*This article is about Captain John Price, not his grandfather Captain Price from the first two Call of Duty games.
Call of Duty 4's main commanding officer is Captain John Price of the British Special Air Service (SAS). Price is notable for sharing his first name with the character played by his voice actor beforehand. Price is voiced by Billy Murray, who voiced gangster Johnny Allen in British soap opera EastEnders. During the game Price is playable in two missions, when the game travels back to 1996, a decade after the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine, which left the city of Pripyat a husk. Soap MacTavish, Captain Price, and Nikolai are the only characters to recur across all three games, and Soap is introduced to Price in the first mission where you take part in controlling the game.
The mission in Pripyat is highly important to the story of the game, since it gives the antagonist, Imran Zakhaev, his justification for death. It also gives Vladimir Makarov, one of the antagonists during both Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3 the reason for his relentless campaign against Price and Soap. During Call of Duty 4, Price and Soap are both responsible for the death of Imran Zakhaev despite both suffering severe wounds after an Ultranationalist operated Mi-24 Hind destroys the bridge their GAZ-3937 is travelling over.
During the events of Call of Duty 4, Price always carries an M4 Carbine assault rifle as well as his signature M1911 .45 pistol, which Soap uses to shoot Imran Zakhaev dead at the game's finale.
Between the events of Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2, Price has been incarcerated in a Russian gulag, though it is never advanced upon how or why. Price initially is hostile, knocking Roach to the ground and pointing a gun at him. However, when he recognizes Soap, he lowers the gun and joins the unit. Soap hands him back his M1911 pistol - the weapon that was used to kill Imran Zakhaev.
Once Price is broken out of the gulag, he returns as captain of Task Force 141. All TF141 missions that appear after the events in the Russian gulag feature Price giving part of the briefing. During the mission "Contingency", Price joins the task force to help destroy a Russian submarine that is loaded with missiles, and could potentially be used to attack the United States. However, when Price reaches the submarine, he launches a missile from it instead. He reverse engineers a Russian vehicle to hinder their own attack.
The missile Price launched performed as an EMP as it detonated in space, outside of Earth's atmosphere. Somehow, the missile destroys the International Space Station, which is unusual due to the fact an explosion in space would do nothing. However, during an arms deal that is raided by Price and MacTavish, they realize the real threat is not Makarov, and is instead the American General, Shepherd. Price asks Makarov for information, and he reluctantly reveals the location Shepherd's corrupt forces use. MacTavish and Price pursue Shepherd's Pave Low down a river, before killing the pilot. However, the rib boat that they traveled on travels down a waterfall.
After killing General Shepherd, both Price and Soap are labeled as war criminals.
The actual reason for Price's incarceration in the gulag is unclear, but it could be assumed that the Ultranationalist government within Russia needed to be seen to be taking actions due to the public perception of Zakhaev as a martyr, helped fuel the fire for revenge. It's also possible that Makarov himself orchestrated Price's arrest as a terrorist. It would, however, have made more sense to have Soap taken to the gulag, so Makarov's reasoning is unusual.
In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Price returns as a protagonist during the game's final mission, Dust to Dust.
Otherwise, he continues to act as the commander of the disavowed Task Force 141, channeling their efforts into tracking down Vladimir Makarov and killing him for the terrorist attacks he is responsible for. While technically a war criminal, Price keeps in close contact with an associate in the SAS known as 'Baseplate'. This associate is revealed to be Captain MacMillan from the attempted assassination of Imran Zakhaev in Pripyat.
Baseplate feeds Price and his allies - Yuri, Soap MacTavish, and Nikolai some information which helps them discover what Makarov is using the shipping company Fregata Enterprises for. The next mission shows a terrorist attack in London, using bombs created by Makarov's right-hand-man who is also Fregata's owner. Price has grown more ruthless during Modern Warfare 3, since when he tracks down the African warlord known as Waraabe, he extracts information from him by threatening him with a death by poisonous chemicals. When Waraabe cracks, Price shoots him dead and the team continues with their unofficial business within Africa. The execution of a target for interrogation harks back to Call of Duty 4, where Price shoots Khaled Al-Asad in the head after interrogating him in a farm house in Azerbaijan.
The final fight involves Price and Yuri assaulting a hotel in Dubai with the Juggernaut suits, and a final battle with Vladimir Makarov for the misery he has caused. During the fight, Price strangles Makarov to death by crashing him through the glass roof of the building. When Price himself lands on solid ground the camera pans to the twitching body of the now-dead Vladimir Makarov in his final moments, and allows players to see Price smoking a cigar. The cigar is a homage to the opening of Call of Duty 4, perhaps suggesting a closure for the story.
- Unlike in the original Call of Duty, Price does not die to help his allies. In the original game Price sacrifices himself to ensure that the charges planted on the German Tirpitz warship detonate, while the player escapes. It is also shown in the original game that the previous Captain Price is fluent in German, rapidly responding to a question raised by one of the crew members aboard the ship. In the Modern Warfare rendition of Price it is not shown whether he is fluent in another language or not.
- Both the original rendition of Captain Price and the Modern Warfare rendition sport the same facial hair, which has grown to be an iconic representation of the character alongside his hat in the Modern Warfare story.
- Due to their names, players have suggested the two characters known as Captain Price throughout the series were related. This would make the Captain Price in the Modern Warfare branch either the son or grandson of the 'original' character, assuming the fan theory is correct.