Call of Duty is perhaps one of the most iconic and widely played franchises in all gaming and throughout the years, it has developed into something completely different from what it started off as. Let’s dive into the evolution of the first Call of Duty game released in 2003 to the most recent updates in the series.
Call of Duty (2003)
Call of Duty was the first game that dared to depict the battlefield of a world war in the game. As you will see, the franchise chose to continue with this ‘World war’, formula for a long while before the release of the Modern Warfare games. This is because, as a player, venturing through a devastated battlefield while avoiding enemy attacks and trying to take out the enemies was just something that sat well with many players at the time and kept them captivated for a long time.
Call of Duty 2 (2005)
Call of Duty 2 was the long-awaited sequel to Call of Duty and followed the same narrative of having players fight during the world war alongside other NPCs to take out enemies. What set this game apart from others of its time was the experienced cast of voice actors, most of which had been part of other world war-themed games in the year of its release.
Call of Duty 3 (2006)
Perhaps one of the most amazing additions to the series, Call of Duty 3, followed the same storyline of having players fight during the world wars. What made this addition amazing was that it had all the good things its predecessors had, slightly better graphics, and was developed in only three months, so players practically did not have to wait very long.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
Call of Duty 4 was the first game in the franchise that drifted away from the theme set by the previous games. As the name would suggest, the game was able to introduce the concept of war happening in the 2010s rather than exploring the 1940s again, which was done in previous games. This was also the first game with a rating of M (Mature) due to its more visible bloodshed when shot, whereas all previous titles were rated T (Teen).
Call of Duty: World at War (2008)
The release of World at War saw a return to the world war era for the franchise. This game included a bunch of references to some world war heroes to make it more iconic, like having to save Private Ryan in a particular mission, which is a clear reference to the film: Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
Modern Warfare 2 was perhaps the game that decided where the franchise wanted to head next after 2009. The game’s developer pulled out all the stops with this game, giving it advanced weapons, much better gameplay and a legendary soundtrack by none other than Hans Zimmer. Players were placed in an urban setting with pretty advanced weapons compared to the single-barrel shotguns in the world war games.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)
Black Ops was the game that broke all previous records set by previous titles. Even though the game was the first of its kind with much more tactical gameplay rather than just straight-out war, the game sold more than 5.6 million copies in the US and UK as soon as it went on sale. It is one of the most iconic games of the year, which was insanely popular with many players.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011)
Modern Warfare 3 was the title, after which the developers decided to take a break from the Modern Warfare storyline and focus on other titles like Black Ops. Not much changed in the game’s mechanics, but this was one of the best games in Call of Duty, thanks to its amazing ending where Captain Price just passes out from his wounds, and it seems as though the hero has finally passed.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012)
Black Ops 2 was, as the name suggests, the sequel to Black Ops and was extremely popular with the Call of Duty fanbase. However, this title had Activision face legal issues with the person they had named the protagonist after. Nonetheless, it introduced the use of horses and fighting in the wild, which was a first for the Call of Duty franchise.
Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013)
Call of Duty Ghosts was perhaps the first title in the franchise that was heavily criticised by players right after its launch. This was due to the sudden changes in game mechanics, glitches, and bugs that the game’s developers failed to foresee. As such, the game was said to have a sequel planned, which was cancelled after the huge backlash.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014)
Advanced Warfare was not how the players wanted it to be. Players were expecting a classic, war-torn ground with you being one of the soldiers in the battle. However, Advanced Warfare turned out to be a more futuristic approach to the series, with your character being able to vault across walls and fly using their high-tech gadgets. This was one of the most controversial titles in the series, even though it had not discerned differences from its predecessors.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (2015)
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 took the biggest time leap for the Call of Duty franchise to date, as there was a huge 40-year gap between the time period Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 3 were based in. This meant the game featured the most advanced and coolest-looking weapons the players had seen in the franchise. Thanks to Advanced Warfare, this did not come as a surprise for most players, as the preceding title followed a similar narrative.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016)
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, released in 2016, was the peak of the futuristic fictional route the franchise was taking. It featured a bunch of different advanced guns and weapons the player could wield, including the iconic laser guns. However, the game did not hit the spot for Call of Duty fans and was heavily criticised due to the changes it made in its gameplay, such as vaulting over walls, which didn’t sit well with most players.
Call of Duty: World War II (2017)
World War II was perhaps the best return to the classic world war setting the series had started with. The game included features that were not seen in world war games before that time, including a stealth section requiring you to tactically take out some opponents without being seen and a section where you could play as a female heroine.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018)
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was released in 2018 and was the first game in the franchise to include a Battle Royale mode where a boatload of players were placed on a map, and the last survivor would win. Furthermore, this was the first game that did not have a single-player campaign mode, which meant it missed out on the huge audience that usually bought these games for the sake of their story.
Call of Duty Mobile (2019)
Since its release, Call of Duty Mobile has made a huge name for itself in the mobile gaming community. This was the game that allowed players that did not have consoles or PCs to delve into the world of Call of Duty at will. As such, there were some huge changes to the overall gameplay as the game had to be made playable on a touch screen rather than the conventional keyboard and mouse or controllers. The game’s developers thought it’s best to have all the relevant actions your character can perform as small buttons on the screen for players to interact with.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a soft reboot of the original Modern Warfare released in 2007, with the main storyline revolving around Captain Price and his task force 141. Although a lot of the same characters, game mechanics, characters (Like Captain Price), and ideas were in use for the remake, both the Modern Warfares were set in different timelines and had a completely different story to one another. This was Activision’s way of cashing in on its previously successful titles.
Call of Duty: Warzone (2020)
Call of Duty: Warzone was Activision’s attempt to take advantage of the Battle Royale format that had become incredibly popular since the release of Black Ops 4. The game was originally named Magma at the time of its development, but the developers eventually settled for Warzone and had a bunch of futuristic weapons very similar to those in Advanced Warfare.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (2020)
Black Ops Cold War was also released in 2020. Until now, all the popular Black Ops titles had seen really good character design and the actors used to play them. However, Activision spent a lot more time on the level design and graphics for this game than the character design. Unfortunately, the game had a bunch of laggy cutscenes and would just freeze at random places, which would require you to restart your system completely at times to get everything to work again — an amazing game ruined for many by a laggy experience.
Call of Duty: Vanguard (2021)
Vanguard saw a return to the World War II era, where players are able to fight in the Eastern and Western fronts of Europe, the Pacific, and North Africa. The game was not as successful as 2019 Modern Warfare due to short and underwhelming campaigns and laggy multiplayer mode, which ruined the experience for a lot of players who were really looking forward to diving into the game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022)
Modern Warfare 2, released in 2022, had the players fight in multiple fictional locations, such as the Mexican city of Las Almas, the Gulf of Mexico, Chicago, Uzbekistan, and the new United Republic of Adal. However, despite the game’s elaborate design, consistent bugs and glitches in the game eventually earned it its fair share of criticism.
Call of Duty: Warzone 2 (2022)
Also released in 2022, Call of Duty Warzone 2 placed the players in the fictional location of Al Mazrah’s metropolitan area. The game primarily focused on the Battle Royale mode where players parachute onto the designated location, have to eliminate any enemies in the vicinity and the one who stays alive till the end is the winner.
The Call of Duty franchise is perhaps one of the most prominent in gaming, with anyone even remotely familiar with gaming having played at least one of the titles. The franchise has seen huge success and has introduced a bunch of new modes as time passes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Total Call of Duty Games Have Been Released?
A total of 22 Call of Duty games have been released since the start of the franchise. Some less popular titles have not been mentioned in the list, but all the main big titles have been covered.
How Many Copies Has the Call of Duty Franchise Sold?
Since the release of the first Call of Duty game, the franchise has sold over 400 million copies of their action-packed game to the players and will continue to do so in the coming years.
Which Call of Duty Game Has the Best Graphics?
Since the later released games have an obvious advantage over the ones that were released in the early 2000s, the best graphics for a Call of Duty game can be found in Modern Warfare II or Warzone 2. However, this does not mean that the earlier released games are not good.
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