On October 28th of 2022 the world was treated to the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Half of the gaming world was feverish with anticipation and couldn’t wait to play the latest installment in the world’s most popular FPS series. The other half was confused because they thought that Modern Warfare 2 was released way back in 2009.
And it was. The first version of it anyway. Because the Modern Warfare sub-series was so popular it received a full reboot and now a sequel to that reboot. Confusing, I know. But it also speaks to something important about the Call of Duty franchise. It’s longevity and popularity. And today I want to take a closer look at the impact Call of Duty has had on the world of gaming.
The Father of The Modern Shooter
Now let me be clear, I am not saying that Call of Duty is the original FPS. Technically that honor belongs to an unknown game called Maze. But the most well-known original shooter is Doom. But if Doom is the grandfather of the shooter genre, then Call of Duty is definitely the father. But more specifically Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
The original Modern Warfare was released for the Xbox 360 way back in 2007. And it changed the gaming landscape forever. Up until that point a lot of FPS games set in modern times were little more than linear shooters with a basic multiplayer mode tacked on. The more complex shooters were either set in the past or in a sci-fi setting, like Halo.
Modern Warfare pioneered a lot of features that most modern shooters use to this day. It boasted one of the most complete multiplayer modes of the time, putting a greater emphasis on online and ranked play. The campaign was intense and emotional. And the weapon selection and customization options were vast and varied. All of this within a modern day setting. And since then nearly 90% of all shooters released are set in modern times.
It could be argued that CoD also helped shape the state of modern FPS game’s multiplayer formats as well as helping shape a lot of the unspoken rules regarding the use of hacks and cheats. It was the first Modern Warfare that allowed users to use hacks and cheats in private lobbies without ramification. And the newer modern warfare 2 hacks can be used in a similar vein. Allowing players to get their ranked practice in without fear of being banned.
The Zombies Rise
But it wasn’t just Modern Warfare that had a huge impact on the world of gaming. Call of Duty: World at War was also hugely impactful. Not because of any significant changes to the basic FPS formula or weapon selection. But because of a new game mode it brought to the CoD series. One that is still being improved upon to this day. We are of course talking about the Zombies game mode.
Back then it was called Nazi Zombies. But these days, since most of the CoD games are no longer set during WW2, the game mode is simply called Zombies. The premise is simple. You and up to three other players battle endless waves of zombies. Now we aren’t saying that CoD pioneered this sort of game. But it was the first mainstream shooter to have zombies as an additional mode.
Up to that point zombie games were their own thing. And the genre of independent zombie shooters didn’t become too popular until Valve released Left For Dead in the same year as CoD: World at War. This created the perfect storm of zombie mania in the gaming world. To this day we are still seeing lots of new zombie titles being released. And most of them taking some inspiration from the original Nazi Zombies mode.