For more than a decade, the Call of Duty series has been one of the most popular franchises in all of gaming, garnering critical acclaim and smashing sales records all around the globe. The series was certainly never intended to be the blockbuster behemoth that it's grown into since the release of 2003's Call of Duty. As the gaming industry grew into an entertainment force on par with television and feature films, the Call of Duty series grew along with it. One of the linchpins of popular culture, the newest installment in the Call of Duty franchise is something that fans worldwide anxiously await every November.
Call of Duty: The Original
The original Call of Duty, developed by Infinity Ward in 2003, was a product of the times. The World War 2 first person shooter genre was hot, thanks to games such as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Battlefield 1942. Call of Duty was able to stand out from the crowd by letting the player see the war from multiple sides, as American, Soviet, Canadian and British soldiers. A foundation had been built for the franchise, and after releasing several expansion packs for the PC, the Call of Duty name quickly began to pick up steam. With the release of the Xbox 360 looming, developer Infinity Ward began work on Call of Duty 2.
Call of Duty 2 and 3
Released as a launch title on the Xbox 360 and the PC, Call of Duty 2 brought the series into the next generation, with new features including realistic smoke and AI-controlled squadmates who would yell out enemy positions, thus increasing the odds of survival. Call of Duty 2 was an instant hit, thanks in large part to the runaway success of the Xbox 360 console, and, ever since, the series has been synonymous with the Xbox brand. Call of Duty 3 would be released a year later, but this time the original series creator, Infinity Ward, was not involved. Instead, the game was developed by Treyarch, a studio that had previously been known for their work on the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise. While Call of Duty 3 was a sales success, it felt like a disappointing follow-up to its beloved predecessor. At this point, the World War 2 setting had been done to death, and Call of Duty needed a refresh. This time, it was up to Infinity Ward to get COD back on track.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, released in 2007, is without a doubt one of the most influential first person shooters of the modern era. The single player campaign has a cinematic grandeur, and the game's incredibly popular online multiplayer mode almost single-handedly launched the series to the top of the sales charts. After selling 16 million copies, publisher Activision began ramping up production of numerous Call of Duty games, allowing Treyarch and Infinity Ward to develop games simultaneously. Over the course of the next six years, the two development teams would alternate releases, with Treyarch being responsible for Call of Duty: World at War, Black Ops, and Black Ops 2, and Infinity Ward handling the two sequels to Modern Warfare, as well as Call of Duty: Ghosts. With every new release, the series broke console and PC sales records and continued to influence the entire first person shooter genre.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
In 2014, with the Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles setting the new standard for high definition visuals, leaders at Activision knew they had to blow everyone away with their latest installment of the franchise. They turned to Sledgehammer Games to accomplish this lofty aim, and the result, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, breathed new life into the series. With the gaming industry becoming more and more like Hollywood, the developers decided to enlist the help of Kevin Spacey to give their game some serious star power. Using performance capture technology, the developers took Spacey's powerhouse performance as private military contractor Johnathon Irons and built their entire single player story around it. New innovations in the multiplayer arena also helped Advanced Warfare claim its spot at the top of the sales charts. The added emphasis on speed and maneuverability helped Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare distinguish itself from the competitive field of first person shooters. Find these and other games online through online retailers.
After surpassing more than 10 billion USD in lifetime sales, the Call of Duty series continues to roll on as one of the true juggernauts in the gaming industry. As gaming tastes evolve, and the world becomes increasingly connected to social networks and technology in general, it's up to Activision and its impressive stable of developers to keep the Call of Duty series fresh and relevant. If history is any indication, that responsibility is in good hands.