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Call of Duty and World War II: A Brief History

Call of Duty: WWII returns the series to its iconic roots later this year. While we wait to find out more about the new game, we take a look back at Call of Duty’s amazing history with the setting of World War II.

By Kevin Kelly on April 21, 2017 Editorial Manager
Level 28

The original Call of Duty was released back in 2003, set in the middle of the most brutal conflict in human history. The debut game spawned one of the most popular franchises in history, which has taken players across multiple theaters and through different eras, and today we are proud to announce that Call of Duty is returning to its World War II roots with Call of Duty: WWII


Call of Duty

Developed by Infinity Ward, this is the game that started it all. Ambitiously focusing on the importance of an entire squad of soldiers, Call of Duty’s slogan was “In war, no one fights alone.” Throughout the game, players fight alongside their fellow soldiers across the backdrop of some of the most well-known engagements at D-Day and beyond.

Call of Duty introduced concepts that would become staples in the franchise, like allies with AI, who would fight alongside, and “shellshock” when an explosion takes place, blurring your vision and producing a ringing sound while slowing down the action. The game launched to wide critical acclaim, including being named Game of the Year by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

Call of Duty begins in 1944 with the war in full swing, captapulting the player through multiple storylines and campaigns, into different roles and uniforms of the Allied forces. The game begins with the American campaign as you step into the boots of a member of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in basic training, and takes you to the eve of D-Day. You’ll drop into Normandy and join a mixed unit as you begin to engage the enemy and fight your way across France.

In the British campaign side, you play as Sergeant Evans of the 6th Airborne Division, also dropping into D-Day during the very early hours of June 6, 1944. Evans links up with Captain Price from the 6th Airborne Division, notable for his appearances in multiple Call of Duty games, as well as being the grandfather to Captain Price of Modern Warfare fame. Evans battles through France alongside his fellow soldiers, onto a German battleship, and ultimately into Germany, taking part in a variety of crucial missions.

The Soviet campaign drops you into the Battle of Stalingrad as you take Russian Private Voronin through Stalingrad, into Red Square, and all the way to Berlin. Along the way, you commandeer a tank, avoid snipers, and join the 150th Rifle Division as they storm the Reichstag on April 30, 1945.


Call of Duty: United Offensive

United Offensive was the first expansion pack for Call of Duty, released in 2004. This PC expansion returns players to the American, British and Soviet campaigns, this time playing as a different group of soldiers, and visits some of the most famous battles from WWII, including the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Kursk, and the Invasion of Sicily.

While continuing to expand the franchise and explore more of WWII, United Offensive was more than just an expansion, it was a full-featured game with robust and innovative multiplayer. It also added features that would again become a standard part of Call of Duty, including the ability to sprint and to ‘cook’ grenades before throwing them, as well as adding drivable vehicles and much larger maps to multiplayer.


Call of Duty: Finest Hour

Call of Duty: Finest Hour was released in 2004, just a few months after United Offensive. This game starts off on the Soviet front as the player controls Red Army Private Aleksandr Sokolov as he battles his way through Stalingrad. Later missions take you to the British campaign as PPA Commando Edward Carlyle fighting with his unit in North Africa, and then the American campaign with 1st Infantry Lieutenant Chuck Walker as the Allies look to regroup after the failure of Operation Market Garden.


Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty was followed by Call of Duty 2 in 2005, with Infinity Ward returning as the developer. This title continued the WWII setting, putting the player once again into the uniforms of multiple servicemen from the American, British, and Soviet campaigns, and onto the front lines where they fight alongside their fellow soldiers.

New missions take place across settings like the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of Stalingrad, and for the first time the series heads to North Africa where players take part in the Second Battle of El Alamein, a turning point for the British Eighth Army and the Allies. The game culminates with the Americans crossing the Rhine River and beginning to push into Germany.

Call of Duty 2 brought back Captain Price from the original game, and greatly expands on the British campaigns from Call of Duty and United Offensive. He serves as your commanding officer when you play as Sergeant John Davis of the British 7th Armoured Division in North Africa.


Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One was Treyarch’s first development for release in 2005. For the first time in a Call of Duty game, gameplay was focused on a single group, the United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division, nicknamed “Big Red One” as the patches on their uniforms feature a large red number one.

Throughout most of the game the player takes the controls as Private Roland Roger, fighting from Africa to Germany as a member of Fox Company in the 1st Infantry, getting promoted to corporal and then sergeant along the way. Throughout the journey, you’ll take part in historic engagements like the Battle of Oran, Operation Husky, and D-Day.

Although you play mostly as Roger throughout the game, the storyline focuses on the bonds between him and his fellow soldiers as you watch them age, get promoted, and in some cases, not survive the missions.


Call of Duty 3

Treyarch made an immediate return in 2006 to develop Call of Duty 3. This game focuses on what happened after the Allies pushed beyond the beachhead after the Invasion of Normandy on D-Day, and follows a single, large-scale campaign as forces begin to push deeper into France. Players step into the boots of soldiers in the American, British, Canadian and Polish armies across a variety of missions set on continuing the Allied advance and fighting-off counterattacks.

Sergeant James Doyle and Major Gerald Ingram, members of British Special Air Service, return from Call of Duty: United Offensive to continue their service in Call of Duty 3. This game added special close-quarters combat sections featuring hand-to-hand combat, and introduced classes to multiplayer for the first time.


Call of Duty: World at War

The franchise took WWII to an entirely new theater of action in 2008 with Call of Duty: World at War, developed by Treyarch. World at War focuses on both the Pacific Theater and Eastern Front during the war, and follows the American and Soviet campaigns.

In the American missions, players assume the role of Private Miller, taking part in the Battle of Peleliu and beyond, while the Soviet missions take you to the Battle of Stalingrad and introduce you to Private Dmitri Petrenko and Sergeant Viktor Reznov, names familiar to those that have played the Black Ops series.

This was also the game that introduced the world to Treyarch's now infamous Zombies. Originally included as an Easter egg, this mode was greatly expanded upon with World at War’s subsequent map offerings.


Call of Duty: WWII

This year Sledgehammer Games joins the WWII ranks of Call of Duty with Call of Duty: WWII, which will bring the series back to World War II after nearly ten years. We can’t wait to tell you more about Call of Duty: WWII, so be sure not to miss the reveal livestream at 10:00am Pacific on April 26. We’ll see you there, soldier.

For more intel about Call of Duty: WWII, visit and follow @CallofDuty and @SHGames on Twitter.


Level 2

Shut up and take my money!!!!

I can't wait to actually buy  a COD game again!

Stuff the futuristic BS, this is COD!

Level 21

Smart move to head back to the WWII era. The futuristic stuff was getting way out of hand. I hope they don't nuter the movements too much it was 90% looks to me that were getting old. Maybe even incorperate class base game play like RtCW where you need a class (ie eng and medic) to progress in the map. Multi stage gameplay can be set up to be a blast to play over some of the senseless just running around shooting just for kills modes. I liked grapple in AW it was my favorite mode.

Level 1

Can't wait for boots on the ground

Level 1

Gona leave bf for that afther 6 years , so dont disapoint me Smiley Tongue

Level 3

IMG_3010.PNGRPG-1IMG_3011.PNGPG-70IMG_3015.JPGRPG-1 used by the Soviets During WW2

I will love to see the RPG-1 (LPG-44, РПГ-1, ЛПГ-44) in the game. It was a Soviet lightweight anti-tank rocket equipped with a shaped charge warhead. The design was inspired by similar weapons being introduced by the US and Germany in the late-World War II period. It's was a testing weapon back in WW2. It was used by the Soviets in 1944 until 1948 when it was replaced by the RPG-2. The RPG-1 launcher consisted mainly of a 1-metre (3 ft 3 in) long, 30 millimetres (1.2 in) diameter soft steel tube. The rear  3⁄4 was covered by a thin wooden sheath to protect the operator from the heat of firing. Immediately in front of the sheath was the pistol grip firing trigger, and in front of that a cocking lever. A leaf sight flipped forward and up from the top of the tube above the trigger. Sighting was taken by comparing range markings on the leaf sight against the outermost portion of the round, a solution also used on the Panzerfaust. The empty launcher weighed only 2 kilograms (4.4 lb). The PG-70 was inserted into the muzzle of the launcher and fired using a simple percussion cap firing a 30 millimetres (1.2 in) cartridge. Three ring-shaped stabilising fins were mounted on a tube that extended down the outside of barrel of the launcher, avoiding the need for flip-out fins or other solutions that would fit inside the barrel. The round was 425 millimetres (16.7 in) long and weighed 1.6 kilograms (3.5 lb). It fired at a muzzle velocity of 40 metres per second (130 ft/s) and had a maximum effective range of about 75 metres (246 ft). A trained two-man crew could fire 4 to 6 rounds per minute.

Level 1

Finally! Back in reality where it belongs! I think i will master prestige this one!

Level 1

Excelente noticias para la saga, creo que Sledgehammer Games es la apuesta ideal para este nuevo rumbo en la saga. Os dejo un enlace a mi reseña de la Worldwide Reveal de Call fo Duty WWII por si quereis más información al respecto en español.

I'm glad they are doing this because I'm tired of the future but there's not enough of the past ps they need a new zombie story and characters like maybe reznove or dr Monty explain then in the new story like there in hell for what they did or something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Level 2

I'm so happy you guy finally decide to move back to the WWII era. That's where call of duty belongs. Unlike where it is now or where it started to go after call of duty black ops. Maybe you guys will listen to more of the real call of duty players and not the "fake" ones. Can't wait for call of duty WWII. Now maybe i can enjoy call of duty for the way its ment to be enjoyed. Just sad that you guys had to follow and make COD like halo and a couple other games.

Level 1

A good tip for Activision .


After COD WW2 , the next game must explore new horizons never done by Call Of Duty before .

I suggest between


Yugoslav Wars 

Vietnam War

Syrian Civil War

American Civil War

World War 1


Level 3

Hope an working Anticheat will be pluged in. 

Level 1

Can't wait to play this title!

I can´t way for this game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Level 1

I can't wait to JUMP AROUND WITH JETPACKS again and have to SPEND ALOT OF MONEY ON SUPLY DROPS I can't wait yaaaay

Level 1

Hooooooray!!! I hope there will be good American and Soviet campaigns!!!

I have a great idea for Activision but I don't know how to get ahold of them so if someone from Activision sees this please feel free to email me about my idea at [REMOVED BY MODERATOR FOR YOUR PRIVACY]

Level 1

I can't wait either!  I hope they put something like Gun Game in it too.  I'm one of the OLD guys that's been around since the days of the Atari 2600 but I have 3 xbox 360's and 2 xbox 1's set up side by side in the family room for when my grand kids come over.  We play Gun Game and have the best time in the world with them kicking my hind end!  I know there wouldn't be near the high end guns but you could use the arms of all the WWII countries and it would still be fun!

Level 1

Let's just stay with actual weapons that saw use in the war. Don't do like bf1 and have 90% of the weapons in the game prototypes that never or barely saw combat

Level 1

Does anyone know how to play Cod:WW2 beta?

Level 1

Ok guys here it comes!

 Finally boots on the ground and please please use the bo2 camo unlock system 

Screw the graphics, World War 2? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!

Level 2

Sounds amazing boots on the ground Run and Gun action to rekindle old war old weapon tactics instead of futuristic space battle that's what I'm talking about. It looks like old times with awesome graphics. Lock and Load I'm ready!

Glad its back to something real. Hoping for a good story line. Like adding D-Day, Midway, and the fight for Russia. Oh man if they put the holocost in there. Just imagine walking into Germany and seeing the Nazi death camps in a real perspective that a real soldier would see. The emotions and drama. Would be sweet. Anyway woot woot to activation and sleadgehammer. Going to be a must buy game!!!!!!


okay i dont know if you read this but going to right it anyways


in black ops 1 the best zombie mode was born the mode that I played over and over and over. in every other game your zombies never lived up to it and I repecet for trying to put a twiced on it but plz dont make the same mistake in this game. bring it back to black ops 1 when you had to shot 3 times in the kness then knife to get the max points pre zombie the grind to open the next door. and that feeling when you open the door feels so great. and plz make it so you can run laps / train zombies there is just so much enjoy ment in watching your point grow so much ... this is getting long so im goign to cut it off... but plz if you add zombies plz go back the black ops 1 days... and if you did i would pay 100$ easy and i know 10 other people that would as well.


looking forward to a reply if you do infact read this 

Level 1

Can't wait! I hope to see a throwback to some of the old world at war multiplayer maps!

Level 3

I can't wait for call of duty world war 2 but when I watched the trailer it didn't give me the feeling like other trailers I felt like that was not the best trailer but I'm still going to pre order!

Level 2

I'm just hopeful that COD WWII has nothing and I mean nothing that is even slightly a resemblance to BF1 are BF4.  Return us to the old days of good quality gaming Please!  No more chickens running around with our heads chopped off, pure insanity!  As above stated, let the weapons be only those available during WW2.  MOA specs should be available for all weapons available during that time period, please don't get creative with them, thanks!   Really looking forward to this Sledgehammer!



Level 4

What are the system specs for CoD WW2?

Level 1








 Awesome ,I'm very Very happy , thank u guys to bring back WW2 , forget the robots and the future *****s, I hope I can play in the Ardennes in belgium , u guys have to put Bastogne in the game, foxholes ,the forest , this game is what we were waiting for Smiley Tongue and u guys should use music in the game like for example Andrew sisters, believe me it's gonna give a perfect retro feeling like if we go back in time. And I think M1 and M1 carbine can't be missed from the game. Look what I found with my metal detector 2 years ago in the forest in the Ardennes! M1 garand bullet and M1 carbine full clip. A real soldier load it 70 years ago during the war and dropped it in the forest. I was really happy when I saw u guys visit the National museum Of Military history in Luxemburg ,I was there too and the villages, the roads and the place is like time stopped in the 40's.

Level 1

Finally no more exo suits , no more robots, real COD the way it should of been ! 

Level 1

I pre order ww2 at game stop and they gave me a code they said that it was suppose to give a other code for my Xbox one but I'm still waiting for it what can I do

Level 1


J'ai trop hâte !!!!Smiley Very Happy

When will the private beta will be released???

Level 1

Sweet write-up! Thanks!

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