Dinesh Elumalai looks back at the Call of Duty franchise that permanently changed the first-person shooter format in gaming

The Call of Duty franchise will celebrate its 20th anniversary in just one year – the first game in the series was released in 2003, and sequels have been coming thick and fast, with an updated version of Modern Warfare 2 just around the corner.

It is difficult to remember which game came when, as the games span an impressive 20 years. Fortunately, we have created this guide just for you. We have all the games listed in both release date and story order (which is a little more complicated).

Image Credit: Wallpaper Cave

Call of Duty, abbreviated as CoD, is one of the world’s largest and most successful video game franchises. The Call of Duty franchise had sold over 425 million copies as of April 2021. With these figures, the Call of Duty franchise is the world’s fourth best-selling video game franchise, trailing only Mario, Tetris, and Pokémon. Furthermore, since its inception, the franchise’s mobile versions have received over 500 million downloads.

You do not get to those numbers overnight, and while Call of Duty is not old enough to be considered vintage – or to compete with the three other franchises ahead of it in line – it has been in operation for quite some time. Let us take a closer look at the history of this modern military shooter series that swept the gaming world off its feet and never looked back.

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Game Plot

Activision’s Call of Duty series is a first-person shooter video game. It has taken on many different faces over the years through spin-offs and side projects, but the mainline has stayed true to the FPS formula.

The first instalment of the game was set during WWII and combined single-player missions with a phenomenally successful multiplayer mode. It has since ventured into other settings, such as the Cold War, outer space, and technologically advanced worlds.

Most favorite screen from here the game begins (Image credit: GamerBraves)

There had already been several first-person shooter video game titles before Call of Duty. The most notable of these was Medal of Honor, from which CoD was heavily borrowed. What distinguished CoD was how it revolutionized the genre.

Game Play

Even in Solo play mode, gamers had a squad of AI-controlled soldiers assisting them. As a result, players could become immersed in a sense of camaraderie. Other concepts pioneered by the franchise include, In-game iron sights allowed players to aim their weapons before firing. Shellshock was used, in which players were temporarily stunned by nearby explosions. Improved and more organized user interface. The ability to relive a fallen comrade’s decisive moments.

Modern technology introduced the best game on mobile platforms (Image credit: HDQwalls)

Many television shows have referred to and parodied the series, including Chuck, NCIS, The Whitest Kids U’ Know, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Breaking Bad, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (in two episodes), Helix, Outsiders, House of Cards, Sons of Anarchy, and Mr. Sark of X-Play, who stated, “I like war movies, so I like Call of Duty.” It has also been mentioned in movies like the A-Team and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. It has also been mentioned in video games such as Battlefield Hardline. Furthermore, it has been mentioned in some commercials, such as one for the Samsung SUHD television.

Of course, some Call of Duty games are still in development, with the new CoD Modern Warfare 2 arriving soon and Warzone 2 a few weeks later, not to mention all the follow-up titles that are in the works as well.

If you want to play through all the existing CoD games in order, here is how. It will take you a significant amount of time to work through them across multiple platforms. We salute those who do so.

Image Credit: Call of Duty


Infinity Ward, a new studio formed in 2002 with 21 employees, many of whom were project lead developers on the successful Medal of Honor: Allied Assault released the same year, created Call of Duty. Development began in April 2002, led by Chief Creative Officer Vince Zampella, and the team grew to 27 members by May 2003. Infinity Ward set out to create a new World War II-era video game that, unlike many of its predecessors, placed more emphasis on squad-based play with intelligent assistance from teammates during large-scale battles, using an enhanced version of the id Tech 3 game engine developed for Quake III Arena and an in-house skeletal animation system called “Ares.” The team also conducted extensive research on World War II weapons, artillery, and vehicles to improve the authenticity of the animation and sounds used throughout the game. The game had a $4.5 million budget.

Image Credit: Wallpapersden

Another area of focus for the development team was their artificial intelligence (AI) pathfinding component dubbed “Conduit.” The ability to suppress the enemy with cover fire and clear obstacles such as fences, and windows was tightly integrated into the single-player campaigns’ squad-based aspect. The game’s AI was created to flank the opponent, bank grenades, and move from one cover point to another. Lead animation director Michael Boon explained that actions that were previously scripted in earlier games were moved to a dynamic AI environment to help create a unique experience each time levels are replayed. While the campaigns were the primary focus, the multiplayer modes were designed with modders in mind. The gameplay and modes were written in script, according to Zied Rieke, a lead designer, making it “extremely easy for players to make their own modifications to Call of Duty multiplayer.”


Despite the volume of content described in this blog is extremely limited, this is merely scratching the surface of the content to come across Call of Duty. For now, we could have detailed versions of each series of this game in future articles as per your interest. There is a 40+ series of games in CoD including mainstream and expanded Universe, hereby I would like to mention a few of my top favorite series – Call of Duty (2003), Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007), Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016) and Call of Duty: Vanguard (2021).

If you have your own favorite series which you love to play and even discuss about, do share your comments below. For regular tech updates request you to subscribe to us.

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Dinesh is an aspiring commerce graduate who enjoys reading about technology and exploring video games and expressing his views through writing on the experience he had which keeps him satisfied.

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