The great legacy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the near-future shooter released in 2014, is a meme: Press F to pay respects. The widely derided in-game prompt occurs during an early cutscene in which the player attends a funeral for a fallen comrade. Conan O'Brien skewered the scene during a Clueless Gamer segment in 2014, and five years later we included it in our list of the 69 biggest, weirdest moments in the past decade of PC gaming.
The internet spun that narrative misfire into gold. Memes emerged, and so much more: Twitch streamers ask for Fs in the chat on a regular basis; this guy built a massive F button that you can slap like a game show buzzer; we pressed F for Adobe Flash after the final update went live; it even has its very own, impressively detailed Wikipedia entry.
“Press F to pay respects” has persisted in ways that very few memes do, and now, as was foretold—a meme that will never die, because the day it does we will all press F in its memory and it will rise again—it has returned to our consciousness courtesy of none other than Call of Duty: Vanguard. Players can earn an achievement in the game, called “F,” by blowing themselves up with their own grenade.
LOL Campain looks amazing Call of Duty®: VanguardF (SILVER) #PlayStationTrophy #PS5Share, #CallofDutyVanguard pic.twitter.com/CY3ME3cvCtNovember 5, 2021
The achievement is a fun little meta Easter egg, but what I really like about it is the way Sledgehammer, which developed both Advanced Warfare and Vanguard, is poking fun at itself: Both the achievement and the meme are self-inflicted injuries that will never really go away.
F also reappears within Vanguard as an interactive option. I could be wrong, but I suspect that without the limp dramatic gravitas, we will continue paying respects long into the future.
COD 2014: Press F to pay respectsCOD 2021: Press F to Spend Time With FamilyActivision really gettin wild with the ‘F’ key#Vanguard #COD #callofduty #PressFToSpendTimeWithFamily #F #ActivisionBlizzard pic.twitter.com/ssWZqoi5nrNovember 5, 2021