In only two years, the Call of Duty franchise will turn 20. The first game in the series was released in 2003, and sequels have been coming thick and fast since then. Because many of the games span numerous years, keeping track of their chronological order can be difficult.
The game has evolved through time, coinciding with the development of mobile gaming. This has finally culminated in the two coming together to offer us more ways to play our favorite game.
Before Call of Duty’s popularity exploded, most gamers spent their time battling it out in Halo or Unreal Tournament. When Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released, everything changed. The game’s ground-breaking multiplayer elements created an addictive experience that no other game in the genre could match. Of course, it competed with other popular shooters at the time, but Modern Warfare 2 (widely regarded as one of the best Call of Duty games ever developed) established its status as a gaming behemoth.
Call of Duty is one of the most well-known and popular video game franchises. Over the last 15 years, what began as a refined World War II shooter has evolved into something altogether different, with titles covering everything from the Vietnam War to the furthest reaches of space. Call of Duty games are known for their highly competitive multiplayer mode and heart-pounding single-player missions, regardless of setting or story.
The Call of Duty franchise has been chastised for being essentially unchanged from year to year, but it has evolved significantly since the original game. A new Call of Duty game is released every year, and the franchise appears to vary tremendously while remaining the same. New systems and weapons add variety to players’ furious gunplay, but the fundamental franchise has remained mostly unchanged for decades.
Some of these mechanics have been in place since Call of Duty’s first release in 2003. Call of Duty’s general gunplay is as good today as it was when the original game was published, but everything else about the game has changed dramatically over time. Well, almost everything. Except for the Specialist weapons that operate as power weapons in Black Ops 3 and 4, Call of Duty has always had a two-weapon system.
The original Call of Duty was more concerned with the collective effort of soldiers in combat than with a lone wolf who single-handedly ended a war. While there has been a noticeable move toward lone-wolf gaming, the use of friendly AI to make campaign tasks more entertaining is still prevalent today. Most Call of Duty games have taken this a step further by giving often encountered friendly NPCs extensive backstories that contribute to the game’s plot.
Since the original game, practically every Call of Duty campaign has contained various main characters representing different sides in the tale. For example, players could experience World War II through the perspective of American, British, and Soviet soldiers in the first Call of Duty. This method has been used successfully in nearly every campaign since the first game.
Few could have guessed that when Activision released the battle royale mode Blackout in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in 2018, it would lay the groundwork for an industry great. Call of Duty: Warzone, which debuted with the Season 2 release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, has expanded from an in-game multiplayer expansion to a standalone, free-to-play beast, and it’s evident that Call Of Duty HQ is prioritizing it.
It grew from 60 million active players when it was launched in early 2020 to 100 million active players in April 2021. Of course, being free-to-play and not needing ownership of either Modern Warfare 2 or Black Ops – Cold War has likely boosted player numbers and increased the franchise’s PC presence.
The transition of Warzone to a free-to-play model implies a few factors. To begin with, the game generates enough income for Activision to no longer require gamers to purchase the entire annual game to play it. Secondly, it indicates a shift in focus across the Call of Duty paradigm, at least for Raven Software, the franchise’s developer. Finally, when you consider the caliber of talent joining Raven, it only serves to solidify the studios’ position as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. There’s no shortage of expertise at Activision, and given the studio’s continuous attention on Warzone, it’s clear that the game will be fully supported well into the future.