From Classic to Modern: Call of Duty’s Resurgence in Popular Culture


Call of Duty, a video game franchise developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision, has seen a significant resurgence in popular culture over the years. From its humble beginnings in 2003 as a World War II-themed first-person shooter, the series has evolved into a global phenomenon that encompasses various time periods, settings, and gameplay mechanics. In this article, we will explore the journey of Call of Duty from its classic roots to its modern iterations, and discuss its impact on popular culture.

The Classic Era: World War II and Beyond

The early years of Call of Duty were defined by its focus on World War II. The franchise gained popularity due to its immersive storytelling, realistic graphics, and intense multiplayer experience. The success of the original Call of Duty led to the release of several sequels, expanding the game‘s scope beyond the war-torn landscapes of Europe.

As the series progressed, it started exploring other conflicts and time periods, such as the Cold War, Vietnam War, and the modern-day conflicts in the Middle East. These iterations allowed players to experience different historical events, providing a unique perspective on the realities of war.

The Modern Era: A Shift in Gameplay and Setting

With the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007, the franchise underwent a significant shift. The game introduced a modern-day setting, focusing on contemporary conflicts and terrorist threats. This marked the beginning of the “Modern Warfare” sub-series, which became immensely popular among players and critics alike.

Modern Warfare revolutionized the first-person shooter genre with its cinematic storytelling and immersive gameplay. It also introduced the concept of multiplayer leveling and customization, allowing players to unlock new weapons, equipment, and perks as they progressed. This innovative approach to multiplayer gaming became a defining feature of the franchise and contributed to its continued success.

Expanding Beyond Single-Player Campaigns

As the popularity of multiplayer gaming grew, Call of Duty capitalized on this trend. The series introduced various multiplayer modes, including team-based objective gameplay, free-for-all battles, and competitive eSports modes.

Furthermore, Call of Duty embraced the rise of online gaming, introducing robust online multiplayer experiences across different platforms. This allowed players from around the world to connect and compete, contributing to the game‘s global reach and cultural impact.

The Birth of the Battle Royale Mode: Warzone

In 2020, Call of Duty once again made waves with the release of Call of Duty: Warzone, a free-to-play battle royale game mode. Warzone quickly gained popularity, attracting millions of players worldwide and introducing a new generation to the franchise.

Warzone’s success can be attributed to its fast-paced gameplay, massive map, and intense gunfights. It also embraced cross-platform play, enabling players on different consoles and PC to compete against each other.

The Impact on Popular Culture

Call of Duty’s resurgence in popular culture can be seen in various aspects of modern society. It has not only influenced the gaming industry but has also transcended into movies, music, and fashion.

Movies like “Act of Valor” and “American Sniper” have drawn inspiration from the franchise’s realistic portrayal of warfare. Additionally, the game‘s iconic characters, such as Captain Price and Soap MacTavish, have become fan favorites and even inspired cosplay and fan art.

In the music industry, artists like Eminem and Avenged Sevenfold have collaborated with the franchise, creating original songs for its soundtracks. These collaborations further solidify Call of Duty’s presence in popular culture, bridging the gap between gaming and music enthusiasts.

Moreover, Call of Duty’s influence can be observed in the fashion industry, with various gaming-themed clothing lines and collaborations between the franchise and renowned fashion brands. This merging of gaming and fashion highlights the game‘s impact on modern trends and the blurring boundaries between virtual and real-world experiences.


From its classic World War II roots to its modern-day iterations, Call of Duty has experienced a remarkable resurgence in popular culture. The franchise’s ability to adapt and innovate has allowed it to captivate a global audience and become a prominent force in the gaming industry. With its immersive storytelling, groundbreaking gameplay, and cultural impact, Call of Duty continues to shape popular culture and remains an influential force in the world of entertainment.


Q: How many Call of Duty games have been released to date?

A: As of 2021, there have been over 20 mainline Call of Duty games released, including various spin-offs and remastered versions.

Q: Can I play Call of Duty on different platforms?

A: Yes, Call of Duty games are available on multiple platforms, including PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. The franchise has embraced cross-platform play, allowing players to compete against each other regardless of their chosen platform.

Q: What is the most successful Call of Duty game to date?

A: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) is considered one of the most successful games in the franchise, both critically and commercially. It has garnered widespread acclaim for its single-player campaign, multiplayer modes, and the introduction of the free-to-play battle royale mode, Warzone.