2022’s MW2.

Simon Riley had a traumatic childhood, suffering extreme physiological abuse from his father and younger brother. This led him down a violent and troubled path into the military, where he adopted his Ghost persona.

The skull mask he wears is likely a tribute to his late father, who would paint his face like a skull whenever he’d take Simon to see the band “Bone Lickers” when he was a child.

Ghost in full tactical gear in MW2
Warning: spoilers below for Modern Warfare 2 (2009) & Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

Ghost in Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

During the events of the original Modern Warfare 2, Ghost was tasked with hunting down Vladimir Makarov alongside John Price, John “Soap” MacTavish, Gary “Roach” Sanderson, and other Task Force 141 members.

After the infamous massacre at Zakhaev International Airport, Ghost, alongside Soap and Roach, managed to gather intel from Alejandro Rojas, the man supplying Makarov with weapons, about Prisoner 627.

Ghost in Modern Warfare 2 (2009)

Task Force 141, including Ghost, then rescued Prisoner 627 from a gulag, only to discover that it was Captain John Price, Makarov’s worst enemy.

Later, Ghost, alongside Roach, attacked a safehouse where they believed Makarov to be. Although they didn’t find him, they did find a wealth of information about his operations.

However, after successfully downloading the information on Makarov, Ghost, and Roach were betrayed by their CO, General Shepherd. Ghost is shot in the chest before his body is thrown in a ditch and set on fire.

Despite his short-lived appearance in Modern Warfare 2 (2009), Ghost has gone on to be a fan-favorite character.

Fans enjoyed his unique look and mysterious backstory enough that it got its own comic book series. Titled Modern Warfare 2: Ghost, the series delved deep into the character’s traumatic past.

Ghost in Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

At the beginning of MW2 2022, Ghost and John “Soap” MacTavish lead an operation to locate and capture the terrorist Hassan Zyani. Despite failing to find him, they do discover that he was somehow in possession of American ballistic weapons.

Eventually, Ghost, alongside Task Force 141 and Shadow Company, successfully captures Hassan but is forced to let him go.

Later, Shadow Company betrays Task Force 141, forcing Ghost and Soap to flee to Las Almas. They get separated, so Ghost helps Soap escape Las Almas and the Shadow Company soldiers there via radio.

Ghost next to a burning helicopter in MW2 (2022)

Task Force 141 then retaliates, seemingly taking out the Shadow Company leader, Graves, and preventing Hassan’s ballistic missile.

However, Hassan manages to wound Soap and almost kill him, but not before Ghost shoots him in the head with his sniper rifle.

Currently, Ghost remains alive in the new Modern Warfare games and will appear in the MW3 (2023) campaign alongside the rest of Task Force 141.

Former Staff Writer
Whether it's an indie platformer or a 100-hour JRPG, Tom loves talking about games. So much so, he made it his career. Since starting in 2020, he's covered a wide range of topics at sites including TheGamer and The Game Crater.