Call of Duty Through the Ages

Call of Duty World War II
Call of Duty Timeline

Call of Duty is a series to rival all video game franchises. It’s a consistent bestseller, and with sixteen games in the main series, plus a timeline that stretches from 1940 right through to a far-flung dystopian future, Call of Duty truly has become a goliath of gaming.

But keeping up with the story can be a challenge akin to beating these games on Veteran difficulty, which is why we’re taking a look back at the whole Call of Duty timeline so far.

Call of Duty is a series to rival all video game franchises. It’s a consistent bestseller, and with sixteen games in the main series, plus a timeline that stretches from 1940 right through to a far-flung dystopian future, Call of Duty truly has become a goliath of gaming.

But keeping up with the story can be a challenge akin to beating these games on Veteran difficulty, which is why we’re taking a look back at the whole Call of Duty timeline so far.

call of duty timeline game logo

So rather than focusing on the year in which each game was released, we’re drawing attention instead to the historical era in which each game is set to create a chronological timeline of the series as a whole. Time to pay attennn-tion!

The entire COD timeline in chronological order

Call of Duty Timeline chronological order

Call of Duty: WWII

Earliest date: 1940

As its title suggests, Call of Duty: World War II takes place in the Second World War, and although many other entries from the COD collective also span this era, COD: WWII addresses events from as early as 1940 to establish its narrative and characters. This is as early as it gets for the franchise.

However, the majority of the game is set between 1944 and 1945, when the Allied forces were making their march into Germany. Players also get to experience the storming of Omaha Beach for the D-Day landings in Normandy.

The game also features fan-favourite Zombies mode where, as the name suggests, you can shoot Nazi zombies. That part isn’t quite as historically accurate, though.

Call of Duty: Finest Hour

Earliest date: August 1942

This Call of Duty game again spans across World War II, incorporating historic moments like the Siege of Bastogne (December 1944) and the Battle of Stalingrad (August 1942 – February 1943), across 3 campaigns where you play as American, British, and Soviet soldiers.

Fun fact – Call of Duty: Finest Hour was the first COD to appear on home consoles such as the PS2 and Xbox.

Call of Duty: World at War

Earliest date: 17 August 1942

Next up comes an instalment that has become a firm fan favourite: World at War. This is the first Call of Duty game to be set in the Pacific Theatre against the Imperial Japanese in the Second World War, while the Soviet campaign takes place in the Eastern Front, mainly in Nazi Germany.

The story begins on Makin Island on 17 August 1942, but in the Soviet narrative it continues on 17 September 1942, so chronologically COD: World at War comes just a smidge after Finest Hour (which is simply stated as being set in August 1942). Incidentally, the aforementioned Zombies mode originated here, quickly becoming a hit with fans.

Call of Duty Timeline world at war

Call of Duty 2

Earliest date: 23 August 1942

The sequel to the smash hit PC original, Call of Duty 2 continues with the World War II setting. In this sprawling single-player campaign, you take control of four different characters, each of a different nationality, but all united in their resolve to free the world from Nazi tyranny. The earliest date we can find in Call of Duty 2 is 23 August 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad.

Call of Duty

Earliest date: 18 September 1942

This is where it all began. In the first entry in the critically-acclaimed series, players control soldiers in three different campaigns (British, Russian, and American), while fighting Nazi Germany in World War II.

The earliest date within the initial game falls in the Battle of Stalingrad on 18 September 1942, which is in the Soviet campaign. The American and British missions occur approximately two years later on the 5th and 6th June 1944 respectively.

Call of Duty 3

Earliest date: 25 July 1944

Once again, Call of Duty 3 delves into the World War II theme. But this time there’s a slight twist: it takes place during a single event rather than spanning months or years. This event is Operation Cobra, which focused on the Allies trying to break out of Normandy from 25 July 1944.

Call of Duty Timeline

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

Earliest date: September 1944

Although a specific date isn’t stated when the game begins, it does start in Maubeuge, France. Given that the player character is American Sergeant Roland Roger of the 1st Infantry Division, it’s likely to be set in September 1944, as this was when units of the US 1st Infantry Division were involved in the push towards Belgium.

This was the fourth main game in the series, getting its distinctive name from the real-life Army Infantry Division that the campaign follows.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Earliest date: April 1961

The seventh instalment in the series, and the first of four Black Ops entries, jumps forward a couple of decades in the timeline, as Black Ops is set during the Cold War era. The very first mission depicts main character Alex Mason, a member of the US black operations unit known as SOG, undertaking a mission during the Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961, with the game’s timeline running all the way through to 1968.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Earliest date: 1986

Black Ops II splintered the timeline in two, taking place in both 1986 and 2025. As a result we got quite a lot of near-future tech in the campaign, such as advanced drones and robotics.

It continues the Black Ops storyline by switching between the Cold War saga of the game’s predecessor and a technologically advanced future, which sees a new conflict between the US and China flare up due to the actions of the villainous Raul Menendez.

Call of Duty Timeline

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Earliest date: 1999

Not to be confused with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (more on that one in a minute), the reboot of the Modern Warfare sub-series takes us to the fictional country of Urzikstan, where British SAS forces (including fan favourite Captain John Price) and a CIA officer known only as Alex team up with rebels to fight the invading Russian forces.

The earliest the game’s setting goes is to 1999, during bad guy General Barkov’s invasion of Urzikstan, but the majority of the game is set in 2019. However, as it’s a reboot, it’s technically set in a retconned world in which the events of the other Modern Warfare games have never happened.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Earliest date: 2011

Set predominantly in the Middle East and Russia in 2011, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the first COD game to ditch the World War II setting in favour of a modern war story. In doing so, it became an undisputed classic, later getting a remake alongside Infinite Warfare’s release.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Earliest date: 2016

The sequel to the uber successful COD 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 continues the story of American and British soldiers fighting Russian extremists. Set in 2016, there’s a huge twist to the action this time as Russian forces invade the United States, taking the action into the suburbs and, in one amazing mission, even the White House.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Earliest date: 2016+

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 rounds off the trilogy with a bang, following Captain Price and fan favourite Soap MacTavish as they hunt down international terrorist Vladimir Makarov. The campaign picks up right where Modern Warfare 2 left off, beginning immediately after the events of its final mission and placing it on our timeline somewhere after 2016.

Call of Duty Timeline

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Earliest date: 10 July 2017 (mainly spanning 2027)

Our next entry introduces a brand-new storyline where the United States is under threat from a coalition of South American nations, and must employ a special group of operatives known as ‘Ghosts’ to survive. The game initially begins on 10 July 2017, when a devastating strike from a space-based superweapon called ODIN destroys several cities in the southwestern United States, including San Diego. The game then picks the story up 10 years later in the second campaign called ‘Brave New World’, taking place in Hollywood and Fort Santa Monica, Los Angeles.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II, again

Earliest date: 2025

Now, you might be thinking, “Haven’t we had this game before?”. Well, if you’ve been paying attention thus far, then A) fabulous effort, well done, and B) yes, Black Ops II has been in the timeline already. However, as this game covered two completely different eras in one campaign, we’re reintroducing Black Ops II at this point as a significant part of the story takes place in 2025.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Earliest date: 2043

Taking a leap forward into the future, Black Ops 4 follows the story of researcher Savannah Mason-Meyer as she recruits and trains a team of elite soldiers via a virtual simulation to combat an unknown threat. It’s the first COD game not to have a traditional single player campaign, but it more than makes up for it with Specialist HQ training missions that fill in the story, alongside a stellar battle royale mode and of course, the much-loved Zombies mode too.

Call of Duty Timeline

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Earliest date: 2054

Advanced Warfare offers us a sneak peek at what the battlegrounds of the future could look like. It boasts a new high-tech arsenal and ability set, arming players with powered exoskeletons, cloaking devices, hoverbikes, and highly specialised drones.

In this hyper-advanced era, private military corporations have become the dominant forces of the world. The game begins in 2054, and then transitions to four years later, bringing us to 2058.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Earliest date: 2065

Black Ops III takes place in a dark and twisted future, where the lines between humanity and technology are becoming increasingly blurred, and warfare is defined by cutting-edge military robotics. Set between 2065 and 2070, some 40 years after its predecessor, Call of Duty: Black Ops III follows up on the events of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, specifically with regards to the drone strikes of 2025 near the end of the game.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Earliest date: 2080(?)

The game that’s assumed to be set furthest (for now) in the chronological future is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Set just before a devastating attack on Earth, you play as Captain Nick Reyes, a Tier 1 Special Operations pilot, as you lead the remaining alliance forces against a relentless enemy, all while trying to survive the extreme environment of space.

Infinite Warfare takes place in a future where Earth’s resources are almost depleted, forcing governments and businesses to seek them elsewhere in the Solar System. Although the date was intentionally left vague to add to the ‘futuristic’ aspect, we can guess that the events in Infinite Warfare happen sometime between 2080-2100.

Infinite Warfare