The character is said to have been based upon British SAS soldier John McAleese, who was involved in the Iranian Embassy siege and also co-hosted the television series SAS: Are You Tough Enough? in 2003. He is also a reference to a similarly looking character in the famous war film A Bridge Too Far. Price's callsign, Bravo Six, is a direct reference to the 1986 war movie Platoon, in which Captain Harris' callsign is exactly the same as Price's. John Price was voiced by actor Billy Murray, while Price from World War II was voiced by Michael Gough.
In an interview with Sami Onur, a character designer for Infinity Ward, the explanation was provided that John Price is the grandson of the Price who appeared in early Call of Duty games, though this has not yet been confirmed by Infinity Ward staff. In the early developments of Modern Warfare 2 (MW2), Price was scheduled to be the player's commander, not "Soap" MacTavish, as he was supposed to be the playable character instead of Roach. This is further explained in the artbook for MW2. A character named Master Sergeant "Sandman" appears in Modern Warfare 3 as Delta Team’s leader. He is described by Robert Bowling as the equivalent to an “American Captain Price”.
Price always plays a leadership role in the series, training protagonists like Soap, as well as leading army units and SAS squads. Both Prices are very skilled marksmen, as shown by sniping missions in every Call of Duty 1 and 2 mission of the British campaigns, and in Modern Warfare missions "All Ghillied Up", "One Shot, One Kill", "Contingency", "Stronghold", and "Endgame"; the Modern Warfare incarnation has destroyed at least two different helicopters with single shots. Both incarnations are also skilled in stealth and infiltration, having achievements such as sabotaging a Nazi battleship in World War II, attempting an assassination in Pripyat, and infiltrating an American base in Afghanistan. Price is also a master hand-to-hand combatant, boxer, and knife fighter in exceptional physical condition for a man of his age; at the end of Modern Warfare 2, Price engages the antagonist, General Shepherd, in a brutal fistfight and is able to distract him for well over a minute before Soap can catch him off guard and kill him. If the player uses hacking to watch the entire fight, it can be clearly seen that Price is free of the consistent punching, suggesting he may not have originally needed help before release. He is also shown to possess excellent athletic skills. In the mission "Just Like Old Times", he kills a U.S. Special Operations combatant by stealthily rappelling down and stabbing him. In missions like "Dust to Dust", he performs long-distance jumps even when hampered with heavy gear.
Price is known as grumpy and serious in every mission, nonetheless cracking insults and jokes along the way. At the beginning of every British campaign, Price will razz the protagonist with these insults, such as the way he mocks Soap and casts doubt on his skills and ability to pass as an SAS, or how he yells at Davis for not taking cover from German fire. These insults, combined with his crude English accent, make up many of the series' memorable quotes. As the player progresses, the relationship between Price and the protagonist strengthens to the point of friendship. World War II Price provides covering fire for Sgt. Davis during their retreat from Amaye sur Seulles, and notably saves his friend Sgt. Evans by sacrificing himself as a shield against oncoming Nazi fire. In Modern Warfare 3, John Price mourns the loss of Soap and the Task Force, grieving over his fallen friends and teammates, and later exacts revenge on the men who killed them, despite peace being made.
Although ruthless and merciless at times, Price demonstrates morality and high principles, such as refusing to harm surrendering enemy soldiers, covering the retreat of allied forces at great personal risk, risking detection by the enemy to save innocent civilians, and taking great pains to avoid harming civilians himself.
Chronologically, World War II Captain Price firstly appeared in the battle of Pegasus Bridge in Call of Duty 1. Secondly appeared on October 29, 1942 in Call of Duty 2. He was leading the 7th Armoured Division as part of the Second Battle of El Alamein. Their mission was to destroy enemy supply depot and acquire any enemy documents. After succeeding their mission, the division is immediately redeployed to defend a small town 30 miles south of El Alamein. After this Price and the 7th Armoured Division took part in Operation Supercharge on November 3, 1942, to secure the gaps in the antitank minefield, so that the British armour can pass through safely. They then successfully charged through the trenches, taking out many Flak 88 crews along the way. They then rallied at the German communications outpost, where news of the success was broadcast back to headquarters. It was followed by an assault on El Daba which Price had only a small part. In March 10, 1943, they were stationed ahead of the main force of the 7th Armoured Division at Toujane in Tunisia and awaiting the reinforcements. They quickly find themselves overwhelmed by a German counterattack, and are forced to retreat. Price, with his squad consisting of Pvt. MacGregor and Sgt. Davis, tried to commandeer a German Armoured Car and attempt to drive out of Toujane. After the armoured car they were riding on hits a mine, they retreat by foot, meeting up with some other men from the 7th Armoured Division, and escape via a German truck. In the retreat some of Price's men were cut off, and despite MacGregor protests, Price realized that even if they turned back to get the men, they would all be overwhelmed. The assault on Matmata on March 30, 1943 was the last of the campaign. The division were ambushed before entering, leaving Price and his men to fight their way in and through the town, Price and MacGregor provide covering fire as Davis takes out the German dive bombing planes, after this the team collects all intel and supplies before moving out of Matmata and ending the North African Campaign.
After the victory in North Africa he served at Pegasus Bridge on the 5th and 6 June 1944 with fellow soldier Sgt. Evans. After the gliders that brought them in landed, Price ordered Evans to suppress a bunker before preceding. They successfully held the bridge until they were relieved by friendlies. A week after the D-Day landings the Allied forces were struggling in the Battle for Caen. To break the stalemate, the 7th Armoured Division including Captain Price were brought in. They started off by securing the village of Beltot 18 miles east of Caen. Price orders Davis and MacGregor to get a German truck to evacuate the soldiers, stating that he is almost envious that for the American prisoners, the war is over. A German counter-attack left them pinned down in the barn by a German Tiger Tank. Captain Price kept calm despite morale running low, and they were saved when the RAF took out the Tiger. They kept moving in toward Caen and by midday on June 12, 1944 they arrived at St. Louet, 15 miles east of Caen. However, due to the loss of the tanks because of another German Tiger tank, they were ordered to pull back to Caumout. While retreating they came under heavy mortar fire. They held their own at Amaye sur Seulles and managed to assist the rest of the division in retreating to Caumout.
Captain Price was transferred to the SAS. At some point, during an unspecified mission, Price's plane was shot down behind enemy lines in Austria. Price was captured, and he was taken to a chateau in the Alps. He was rescued by 101st Airborne Division on August 7, 1944. Later, on September 2, 1944, Price was sent to the Eder Dam in a special operation to destroy the anti-air defenses and the electrical generators. Sgt. Waters, a member of the SAS, assisted the two by helping Price steal an Opel Blitz truck filled with Panzerfausts. Price then makes a getaway from the dam to the airfield. At the airfield, he defends Evans with a Bren Gun while the latter mounted a Flakvierling stationed at the airfield. They were then successfully extracted. Price's final mission on October 27, 1944, was to sabotage the Tirpitz, a German battleship that was considered a threat by the RAF. He used his knowledge of German language and forged papers to infiltrate the battleship along with Sgt. Evans. Evans and Price then managed to get to the armory. Unfortunately, after another soldier checked the duo's papers at the armory, Price killed him and blew their cover. While attempting to defend Evans as he planted explosives on the ship's boilers, he was surrounded and killed. This is the first mission in the Call of Duty series where a main character is scripted to die. Video game easter eggs show him in the Modern Warfare series. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, an emblem features World War II Captain Price, while there is an achievement/trophy named Blackjack. In the achievement/trophy picture, there is a playing card with a picture of World War II Price.
Another Price, now named John Price, appeared in the Modern Warfare series set in a more contemporary setting taking place in the early 21st century. Price is a Captain in the 22nd SAS Regiment and the commanding officer of Gaz, player character John "Soap" MacTavish, and their squad, designated Bravo Team. He leads the team to investigate an Ultranationalist cargo ship sailing in the Bering Strait. Price then rescues a Russian democratic loyalist named Nikolai from a Russian prison camp, and escapes a helicopter crash caused by a GAM with the support of an AC-130 gunship. Meanwhile, insurgent leader Khaled Al-Asad seizes power in an unnamed Middle-Eastern country and executes its president, Yasir Al-Fulani. The United States Marine Corps invades the country to depose Al-Asad and restore order to the region. However, a rigged nuke hidden in the capital is detonated (presumably by Al-Asad, but it is eventually discovered to have been done by Vladmir Makarov), killing 30,000 Marines. Captain Price leads the squad to capture Al-Asad, who is revealed to work for Ultranationalist leader Imran Zakhaev. Price executes Al-Asad and reveals that he and his commanding officer Captain MacMillan attempted to assassinate Zakhaev in 1996, but only managed to shoot off his left arm. Eight hours later, Ultranationalist infantry and armor corners Bravo Team, however they are rescued by Marines led by SSgt. Griggs. The SAS and Marines form a Joint Task Force Operation Group and attempt to capture Zakhaev's son, Victor Zakhaev, to learn of his father's whereabouts. However, the cornered Victor shoots himself, rendering their efforts pointless and angering Zakhaev even more. He plans to retaliate by launching ICBMs armed with nuclear warheads at the East Coast of the United States. Price and Bravo Team head to the Altai Mountains to infiltrate the base containing the ICBMs and prevent their launch, but two missiles are launched. He and his team upload the abort codes, destroying the nukes over the Atlantic. In their attempt to escape via enemy vehicles, they are cut off by a Hind gunship and forced to stand their ground in a collapsing bridge while waiting for rescue. A tanker truck explodes, badly wounding Price and the others. Griggs is killed by enemy gun fire, and Zakhaev arrives and executes Gaz. Before Soap can be executed, Price manages to slide his M1911 to Soap, who kills Zakhaev and his two bodyguards. Afterwards, the Loyalists arrive and extract the heavily wounded Soap.
In 2016, five years after the events of the first game, Price has been incarcerated in a Russian gulag in the Kamchatka Peninsula after an attempt to capture Ultranationalist leader and terrorist Vladimir Makarov gone awry. During his imprisonment, Makarov starts a war between Russia and America by slaughtering hundreds of Russian civilians at an airport and leaving the dead body of CIA operative Joseph Allen to be used as a scapegoat. International special ops unit Task Force 141, led by Lieutenant General Shepherd and consisting of Soap (now a captain), Lieutenant Simon "Ghost" Riley and Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson, successfully rescues Price from the gulag. He agrees to join the unit and leads the team to help save Washington, D.C. from a Russian invasion by using a submarine to launch a submarine-launched ballistic missile, creating an EMP that cripples vehicles, GPS, and electronic equipment on both sides, giving the Americans an advantage (and accidentally destroying the ISS in the process). However, during an arms deal that is raided by Price and Soap, they are betrayed by Shepherd, who has secretly masterminded the war between America and Russia with the goal of restoring America as a military superpower with him as its hero. Shepherd personally murders Roach and Ghost and orders his men to kill Price and Soap, however they escape the trap. Price asks Makarov for information, and he reluctantly reveals the location of Shepherd's mountain base in eastern Afghanistan. Price and Soap head to Shepherd's base, intending to kill him. Shepherd attempts to flee on a speedboat and manages to reach a helicopter, but Price disables it by shooting its rotor blades shortly before going over a waterfall. Just as Shepherd is about to kill Soap, Price intervenes and enables Soap to kill him. The two are then evacuated by their old friend Nikolai, who informs them of a potential hiding place. During the course of the betrayal, Price and Soap are labeled as war criminals, and the Task Force is disavowed.
Price and Nikolai arrive at a safehouse in India with a critically wounded Soap. Price enlists the aid of Yuri, an ex-Spetsnaz with a grudge against Makarov, MacMillan from Price's assassination mission, now running SAS operations under the callsign "Baseplate"; and Delta Force operative Master Sergeant "Sandman". The now-disavowed Task Force 141 follows their first lead to Africa, but is unable to stop Makarov from unleashing a biological weapon on Europe and escalating the conflict into World War III. Capturing a Somalian warlord named Waraabe, they learn the location of Makarov's bomb maker, Volk. Price passes the information to Sandman, who then goes to Paris and captures Volk. Volk reveals that Makarov will be meeting his top lieutenants at the Hotel Lustig in Prague, Czech Republic. Price and the 141 attempt to assassinate Makarov. However, Makarov, aware of the assassination plan, reveals that Yuri is a former associate of his before detonating a trap and killing Soap. A furious Price confronts Yuri at gunpoint, who reveals that he was one of Makarov's top lieutenants until he became disillusioned with Makarov's increasingly extremist tactics. When Makarov decided to massacre hundreds of civilians at Zakhaev International Airport, Yuri betrayed him, but was shot and left for dead. Price reluctantly spares Yuri and forms another plan to kill Makarov. With intelligence from Yuri and MacMillan he sneaks into a castle in the Russian-occupied Czech Republic that is being used as an Ultranationalist hideout. Yuri and Price discover that Alena Vorshevsky, daughter of the kidnapped Russian president, is hiding in Berlin and that the Ultranationalist Russians plan to capture her. Sandman unsuccessfully attempts to rescue her, but learns that she and her father are being held in a diamond mine in Siberia. Delta Force and Task Force 141 team up and rescue the president and Alena, but Sandman and his fireteam are wiped out while buying Price and Yuri time to escape. Due to their actions, the war between Russia and the west is ended and Price's name is cleared. Three months later, Price and Yuri suit up in full Juggernaut gear and assault Makarov's hotel hideout. During the assault, Yuri is seriously wounded and urges Price to continue without him. Price reaches the roof, disables Makarov's escape helicopter, and confronts him. Makarov attempts to kill Price, but Yuri intervenes at the cost of his own life. Price springs up and wraps cables around Makarov's throat before plunging him through a glass roof, hanging him. Price, satisfied with his revenge, lights a cigar as police sirens are heard in the background.
By the end of the series, Captain Price is one of two surviving members of Task Force 141, alongside Nikolai, and one of five surviving members of the SAS involvement with Zakhaev and Makarov, along with Nikolai, Captain MacMillan, Burns and Wallcroft.
An Xbox 360 avatar based upon Captain Price is available for purchase. Machinima posted a video in YouTube entitled "Captain Price Plays Halo 3", part of their Call of Duty and Halo crossover series, with other Call of Duty characters portrayed playing Halo. He also appears in a fan made prequel entitled "Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish", which was first shown at Call of Duty XP. The video was produced by We Can Pretend and was endorsed by Activision. It shows Task Force 141 and Delta Force participating in an assault on a Ukrainian compound, with the objective of finding an unidentified High-Value Target code-named Kingfish, who is later revealed to be Vladimir Makarov. It also shows the team leaving Captain Price behind, leading to his future incarceration in a Siberian Gulag.
The character was well received by video game publications and fans alike. This praise included Captain Price being ranked as eight on Game Informer's list of "30 Characters Who Defined a Decade" and voted as 17th top video game character of all time in Guinness World Records 2011 Gamers' Edition. He was also one of the 64 characters chosen for GameSpot's "All-Time Greatest Sidekick" poll, while voted as the eighth-top character of the 2000s decade by Game Informer's readers, and Complex in 2013 ranked Price as the 26th greatest soldier in video games. In 2008, The Age ranked Price as the eighth-greatest Xbox character of all time, calling him "the most familiar of the Call of Duty supporting cast and a damn fine army man indeed" and saying "What a guy; what a [mous]'tache." A GamesRadar's article demanded "a whole game" exclusively starring Price because "Call of Duty 4 's best dialogue comes from Captain Price" as well as its "best missions are the ones in which you play as Captain Price." GamesRadar's staff further placed him at number 41 in a list of the 50 best game characters of the generation, commenting, "Arguably no other character in the history of games goes harder than Captain John Price. ... Truly, the man is a badass." He was also ranked as the 48th "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in video games history.