Lieutenant Simon "Ghost" Riley is a British special forces operator, and a prominent member of Task Force 141, known for his iconic skull-patterned balaclava, headset, and dark red sunglasses.
Ghost appears as a main character in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 2: Ghost, Call of Duty: Online, Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish, Call of Duty: Heroes, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered. He also appears as a customization option in Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Simon Riley had a very traumatic childhood while growing up in Manchester, England because of his heartless father. On most days, his father brought dangerous animals back and taunted him with them, even going so far to force him to kiss a snake or threaten to kill him with them. When he and his younger brother Tommy got older, Tommy would always wear a skull-mask at night to scare Simon. Simon's father would sometimes take him to the Bone Lickers concerts. At one concert, his father made him laugh at the death of a prostitute who was addicted to drugs.
Joining the Military
Simon used to be an apprentice butcher at a grocery when he grew up. After the September 11 attacks occurred, he joined the military. He was an expert soldier which got him into the Special Air Service.
Return from the Military
Simon came back home one day on January 2003 and found his family in a predicament. His mother was constantly getting cheated on and his brother was addicted to drugs. He opted not to go back to his life at the military until he fixed their lives. In March 2004 Riley beat his father for abusing him and his mother and threw him out of the house. He then helped Tommy get rid of his drug addiction and made him marry a woman named Beth in June 2006. Riley was seen as the best man at Tommy's wedding. Beth also gave birth to a young boy named Joseph who would become Riley's nephew.
Going after Manuel Roba
Simon was pulled out from shipping out for an operation in Iran and was set to take down the Zaragoza Drug Cartel that was headed by Manuel Roba. When he and his team made their move on the Day of the Dead, the commanding officer, Major Vernon, betrayed them to the enemy by getting the three of them captured and brought to a torture and brainwashing facility. There, he was driven mad and tortured. At one point, he was buried alive and left by his captors. He used this opportunity to escape and got back home.
It took him four months to recover from all of that, but he was still having temper-management issues, and as a result he was not accepted back into the military. After having an episode with his former-colleague, Kevin Sparks, his entire family was killed by Sparks and Marcus Washington.
He killed Sparks and Washington and went after Roba once more. He ambushed Roba's right-hand man, Gilberto and tortured Roba's location out of him. He arrived at Roba's compound and stole all of the information on the company and killed Roba. Riley fought Roba's guards and burned his mansion and compound. When he left, he was approached by General Shepherd and recruited into Task Force 141 under the name of Ghost.
Task Force 141
At one point, he was sent alone against terrorists in a grade school in Ukraine. He deliberately got himself caught and told the terrorists and the children about his past before the rest of his team arrived to free him and the children. One girl asked him if the story of Simon "Ghost" Riley was true and if Riley was Ghost. He responded saying "true enough to that lot".
On October 8, 2013, a joint Task Force 141/Delta Force operation codenamed Operation Kingfish was launched. Ghost worked alongside John Price, John "Soap" MacTavish, Gary "Roach" Sanderson, Sandman and Derek "Frost" Westbrook as they hunted down Vladimir Makarov. They assaulted the main compound and were able to recover some intel, but got ambushed by a bomb, forcing the team to evacuate. During the evac, Soap was wounded by an RPG and was partially knocked out. An AC-130 tried to defend the team as they sprinted toward their evac point, but was shot down, leaving the team completely vulnerable. Price selflessly stayed behind to facilitate the team's escape and was wounded and captured.
Following Makarov's massacre at Zakhaev International Airport, Ghost assisted in the operation in Rio de Janeiro to locate and capture Alejandro Rojas, the man who supplied Makarov with weapons and ammunition, maintaining radio contact with Captain MacTavish and Roach while they searched for Rojas's assistant. After MacTavish and Roach began pursuing the assistant, Ghost met up with them at the Hotel Rio and joined the chase. Once the assistant was taken down by Roach, Ghost prepared to interrogate him through torture. Ghost was heard via radio for the rest of the mission as he attempted to pursue Rojas through the favela. After the capture of Rojas, Ghost was heard requesting extraction from Command, but to no avail. Despite this, Ghost managed to narrowly escape the favela with Captain MacTavish and Roach aboard Nikolai's helicopter.
Infiltration of the Russian Oil Rig / Rescuing Prisoner 627
After escaping South America, Ghost joined the rest of Task Force 141 as they prepared a counterattack with the US 6th Fleet against the Russians. Using information recovered from Rojas, they learn that Prisoner 627, the only man Makarov hated worse than the Americans, was locked away in a gulag, though the path leading to the prison was blocked by oil rigs, which were captured by the Russians and turned into makeshift SAM sites. Targeting the least-defended rig, Ghost and the rest of the 141 and Navy SEALs infiltrated and cleared the rig of hostiles and rescued several hostages in order to safely deactivate the SAM sites. Following the mission, Ghost joined the attack on the gulag holding Prisoner 627, where he would take control of gulag's security systems and guide his allies to the prisoner, who was soon revealed to be Captain John Price.
With Captain Price back in their ranks, he soon devised a contingency plan to end the war in America by infiltrating a Russian submarine base. Though Ghost and his team were initially separated from Price and Roach following their insertion, they would later meet up and converge on the Russian base, where Price took control of a Russian sub. However, Ghost was shocked when Price launched an ICBM at Washington D.C. where the Russian-American war raged on. Ghost contacted Command about Code Black, which was the statement that a threat of a nuclear weapon was launched and must be disposed of immediately. It was possible that he retracted this though after he learned about Price's intention.
The Search for Vladimir Makarov and Death
Using resources from his blank check, Shepherd deduced the last two safe havens for Makarov and his men at a safehouse on the Georgian-Russian Border and an airplane boneyard in Afghanistan. Knowing they have to be at two different places at once, Ghost nominates himself and Roach, along with a bulk of Task Force 141, to take the safehouse, while Soap and Price investigate the boneyard. After raiding the safehouse however, Makarov was nowhere to be found, though the safehouse was loaded ("A bloody gold mine" as Ghost said) with intel. Ghost, along with Roach, Ozone and Scarecrow, with sniper support from Archer and Toad, protected a DSM from Makarov's men while it downloaded sensitive information regarding Makarov's operations. After finishing the download, the team headed to the LZ that was set up by Shepherd, though Ozone and Scarecrow were both gunned down by enemy mortars, and Roach was injured. Ghost managed to get Roach to the LZ, but both were ultimately betrayed by Shepherd, who fatally shot the two in the chest at point-blank range with a .44 Magnum, just before Ghost could use his ACR. After Shepherd retrieved the DSM from Roach, Ghost's body was thrown into a ditch and set on fire along with Roach's.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Ghost appears in Call of Duty: Mobile and was added as part of the Season 1 Battle Pass. Ghost has also a prominent role in the Mobile Comics.
In some Desert in the Texas state, Ghost attacked a hideout used by a group of mercenaries and killed them off swiftly. He then goes into the basement along with his team, where he discovers that Makarov was using the lab to try and recreate Nova Gas, and was also using it as a missile silo that had missiles containing the replicated Nova Gas. The team is then ambushed by Makarov, who releases the gas and a team of mercenaries in Hazmat Suits. Ghost barely makes it out while his whole team is killed. Makarov then remotely launches the missiles, and Ghost can do nothing to stop them.
Ghost arrives in one of the cities Makarov targeted with Tank Dempsey, noting that it looked like the end of the world. As they search for clues, Tank notes that there was no tactical reason to target the city, but Ghost pulls him into cover as they are ambushed. Ghost kills the ambusher, a clown, and Tank picks up his weapon, noting that it was probably supplied from somewhere. The duo then finds an abandoned Gulag that was used as a hideout for Krueger and Mace. As Tank engages Krueger, Ghost engages Mace. Ghost throws a grenade, disarming Mace, which lead them fighting in the Showers hand to hand. As they were fighting, Tank arrives after failing to take down Krueger and fires at Mace, causing him to retreat. The two then descend down a staircase and encounter Reznov, who is in his early hundreds.
After taking a moment, Reznov tells Ghost and Tank what he did during his time in the Soviet Armed Forces. He tells them that he was on a covert mission to a secret facility belonging to the Germans. He and his team rush forward an assault on the base. Despite the overwhelming gunfire, Reznov manages to survive the slaughter and enters the facility, encountering the gas Nova 6. After executing all of the scientists in the facility, he retrieved the gas for the Russians, and they hid them in bunkers. Reznov then reveals that he is one of the few people who knows where the bunkers are. After Ghost extracts the information from Reznov, he calls Mara to locate Makarov and stop him.
Disappointed with the recent mission failure, Ghost contemplates of how they gathered next to no intel about their enemies. Mace in disguise attacks a building with his team of mercenaries then goes to Alcatraz to meet with an underground criminal magnate named Hidora Kai. Mace and Hidora start to plan out their next moves, disabling all electronic devices in the world, including military radio towers, communication centers, Mara and Soap's convoy and even the plane Ghost and Tank were flying in, using the EMP launched earlier. Ghost and Tank manage to survive and meet the other operators at The Club.
Ghost admits that the group has no way to fight Hidora and Mace, along with no way to locate them. Russell Adler appears and says that they do have ways to combat the new threat. After Ghost asks who he is, Price introduces Adler, and officially states the group is now a part of the United Anti-Terrorism Coalition, ending the introduction with "Ladies and gentlemen, we're going dark."
Adler and the rest of the team start to plan out their assault on Five Knights locations. When asked on how they would coordinate or even reach those locations, Adler presents the team with Swiss mechanical watches, which are unaffected by EMPs. Price also notes that Adler is not the only Cold War relic in operational state in the bunker, indicating an old helicopter.
Ghost and Tank strike a production facility in Hackney Yard, as part of their assault on key Five Knight locations. Meanwhile Tank comes across Mace, who knocks Tank down and snatches his weapon, and opens fire at him. Ghost comes too late to save him. Enraged, Ghost then starts beating up Mace, ultimately subduing and arresting him.
Later, Price, Ghost and Adler discuss the aftermath of their joint operation; Mace is in a Black Site facing interrogation, Templar and Hidora are in the wind, Soap is injured but will be battle ready within a few weeks. It is further revealed that Mara made it out alive, but was wounded badly and is in a coma. Ghost admits that they won the battle and takes an oath that he will "Win the War."
As Ghost expresses grief for not being able to save Tank and the fact that they don't have enough time and intel, Adler comforts him by saying that they do have intel and mentions that there is a place in Siberia from where Makarov possibly got the Nova Gas from. He then says that it's coming all around the same way like it did during his days, and narrates his story. Some time during the Cold War, Adler led a small team into a Soviet facility in Siberia along with his friend Stansfield. They had found out crucial information about something that the Five Knights could also have gotten their hands on, and eventually carried out. However, when tried to exfil, they were surrounded by a large group of enemies, and Stansfield stayed behind to cover their escape, only to be shot dead, which Adler could do nothing but watch in horror. Back in present day, Adler finishes his story by saying that both Stansfield and Tank knew what they were doing, and so should Ghost. When Ghost questions if the research facility is of any more importance, Adler says that there might be something left in there, although it will be a long shot. Ghost agrees and says that he will take it, to which Adler responds that they will have to wait, and Ghost must not rush for revenge. Ghost in response says that this is not about revenge, and they must get the intel before the Five Knights do. Adler replies that they cannot risk to lose any more men as the Five Knights already hit other bases hard, and tells Ghost that he must be patient. Ghost takes it for an excuse to do nothing and walks away, much to Adler's dismay.
Overridden with guilt, Ghost comes to visit the still comatose Mara and expresses grief for not being able to save them. He then promises that he will end this for all and places Tank's dog tag on her palms and leaves. When Price cannot find Ghost, he comes to Soap asking for his whereabouts. Adler comes to them saying that he knows where Ghost is, and he is "doing something stupid". When Price asks what Adler has done, he replies that he told Ghost about the operation in Siberia.
Ghost arrives via Snowmobile at the Soviet base Adler told him about and begins to investigate. He realises that someone has been here recently as he finds recently opened canned food and a map which is dated around the present. He is then startled by a voice saying: "The enemy of my enemy....is my friend". The man turns out to me none other than Makarov. Ghost is shocked to see Makarov still alive, since Mara had confirmed he had been shot in the head. Makarov explains that Mace also saw him die but "appearances are deceiving" and that he needed to fake his death since their goals had diverged. Makarov also states that he knows that Ghost has arrived to seek information on how to defeat The Five Knights and that he has said information. When questioned about their identity and goals, Makarov says that the Knights consist of 5 individuals with different goals who were useful to each other as he was useful to them, and proceeds to list them off. Rorke heads the mercenaries, Hidora, who is looking for corporate profits, Mace, only wanting the downfall of the government, Raul Menendez, who wants control of the system by hijacking it, and a fifth member whose identity Makarov says will keep secret, unless Ghost takes him in.
Ghost agrees, and as they exit the facility, Templar appears, blowing up Ghost's snowmobile. Ghost tells Makarov to run and fires at Templar. Unfortunately, the bullets cannot penetrate his armor and he mocks Ghost that he should have "brought bigger bullets", disabling and then breaking Ghost's gun. When Ghost asks who he is, Templar introduces himself, then stabs Ghost in the wrist with one of his throwing knives. When Ghost tries to retaliate, Templar performs a coup de grace on him, downing him. Templar then inspects Ghost's body, stating that he expected a more equal individual to fight with. He then takes Ghost's balaclava as a souvenir before leaving, saying "That's one less loose end."
Some time later, Price and Soap arrive at the Soviet base, remarking on Ghost's rashness, and start searching the area. They soon find a folded paper on the bloodied ground, and as Price opens it, he finds Ghost's dog tag. It is then revealed that Makarov took Ghost's body, as he is seen dragging it towards a cliff. There, he rendezvous with a team of Ghosts led by Captain Merrick, and hands them over Ghost's body.
In a twist of events at a later time, Ghost is revealed to be still alive (likely brought back to life by the Ghosts through unknown means). He arrives in Texas after Price and his team were ambushed by Templar, Dame and Rorke. He is also accompanied by the Ghosts' German Shepherd Riley.
Ghost then tells Templar that they have a score to settle--so Templar throws his knife at him, but he manages to swivel it around his wrist and throw it back, hitting Rorke in his forearm. He then tells his fellow Ghosts to secure Rorke and the facility while he deals with Templar.
"Mission failed, we'll get 'em next time!"
"The Russians ain't gonna let this massacre go unanswered. It's gonna get bloody."
"And they're killing a thousand Americans for every dead civilian in Moscow. Looks like we're all out of friends."
"Let's do this!"
"All we got out of Rojas, is that the only guy Makarov hates worse than Americans is locked up in a gulag.
"Bloody yanks! I thought they were the good guys!"
"We have a nuclear missile launch! Missile in the air! Missile in the air! Code Black! Code Black!"