This is the second part of the History of Call of Duty article; read the first part here: History of CoD Part 1
Call of Duty: World at War – November 11, 2008
Treyarch’s second Call of Duty game utilized an improved version of the IW engine and marked what is currently the last WWII game in the Call of Duty series. This title was also the first and only to date to feature a co-operative mode for the campaign which allowed players to play through the game’s campaign online or locally with up to 3 other players. With World at War, Treyarch also added Nazi Zombies mode, which put up to 4 players against endless waves of AI-controlled zombies. Interestingly, this mode was not included with German versions of the game due to possibly offending the German audience. Nazi Zombies proved to be very popular, and Treyarch included a new map for this mode with each of the game’s 3 downloadable map packs. World at War’s campaign made players really feel the plight of the U.S Marines and the Soviets battling against the seemingly unbeatable combined forces of the Nazis and the Japanese, with every mission feeling like an actual battle, from the opening raid on Makin Atoll to the final push through the Reichstag, and all of this made World at War’s campaign feel like one of the most intense yet.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – November 10, 2009
Modern Warfare 2 was the first title in the series to actually be a direct sequel to one of the previous titles, and Modern Warfare 2 proved to be incredibly popular with fans, selling approximately 4.7 million copies within 24 hours of the game being released. Accumulating a 94% aggregate score on Metacritic, Modern Warfare 2 became the second best-selling game of all time in both the US and the UK. Modern Warfare 2 also caused a large amount of controversy because of the infamous ‘No Russian’ single player level in which the player takes part in a massacre in a Russian airport, killing hundreds of civilians as part of a team including the game’s antagonist, Vladamir Makarov. Modern Warfare 2 also added the ‘Special Ops’ mode which allowed 1 or 2 players to play through a variety of smaller, specialized missions which had different objectives such as eliminating AI-controlled enemy teams or reaching certain locations in a level. Modern Warfare 2 also significantly changed the multiplayer experience by adding new features like deathstreaks and more killstreak reward customization. The killstreak rewards in MW2’s multiplayer were (in my opinion) one of the best parts of the game, with players now able to choose their 3 rewards from a larger selection of air support including calling in harrier airstrikes and being the gunner of an AC-130, and games often became simply a battle for air superiority with stealth bombers and predator missiles bringing death from above.
Call of Duty: Black Ops – November 9, 2010
Black Ops was Treyarch’s first Call of Duty game to not be set during WWII and proved to be even more successful than Modern Warfare 2, selling 5.6 million copies within the first 24 hours of its release, and earning $1 billion within 6 weeks. The campaign of Black Ops was set throughout the Cold War and Vietnam War, but almost all of the missions are ‘flashbacks’ from the game’s protagonist, Alex Mason, who is held captive by an unknown group. Treyarch brought the Nazi Zombies mode back from World at War, now simply renamed Zombies. Treyarch released 4 downloadable map packs for multiplayer, one of which included 5 zombies maps only, instead of multiplayer maps plus one zombies map (four of these maps are the Nazi Zombies maps from World at War). Treyarch also went on to massively change multiplayer by changing the unlock system so that players must buy their equipment with an in-game currency dubbed “CoD points” that were earned through the playing of multiplayer matches or through my personal favourite addition to Black Ops, the wager match game modes, which had special rule sets such as giving all players a random weapon, or only allowing the use of the newly-added crossbow, ballistic knife and tomahawk weapons. Black Ops also added much more customization by adding the ability for players to apply face paints to their character, use custom reticles for the red dot and reflex sights and design their own player emblem.
One year after Black Ops, Infinity Ward released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which sold 6.5 million copies within 24 hours and will surely go on to break the sales records set by all of the previous titles. Call of Duty has changed massively from the original title some 8 years ago now, from the World War 2 setting of the first game, to today’s almost futuristic warfare with helicopters and stealth bombers filling the skies instead of mortar fire and spitfire planes. Call of Duty is one of the biggest, if not the biggest entertainment franchise today, and with yearly sequels, will surely continue to sell millions of copies every year.