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|“||Today, the Front embarks on a conquest. Here and now, we will eradicate the authority and influence of the Earth! Our world is just beginning. Theirs is dying! It is not enough to break free. We will break them! Their cities will burn along with the pages of their history. Mars aeternum.||„|
|~ Salen Kotch' speech.|
|“||Death is no disgrace!||„|
|~ Salen Kotch motto.|
Admiral Salen Kotch is the main antagonist of the 2016 video game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
He is the ruthless military leader of the Settlement Defense Front, a group of off-world insurgents from Mars who are hell-bent on controlling the entire solar system and eradicating anyone originating from Earth. He is also the archenemy of the main protagonist, Captain Nick Reyes.
Brought up during the early days of the S.D.F.'s regime, Kotch developed a deep disdain towards the ideals of freedom and democracy, which was largely a result of the S.D.F. propaganda machine. During his time in S.D.F. naval college, he engaged in a rivalry with the now-vice admiral Caleb Thies, and attended a delegation to the U.N.S.A. naval college at Oslo, a trip which completely cemented his pro-S.D.F. ideals. Post-graduation, Kotch became widely known throughout the Solar System, becoming the youngest recipient of the Iron Sword, scaling Olympus Mons, advocating for the construction of the S.D.F.'s first super carrier and thus becoming one of the S.D.F.'s most feared leaders.
Skirmish on Europa
|“||Kotch: Get him up, he needs air. Catch your breath, trooper. (gives Wolf air supply)
SDF Lieutenant: Admiral Kotch. Gun destroyed. Data retrieved. Initiating RIAH.
Kotch: How many did you come with?
Wolf: We're it.
Kotch: What about the airship we shot down?
Wolf: My men need medical.
Kotch: You care about your men? (points gun at soldier but then shoots one of his own men) Care clouds judgement. That is why you cannot win. This place... isn't yours anymore. (removes air supply) Kill them. And save the bullets.
|~ Kotch showing his true colors as he kills one of his own men and orders the executions of Wolf and his team.|
When a soldier trio, tasked with securing classified weapons before the S.D.F. can conquer the settlement on Europa, is attacked by the S.D.F. while attempting to do so, the sole conscious surviving soldier, Wolf, is interrogated by Kotch. Kotch asks him how many soldiers were sent but Wolf instead inquires about the health of his men. Kotch is amused and shoots one of his own men, claiming that care clouds judgment and that this is the reason why Wolf and his men cannot win. He then rips out Wolf's oxygen tank and orders his men (including Bradley Fillion) to kill all three soldiers and save the bullets.
War Against Earth
|“||Captain Reyes. There is no hope of victory. We will bury your brothers. We will hunt your sons. Death is no disgrace.||„|
|~ Kotch's message to Captain Reyes.|
During the Fleet Week Parade at Geneva, the S.D.F. hijacks the planet's planetary defense system via its embedded operative Akeel Min Riah and turns it on the parade, destroying most of Earth's fleet and killing most of the civilian bystanders. The S.D.F. then land troops in Geneva, planning to conquer the planet. However, the ground teams of the S.D.F. are eliminated and the S.D.F.'s starships near Earth's orbit are destroyed or flee. Nonetheless, the S.D.F. has effectively declared war on Earth.
When a team of marines enters a base on a planet fought over by Earth's forces and the S.D.F., Kotch contacts the captain, Reyes. He orders Reyes and his men to surrender, threatening with execution should they refuse. Nonetheless, Reyes and his men are able to escape the S.D.F. base before it detonates. While Reyes and his men escape the planet in their starships, Kotch's flagship, the Olympus Mons, shoots down Reyes' starship. Reyes is stranded in space and his ship, the Retribution, is forced to retreat under fire of the Olympus.
Kotch lures the team of the Retribution to a fiery meteorite, hoping that they die in the flames. Although the Retribution loses its staff sergeant, the rest escapes unharmed, although they arrive to find that the Olympus Mons had destroyed the Tigris and killed everyone on board. Kotch then contacts the ship directly, threatening Reyes and vowing that he will continue to wage war against earth. To strike back, Reyes plans to set an ambush for Kotch in return, intending to lure the Olympus to earth to fight them there.
|“||Kotch: You lack all it takes to win this war.
Reyes: I had what it took to beat you, Kotch.
Kotch: Kill me isn't winning. I killed your Admiral. Your iron shield is down. Death is no disgrace.
|~ Kotch and Reyes just as the former begins to succumb to his injuries.|
Indeed Kotch's fleet arrives in Geneva. The Olympus attacks a military HQ, killing Reyes' superior Admiral Raines and everyone else inside. Despite this throwback, Reyes and his team are able to successfully enter the Olympus Mons and head towards the bridge. While on their way, Reyes is contacted by Kotch who threatens to destroy the Olympus, which would result in the destruction of Geneva. Before this can happen, Reyes sends a bot to the bridge which fights through Kotch's men and smashes Kotch into the ship's control panel. The bot then self-destructs, exploding and wounding Kotch. As he starts succumbing to his wound and Reyes' team storm the bridge, Kotch rants about how his death won't end the war. Depending on the player's choices, Kotch will either die from his wounds or Reyes will stab him in his throat. Regardless, Kotch was finally dead and afterwards, Reyes led the rest of the Retribution's surviving crew to destroy the S.D.F.'s shipyard on Mars. Although only four of the crew remained, they were successful in the mission, ultimately ending both Kotch and the S.D.F.'s threat to Earth once and for all.
|“||Admiral Salen Kotch is one of the most ruthless, brilliant, self-assured and capable naval tyrants to ever command a modern warship. As a boy, Kotch was fostered in the post-Secession War Mars. His only knowledge of the third planet from the sun was the carefully controlled narrative propagated by the Settlement Defense Front.||„|
|~ Captain's log of Admiral Kotch.|
Having grown up in the militaristic lifestyle on Mars, Salen Kotch is an extremely ruthless and manipulative individual who is willing to do whatever is necessary to lead the Settlement Defense Front and complete its goal: defeat both the U.N.S.A. and S.A.T.O. in order to take over the Solar System and either purge or enslave everyone that is Earth-born. Whilst commanding the S.D.F. and the Olympus Mons, he became one of the most feared men in the Solar System as he showed absolutely no mercy towards his enemies.
Kotch showed utterly no sympathy or remorse for anyone he has hurt or killed, and has even displayed a disregard for his own men. Whilst on Europa, after he feigns sympathy towards S.C.A.R. Team 7 leader Wolf for caring about his men, Kotch made an example out of one of his own men, stating that care will ensure the S.D.F.'s victory and the defeat of Earth's forces. He believes in victories at all costs and was willing to sacrifice himself, his own men and his own ship to level Geneva, Switzerland so that S.A.T.O. wouldn't take his super-carrier.
Also, Kotch has shown to be fanatically arrogant, even in his last moments as he refused to surrender and accept defeat. He lives by the motto "death is no disgrace", pathetically believing that it excuses him to execute his own men as demonstrations and that it would persuade S.A.T.O. forces surrender themselves. He has even displayed cowardice and hypocrisy, claiming that S.D.F. attacks, not fights and refused to leave his bridge to face-off Captain Reyes. Ultimately, Kotch is overall a power-hungry dictator who believes that it is his right to take control of the Solar System and kill whomever he wants.
- Kit Harrington is the first voice actor in COD series to both portraying and both voicing his own character through using CGI motion-capture, although the role was given a low onscreen appearance and many fans were disappointed.
- Kit has explained in an interview that he was excited to be a part of the game due to being "personally a bit of a space freak" and that he usually doesn't "get to play villains very often."
- It is possible to kill Kotch by stabbing him in the neck as he dies of his wounds. If the player does this, the game will award them with the achievement "You Know Nothing". This is a reference to phrase "You know nothing, Jon Snow" from the TV series Game of Thrones, in which Kotch's voice actor, Kit Harington plays the character of Jon Snow.
- During Kotch's first appearance in the level "Rising Threat", the color of his name in the subtitles is green (which highlights protagonists) instead of red (which highlights antagonists), which was later changed throughout the rest of the game.
- A similar goof previously happened on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in the opening cutscene of the final level "Dust to Dust", where Vladimir Makarov's name was also green instead of red and was fixed throughout the rest of the level.
- His card on the Most Wanted board is Ace of Spades.
- Kotch is arguably the ultimate opposing foil of Captain Reyes, as Reyes cared highly about his men and would do anything to save them, whereas Kotch was willing to let his own men die and considered civilian casualties acceptable in his ultimate goal of defeating the UNSA. Furthermore, his treatment of his subordinates was so ruthless that he was willing to shoot one of his soldiers just to demonstrate to Wolf and UNSA command that their empathy is a weakness.