The Call Of Duty series is a popular first person shooter franchise that dates back to 2003. Since then, Call Of Duty has gone on to become one of the most successful video game franchises in history, with each new game since Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare selling millions of copies.
Call of Duty was created by Infinity Ward, a studio founded in 2002 by Vince Zampella, Jason West, and Grant Collier. Originally a single-player focused World War II series, Call of Duty has expanded to cover Cold War, modern day, and science fiction settings. The games have been praised for their dramatic campaigns and deep multiplayer modes offering extensive class customization, as well as for their visual fidelity and framerate.
In addition to the Infinity Ward-developed titles, other games in the series have been developed by studios such as Spark Unlimited, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer Games.
World War II
Release Date: October 29, 2003
Platforms: PC, XBLM, PSN
Call of Duty was released on October 29, 2003. It is a World War II first-person shooter published by Activision and developed by Infinity Ward. The first game lets the player see the conflict from three sides, the Americans, the British, and the Soviets. As the Americans the player is a US pathfinder on D-Day, parachuting into Normandy. In the British campaign, you play a member of the 6th airborne division capturing the Pegasus bridge, and the Soviets as a member of the 13th Guards Rifle Division during the Battle of Stalingrad.
Call of Duty for the Nokia N-Gage features a stripped down retelling of the adventure from the PC game while mixing in a few unique missions. One mission, Pezenskaia, would actually get recycled and used as a full blown mission in Call of Duty 2.
This game in the series is an expansion to the first Call of Duty released on September 24, 2004. Continuing from the first game it is a World War II first-person shooter, published by Activision but developed this time by Gray Matter Interactive and Pi Studios. United Offensive lets players once again see conflict from the perspective of three allied forces; United States Paratrooper (as Cpl. Scott Riley), British SAS Commando (as Sgt. James Doyle) and a Soviet Infantryman (as Pvt. Yuri Petrenko). CoD: UO, as it is sometimes referred to, also takes players across some historic battles such as the Battle of the Bulge and Battle of Kursk amongst others.
Release Date: October 25, 2005
Platforms: Xbox 360, PC
Call of Duty 2's single player campaign follows four soldiers--one Russian, one American, and two British--through the Eastern Front, Northern Africa, Normandy, and over the Rhine River. The game had the first popular multiplayer in the series, and it was a successful launch title for the Xbox 360.
Release Date: November 7, 2006
Platforms: PS2, Xbox 360, Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox
Treyarch developed the numbered follow-up to Call of Duty 3. It is based on the Normandy breakout where Canadian, British and American soldiers and the French Resistance had to defend the Falaise Gap as the Germans tried to cross it. The player gets to see the battles through each of the four factions defending the town of Chambois. The multiplayer introduced vehicles for the first time in the series.
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Developed by Sledgehammer Games, Call of Duty: WWII brought the series back to the titular war for the first time since 2008's Call of Duty: World At War.
Release Date: November 5, 2007
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, PC, Mac
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare changes the standard setting of World War II and places the action in a more modern setting. Like many of the previous games in the series the player gets to see the combat from different perspectives. The view can change from a member of the British SAS to a United States Marine. The missions take place during a fictional war in the near future between the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia, all three fighting against Russian ultra-nationalists after a civil war has torn Russia apart.
A new feature to the game’s multiplayer is the addition of a unique leveling-up RPG-like experience point system. This new addition allows players to gain experience points (XP) and use that XP to not only gain rank, but to also unlock new weapons, weapon attachments, weapon camouflages and equipment. The game features a level-cap of 55, but Infinity Ward has added a feature, Prestige Mode, to the console versions to satisfy those who want to go above and beyond. Essentially, when players hit the level-cap of 55, they are given an option: they can either remain at level 55, or enter Prestige Mode. Prestige Mode basically is a “start over” button where players rollback to level 1 and start all over again. They retain none of the perks, guns, or equipment they had previously gained through those 54 levels.
COD4 allows players to go through 10 levels of Prestige, each with their specific emblem. That lets players hit a level of 495. In addition to the XP system, the game also allows players to create their own specific class using Perks. There are three categories of Perks that players can choose from, with different perks within each category. These Perks vary from category to category. For example, the Perk 1 category mainly revolves around what type of equipment your created class can carry, be it claymores, C4 or RPGs. The remaining two Perk categories largely affect your class’ specific gameplay attributes. These Perks include the ability to reload your gun faster, take more damage, or even to carry two primary weapons.
The different Perks categories are divided in such a way as to not allow any player to gain a vastly significant advantage over any other player. For example, players can’t create a class that uses the Juggernaut perk (increased health) AND the Stopping Power perk (increased bullet damage). The game allows players to create up to five separate custom classes. This gives players the ability to create custom classes better suited for different game types without having to constantly change their perks. For example, players may simply switch from their “Stealth” class after playing Search and Destroy to their “One Man Army” class when they hop into Deathmatch. Infinity Ward’s inclusion of the Perks system allows for a varied and unique online gameplay experience.
In addition to the XP and Perks systems, Infinity Ward also added their own ‘Achievement’-like system into the multiplayer. The achievements, called challenges, vary in both difficulty and type. Some are strictly based on how many kills you can get with a single gun, while others are more focused on gameplay. Example of this type of achievement are stabbing 5 enemies in a row without dying, or killing an enemy by shooting his own C4. Accomplishing these in-game achievements also give you XP, helping to boost your overall multiplayer rank.
COD4 was the first game in the series to have killstreak rewards. Getting 3 kills in one life grants a UAV that will mark enemies on the map for the entire team for a short duration; 5 kills grants an airstrike that hits the location the player targets; and 7 kills grants a helicopter that hovers around the map for a limited time attacking enemy players.
Call of Duty 4 was a significant turning point for the series, causing every future entry in the franchise to have a much bigger emphasis on competitive multiplayer and also inspiring other developers to incorporate multiplayer in their games as well.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for the Nintendo DS is a companion storyline for its larger scaled counterpart. Through the perspectives of other Marines and special forces operatives, the player partakes in missions occurring concurrent with the primary storyline.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
An updated version of COD4 was released for Xbox One, PS4, and PC as a bundled item with the Legacy Edition of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. It was later released as a standalone, digital-only game. It features higher quality graphics and features introduced in later games, including microtransactions.
Release Date: November 10, 2009
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Modern Warfare 2, the sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, sold nearly 5 million copies within the first 24 hours of release. It became the largest entertainment launch in history grossing $310 million in the first day and has now reached 14 million copies sold.
As with Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2 has you control multiple characters following different stories. You begin with a tutorial as Private First Class Joseph Allen in Afghanistan but are soon fighting around the world from Brazil to Russia and even at the White House in the USA.
The multiplayer in Modern Warfare 2 expands greatly on the revolutionary multiplayer in Call of Duty 4. It introduces many new perks, challenges, killstreak rewards among other things. The level cap has been changed from 55 to 70 and remained at 10 possible prestiges. The multiplayer also introduces titles and emblems which are unlocked by completing different tasks during games. This allows players to personalize their profile. Call of Duty 4 consisted of three basic, non-adjustable, killstreaks; Modern Warfare 2 introduces 12 new killstreaks and keeps the 3 from Call of Duty 4. These killstreaks range from 2 to 25 kills and are unlocked throughout leveling up.
Spec Ops is a new game mode that resembles the Mile High Club from Call of Duty 4. There are 23 different missions that can be done solo, however are designed to be done with a partner. These missions range from a snow mobile race to stealthing into a military base or providing AC-130 support as your partner moves through hostile territory. There are five different groups of missions: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo and consists of 3 difficulties: regular, hardened and veteran which award 1, 2 and 3 stars respectively. There are a total of 69 stars to be earned which isn't an easy task.
Modern Warfare 2 was controversial for its inclusion of a mission titled "No Russian," in which players, taking on the role of a CIA agent undercover with a group of terrorists, is asked to commit a mass shooting in a public airport. The mission can be skipped with no consequence should the player choose to do so.
Two multiplayer map packs were released for Modern Warfare 2.
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
The third Modern Warfare was developed by three studios: Infinity Ward, Raven Software and new studio Sledgehammer Games. The player joins Soap MacTavish and Captain Price as they stop Vladimir Makarov, who continues his terrorist actions across Europe. As with previous iterations players control multiple protagonists as the story switches perspectives.
The cooperative Special Ops mode returns with an additional game mode called Survival, in which up to two players try to survive against increasingly difficult waves of enemies.
Release Date: October 25, 2019
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a reboot of the Modern Warfare series by Infinity Ward.
Release Date: November 11, 2008
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, PC
The seventh game in the Call of Duty series, developed by Treyarch (developers of Call of Duty: United Offensive, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One and Call of Duty 3). Featuring two campaigns set across the Pacific and European theaters in World War II. The first details the story of a young Marine throughout the island hopping campaign in the Pacific while the second has the player experiencing the European Easter Front as seen through the eyes of a soldier in the Soviet Army. Keifer Sutherland, star of the television show 24, voices a character in the game. The campaign can also be played cooperatively.
Call of Duty: World at War's multiplayer is very similar to the system that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare used. A few changes include a level cap of 65 (up from 55), prestige now gives you extra custom classes, to a maximum of 10, and obviously new guns and perks. World at War was the first game to feature the Nazi Zombies mode, which would be immensely popular and a staple of future Treyarch-developed Call of Duty games.
World at War also had three map packs to support the game after launch, with each one containing three multiplayer maps and one Nazi Zombie map.
Exclusively available for the PS2, Final Fronts is a companion adventure to the main World at War title.
- Call of Duty: World at War (DS)
Like the Nintendo DS incarnation of Modern Warfare, World at War is a new adventure surrounding the events of the higher end version. Using an upgraded revision of the engine from Modern Warfare, online multiplayer is now possible.
Release Date: November 9, 2010
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Call of Duty: Black Ops takes place in the same universe as World At War, but is mostly set in the 1960s. The story is told through flashbacks that Alex Mason relives while being interrogated for information.
The multiplayer expands on the formula established by Modern Warfare 2 but also has some new features, with one of the biggest new additions being currency that is used to buy weapons, attachments, equipment, perks, and more. After a match, players earn a certain amount currency but they can also earn some through Wager Matches, which are unique game modes in which players must buy in with their currency and risk losing it.
Black Ops brings back the popular Nazi Zombies mode from World at War. At release the game included two maps: Kino Der Toten (Theater Of The Dead) and a map called "Five", which is only unlocked after beating the campaign. "Five" takes place inside the Pentagon, and the four playable characters are John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro. In addition, a hidden arcade-style game called Dead Ops Arcade can be found in the Zombies menu after it's discovered by the player.
Two DLC packs have been released for Black Ops. Both of them include four multiplayer maps and one Zombies map.
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U
Black Ops II is the first game in the franchise to take place in the near future, specifically 2025. Players take control of David Mason (son of Alex Mason from the first Black Ops) and attempt to stop an attack on the U.S. unmanned drone fleet from terrorist/drug lord/internet 99% revolutionary Raul Menendez, who is fleshed out with playable flashbacks to Menendez's interactions with Alex Mason and Frank Woods, told from Woods's perspective.
The multiplayer sees some changes to the traditional formula. Specifically, Create-A-Class has been turned into a slot based system, in which players use up to 10 tokens to outfit their class however they see fit. For example, one can chose to not take a primary weapon in order to have an extra perk, and so on. Black Ops II also introduces a new feature called "CODcasting" that allows players to livestream matches directly through the game and provide commentary for the audience watching.
Black Ops II also sees the return of Zombies mode from previous Treyarch titles with "Tranzit" featuring a bus that transports players to multiple areas within a large map, as well as traditional survival modes and a new co-operative/competitive eight-player "Grief" mode.
Release Date: November 16, 2004
Platforms: PS2, GameCube, Xbox
Developed by Spark Unlimited, Call of Duty: Finest Hour features the perspectives of the Eastern, Western, and North African fronts. In the Eastern Campaign the player sees the war through Pvt. Alexsandr Sokolov and Russian sniper Lt. Pavelovna as they defend a Russian tank factory. The player can also experience the war as Nikolai Badanov and his attempts to secure the Red Square. The British campaign puts the players in the shoes of Edward Carlyle during a nighttime raid in Africa to destroy a German fuel depot. The final campaign shows the war through the eyes of D-Day veteran Chuck Walker as he tries to capture Aachen, and as M4 Sherman tank commander Sam Rivers and the defense of Bastogne.
Release Date: November 1, 2005
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One was released for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and the second game not to appear on the PC. This was also the first call of duty title developed by Treyarch. In this game the player becomes a member of the Big Red One, and follows the operations of the team through Africa, Sicily, and Europe during Operation: Overlord. This is the first game in the series that kept the player as one person and did not give the opportunity to play as the Russians or the British.
Release Date: March 13, 2007
Call of Duty: Roads to Victory is the second handheld spinoff for the franchise and the first Call of Duty game to appear on PSP. It lets the player control three different allied soldiers from Canadian, American, and British forces. Each side gets their own missions based on real battles: the Americans go through Operation Market Garden, Operation Avalanche, and Operation Detroit; the Canadians through The Battle of the Scheldt, Operation Infatuate, and Operation Blockbuster; and the British through Operation Market Garden and Operation Varsity.