Join us as we chart the history of the Call of Duty series via the visual medium of Call of Duty box art, from 2003 to 2012. Along the way we will discover many fascinating things and make many artistic observations. You might learn something. You might not. But one thing's for sure, by the end you will have seen 13 different Call of Duty box arts.
Call of Duty (2003)
The first game from developer Infinity Ward. The first Call of Duty in the series. And - consequently - the first Call of Duty box art. Apart from slight cosmetic tweaking, bevelling, scuffing and so on along the way, the Impact font logo introduced here remains pretty much unchanged on all Call of Duty covers. The art itself is stirringly heroic under fire, reminiscent of Commando comics (opens in new tab) and the like. The soldier pointing pulls us brilliantly into the scene, practically ordering us to join the action.
Call of Duty: Finest Hour (2004)
A desperate looking picture with soldiers from the American 1st Infantry Division staring down the dangerous end of a German tank with nothing more than Thompson submachine guns for protection. Again, were included in the drama by being directly addressed and pointed at by the dude with the big phone.
The Japanese cover is on the right. As you can see, apart from the bits that are in Japanese, its identical to the US version. Interestingly, every Call of Duty box art is the same regardless of region.
Call of Duty 2 (2005)
This dramatic image of the US 2nd Ranger Battalion during the battle of Point du Hoc shows rangers scaling the cliff from the beach below in an attempt to reach the Nazi casemate at the top. A depiction of a key moment of the Normandy landings, it's a particularly poignant piece of box art for a video game.
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (2005)
Can you see the big red one? Yes, there it is on the arm of cover star Sergeant Roland Roger of the US 1st Infantry Division. Thats why it's called Big Red One - because you play the entire game from the perspective of the 1st Infantry Division and they have a big red number 1 sewn on the sleeve of their uniform. Informative and interesting, that's GamesRadar.
Call of Duty 3 (2006)
The first time a Nazi had featured so prominently on the cover - he's there locking rifles with someone from the US 29th Infantry Division - hints at the new QTE-based close quarter combat feature which was introduced for the first time in the game. Despite players also switching between protagonists from the British, Canadian, and Polish armed forces, the box art sticks with its preference of portraying the US campaign on its cover.
Call of Duty: Roads to Victory (2007)
The only Call of Duty game for PSP and - as the series looks to other, non-World War II conflicts for inspiration - its the last time Nazis appear anywhere on a Call of Duty cover. Its also the final time the traditional, classic comic-book style box art is used, with a whole new art direction introduced with the next release, which is...
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)
The current Call of Duty box art trend of shadowy, faceless, indefinable cover man with gun begins here. The logo is given a slightly shiny update to remain consistent with the modernising but otherwise remains completely unchanged. Amazingly, this is the only Call of Duty box art to feature helicopters. And that *could* be Captain Price (when he was a Lieutenant) on the back cover, although it could also be Captain Macmillan. It's hard to tell because of the ghillie suit.
Call of Duty: World at War (2008)
One of the more striking of the shadowy Call of Duty covers the central figure is nicely framed by the dark jungle foliage and the blurred debris gives the image a real dynamic quality thats evocative of the classic comic-book style of the earlier box arts. The dominant monochromatic palette is peppered with flashes of blistering oranges and reds, neatly highlighting the appearance of the M2 Flamethrower in the game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009)
With the sandstorm colours and protective face gear of the US marine, at first glance this appears to be an image of conflict in some war-torn Middle-Eastern country, but closer inspection reveals the very faint outline of Washington's Capitol building in the background. This is the only cover where the Call of Duty logo is smaller than the subtitle.