The history of Call of Duty box art

Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)

Deliberately covert yet still offering enough visual clues that leave no doubt Vietnam is included in the game's tour of duty. The featured M1911 handguns are the nickel-plated versions found only in the multiplayer and Zombies modes (the ones in the campaign have a Parkerized finish, which isn't as shiny).

Side-note: It's possible to upgrade to dual-wielded M1911s in multiplayer and have Sally joined by a second gun Mustang, which is a reference to the Wilson Pickett song 'Mustang Sally' released in 1966 (originally recorded in 1965 by Mack Rice).

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011)

Easily the starkest Call of Duty box art - shadowy, faceless, indefinable cover man with gun, against a blindingly white backdrop (and possibly standing in a waist-high snowstorm). Not a classic. Besides the lack of much to look at, the cover is notable for altering the call of Duty logo by joining up the T and Y. Also, Modern Warfare is reduced to a conjoined MW, the inverted symmetry a play on WW3. Finally, the shadowy, faceless, indefinable cover man with gun bears a passing resemblance to a gunned-up version of singer George Michael.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)

Clearly a continuation of the Black Ops box-art theme, although the gear is obviously upgraded and the Black Ops logo has a suitably futuristic quality. This is the first time Roman numerals (i.e. II) have been preferred to Arabic numerals (i.e. 2) on any of the Call of Duty box arts. Theres also another slight change to the Call of Duty logo, with the Impact font being given a dog-tag style makeover.

Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified (2012)

Again, like the Black Ops II box-art, with the exception of the sub-title orange this cover is completely achromatic. The dog-tag stencil applied to the Call of Duty logo is absent, although the conjoined T and Y from Modern Warfare 3's box-art is present. Overall the image is more ambiguous than its predecessors - it has an eerie, ghostly quality and could easily adorn the box frontage of a game about alien invaders without looking out of place.

There we are. A history of Call of Duty box art. Do you have a favourite Call of Duty cover? Or perhaps there's one you have irrational feelings of hate for? Either way, if you feel compelled to comment, please do so in the comments section.

If you have nothing to say or would simply rather keep your comments to yourself, please feel free to peruse some related GamesRadar content as an alternative, like our History of Resident Evil box art and History of Pokemon box art features.