The origin of ‘Press F to Pay Respects’

Where does this phrase come from?
Screengrab via Activision

“Press F to pay respects”, originated from the 2014 Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. During a cutscene, players are tasked with pressing the F key to touch a soldier’s coffin during a funeral in order to pay respects the only way they can.

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The Call of Duty franchise has generated many memes in its long history. But none can hold a candle to the outlandishly popular “Press F to Pay Respects” meme from Advanced Warfare.

The most common use of the meme is sarcastically when a speedrunner or streamer pulls off an epic fail, although there have been times when “F” has been more sincere. Seeing “F” in a stream is now so commonplace that many probably don’t even know the meme initially came from a game. “Remember, No Russian” from Modern Warfare changed and shifted to create many popular memes, including “Remember, no pre-orders.”

Where exactly does this phrase come from in Call of Duty? And how can you find it?

Where does “Press F to Pay Respects” come from?

In 2014, Activision released Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The game provided fans with the usual features of Call of Duty games, including single-player campaigns, multiplayer, and zombies. And, inadvertently, it gave birth to one of the biggest video game memes ever.

In the game’s campaign (which begins in 2054), you play as United States Marine Corps Private First Class Jack Mitchell, fighting off North Korean invaders as well as terrorist organizations that are trying to take down everything in their sight.

Toward the end of the first mission, Mitchell’s best friend, Private Will Irons, died in action. He gets his arm stuck in a vehicle that blows up, but Irons pushes Mitchell away before it detonates. Irons saves Mitchell at the cost of his own life, while Mitchell loses his left arm.

After you complete the campaign’s first mission, you attend Irons’ funeral. During this cutscene, the game prompts you to press a button to pay your respects to your fallen comrade.

view of the coffin and the prompt on PC saying to press F to pay respects
Screengrab via Activision

In the PC version of the game, the F key is the chosen button, so a “Press F to Pay Respects” notification appears on the screen.

The scene was heavily criticized, but content creators still found a way to create parody videos, draw hilarious comics, and make memes. So, the next time you see a Twitch chat flooded with Fs, remember that everyone is paying their respects.

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Adam Newell
If it has anything to do with Nintendo and Pokémon chances are you will see me talking about it, covering, and likely not sleeping while playing it.
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Adam Snavely
Associate Editor and Apex Legends Lead. From getting into fights over Madden and FIFA with his brothers to interviewing some of the best esports figures in the world, Adam has always been drawn to games with a competitive nature. You'll usually find him on Apex Legends (World's Edge is the best map, no he's not arguing with you about it), but he also dabbles in VALORANT, Super Smash Bros. Melee, CS:GO, Pokemon, and more. Ping an R-301.