* ActorAllusion:
** "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zuzaxlddWbk The Vet and the N00b]]" trailer is both this and a CallBack. Sam Worthington plays the "Vet," after previously appearing as the commando Alex Mason in ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps.'' The commercial also calls back to the ''Black Ops'' advertising twice. First, with the tagline "There's a soldier in all of us." Second, having NBA star Dwight Howard appear toting an M16 with a grenade launcher. NBA star Kobe Bryant appeared with the same gun in ads for ''Black Ops''.
** Master Sgt. Sandman of ''[=MW3=]'' was voiced by Creator/WilliamFichtner, who also played a Delta operator in ''Film/BlackHawkDown''.
* [[BannedInChina Banned In Russia]]: ''Modern Warfare 2'' was banned for a while, though the game is now available (apparently with some cut content), including from Russia's biggest online retailer, Ozon.ru.
* BeamMeUpScotty:
** M The famous line "''Fifty thousand people used to live here… now it's a ghost town.''" was not spoken by [=MacMillan=]. It was actually spoken by Gaz in the intro. [=MacMillan's=] line in the game is "''Fifty thousand people used to live in this city. Now it's a ghost town… I've never seen anything like it.''" Oddly, [=MacMillan=] ''does'' say that line in the Wii port of the first game.
** There's a form of this in-series: part of Zakhaev's speech from "Ultimatum" in ''1'' is reproduced in the introduction for ''2'' - "My son's blood, on their hands." The original speech didn't include the word "son".
* CashCowFranchise: In spades. ''2'' had the largest first-day gross in entertainment history. Not just video games -- ''all'' of entertainment, including movies and music... that was then beaten by ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps''... that was also beaten by ''Modern Warfare 3'', which managed to smash [=MW2=]'s record by over a hundred million dollars. Say what you like about the quality of the games, they certainly can sell them. The developers certainly said they would want to continuously make more games even after Modern Warfare 3 in a live interview. [[VideoGame/CallOfDutyGhosts And they certainly did.]]
* ContinuitySnarl: Is Operation: Kingfish canon or not?
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: Whenever you're downed in the single-player campaign, the game tosses up a quote from a historical figure lamenting the cost and violence of warfare on humanity. However, no one can deny it's pretty fun to be a OneManArmy {{Badass}} caught in the middle of WorldWarIII so the weight of their quotes seems lost.
** They also rub players' nose in it with things like "No Russian" and "Davis Family Vacation". Even the famous AC-130 level is making a point about how dehumanizing swatting people like flies from a gunship is. Sister series ''Black Ops'' is, if anything, even more blatant.
* ExecutiveMeddling: [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Bobby Kotick]] broke up the dev team due to drama over royalty payments, and charged co-development of ''[=MW3=]'' to series newcomer Sledgehammer Games.
* FakeAmerican: Cpl. Dunn and Sgt. Truck are voiced by the Canadian Barry Pepper and the British Creator/IdrisElba, respectively.
* FanNickname:
** "Grenade of Grenade: Grenade Grenade" and "Stay Frosty [[MilitaryAlphabet Oscar Mike]]: [[DoAnythingSoldier Ramirez]] Do Everything!"
** "Dead Man's Dick" for the Dead Man's Hand death streak in ''[=MW3=]'', courtesy of [=YouTuber=] [=TheShwantz27=].
* FollowTheLeader: Changed the gaming world's idea of a "generic shooter" from WWII to modern with the release of VideoGame/CallOfDuty 4.
* GenreKiller: For WWII games, despite not actually being one. It inspired a wave of similar modern series or modern updates of formerly WWII series like ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonor''.
* HeyItsThatVoice:
** British players above a certain age may realise that Captain Price is voiced by [[Series/TheBill DC Don Beech]].
** Lt. Vasquez is David Sobolov; fans of ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' may recognize him as Depth Charge.
** In ''Modern Warfare 2'', U.S. Army Ranger squad leader Sgt. Foley is played by Creator/KeithDavid. So yes, as Pvt. Ramirez, you can pretend your squad is being led by...
*** [[Franchise/{{Halo}} The Arbiter.]]
*** [[Franchise/MassEffect David Anderson.]]
*** [[WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}} Goliath.]]
*** [[WesternAnimation/{{Coraline}} The Cat.]]
*** Some National Geographic / History Channel narrator waiting to lecture you about UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
*** [[Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog Dr. Facilier.]]
*** [[VideoGame/SaintsRow Julius Little.]]
*** [[Literature/RequiemForADream "I know it's pretty, Ramirez, but I didn't take it out for air!"]]
** Creator/LanceHenriksen ([[Film/{{Aliens}} Bishop]]/[[Franchise/MassEffect Admiral Hackett]]) plays General Shepherd.
** Also worth noting is that the [=HQs=] (Baseplate and Overlord for MW and [=MW2=], respectively) are played by the same guy. The same guy (Dave Mallow) also voices most of the helicopter pilots.
*** Mallow also fulfills a similar role to his HQ persona in the movie ''Film/BlackHawkDown'' as the air operations commander issuing most of the radio commands to the Army helicopter pilots.
** William Fichtner (''Film/BlackHawkDown'', ''Film/DriveAngry'') is [=MW3's=] Sandman, while Creator/TimothyOlyphant ([[Film/DieHard Thomas Gabriel]], [[Film/{{Hitman}} Film!Agent 47]]) is Grinch (Creator/TobeyMaguire [[WhatCouldHaveBeen was initially reported to voice the character]]) and Creator/IdrisElba ([[Film/{{Thor}} Heimdall]]) is Truck.
** "Hey, Cpl. Dunn, you sound famila-OH MY GOD [[VideoGame/{{Prototype}} ZEUS]] HAS BEEN SPOTTED! OPEN FIRE!"
*** He was also [[Film/SavingPrivateRyan that BADASS sniper who was in a group of US troopers finding one man.]]
** Curtis "Music/FiftyCent" Jackson did some voice acting for the game (as the multiplayer announcer for the Navy [=SEALs=]). Cue FanDumb declaring they would not buy the game.
** Soap [=MacTavish=] is played by [[Series/{{Rome}} Kevin McKidd]]. In what would be a somewhat recursive instance, [=McKidd=] has stated that Infinity Ward expressed interest in having him play Soap in a movie adaptation, but since the movie is still hypothetical, it's not a certainty.
** Craig Fairbrass voices three different characters in the series' history (Gaz, Ghost and Wallcroft in that order).
** Waraabe, and by proxy the African Militia announcer, is [[Series/TwentyFour Ike Dubaku]]
** Creator/YuriLowenthal is one of the GIGN soldiers.
** Will [[Series/ArrestedDevelopment GOB]] Arnett also lent his uber-husky tones, having publicly professed his love for the series. Damned if anyone can tell who he is from the morass of gruff and husky voices that proliferate the soundtrack.
** Creator/LiamOBrien is the P.M.C. announcer in multiplayer.
** Overlord is [[Series/TwentyFour Agent Aaron Pierce]].
*** In the third game, Overlord is voiced by [[Film/StarTrek Captain Pike]].
** Captain [=MacMillan=] is [[Film/{{Underworld}} Markus Corvinus]] and [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E10VincentAndTheDoctor Vincent Van Gogh]]
** In the Japanese dub:
*** Creator/UnshoIshizuka is Price.
*** Creator/KeijiFujiwara is Makarov.
*** Creator/FumihikoTachiki is Overlord.
*** Creator/KanaUeda is Vorchevsky's daughter.
*** Zakhaev in the flashbacks is voiced by Creator/NorioWakamoto.
*** Creator/HisaoEgawa is Yuri.
*** GIGN operator Sabre is [[VideoGame/SakuraTaisen Ichiro Ogami]].
*** Creator/RieTanaka is one of the crew of the AC-130.
* IKnewIt: Theories that [[spoiler:[[BigBad Vladimir Makarov]] was the First Horseman]] were correct.
* MeaningfulReleaseDate: November 10th, 2009 for ''Modern Warfare 2'', which was advertised in the trailers as "11-10-09", with the numbers blinking on in sequence like the countdown before an explosion.
* NamesTheSame:
** One of the randomly-generated names for the FSO agents in the ''[=MW3=]'' level "Turbulence" is, minus a single I, the exact same as that of ''World at War''[='=]s Russian PlayerCharacter.
** There's a Pvt. Allen in "The Bog" in Modern Warfare 1.
** Gaz is not to be confused with [[WesternAnimation/InvaderZim Dib's perpetually angry pizza-loving world-hating younger sister.]]
* PropRecycling:
** Closer looks can reveal where Infinity Ward re-used various models to fill out levels. Of note are crashed [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_(fighting_vehicle) technicals]] in Washington D.C. (oh, those crazy Virginia rednecks), and American police cars on the tarmac at the Russian airport.
** Hidden in plain sight during ''Modern Warfare 3''[='=]s campaign: There's a warehouse that you fight through which is a literal shot-for-shot recycle of a warehouse from [=CoD4's=] multiplayer; even the crates are the same. Various weapons also reuse their ''[=MW2=]'' models in the campaign - most noticeably, the new USP model for the game never shows up outside of Spec Ops and multiplayer, despite a decent chunk of missions giving you one to start with.
* TechnologyMarchesOn: One of the main complaints over ''[=MW2=]''[='=]s inclusion of the TAR-21 among gun circles was that the real gun did not come with unpowered ironsights. This has since changed.
* TheOtherDarrin: Nikolai, [=MacMillan=], Kamarov, and Overlord all get new voice actors for 3.
* TheRedStapler: Many manufacturers of airsoft replicas have become absolutely drained because of these games. KWA, a former specialist in gas-powered pistols, has stated that their entire stock of Beretta 93R pistols flew out the door in record time, with the reason "thanks to [=MW2=], these things go quick like hotcakes."
* StarMakingRole: Unless he's still remembered for his roles in ''{{Film/Cliffhanger}}'' and ''PrimeSuspect'' earlier before the games, Craig Fairbrass really found recognition for himself through his voice-acting talents in this trilogy, however Fairbrass' fandom and fame really peaked when he dons the mask of Ghost in ''Modern Warfare 2''. It also helped Fairbrass' pervious gig ''Cliffhanger'' to find a new recent gaggle of fans (due to ''Modern Warfare 2'' referencing the film through a name of level and Fairbrass' presence in both projects) with the same can be said for Fairbrass' film debut ''For Queen and Country'' and ''Prime Suspect'' as well as any other project featuring the actor for any gamer who is curious of {{Badass}} Brit Fairbrass' resume outside and before his COD roles.
* TroubledProduction: The long-brewing conflict between Activision and lead elements of Infinity Ward finally came to a head during the development of ''Modern Warfare 3''. A large portion of Infinity Ward's staff ended up leaving or being forced out, forcing Activision to bring in Sledgehammer Games to finish development of the title. Famously, one of the disgruntled employees leaked the complete plot of the single player campaign almost a year before release, which was widely published by the gaming press. This, on top of a lot of Infinity Ward leaving during the LAST game...
* UrbanLegendOfZelda - "Sniper Frog" is a running meme within the [=MW2=] community, after an unsourced GameFAQs post claimed that spfg.exe was a program running in the background which essentially doled out luck to players who weren't doing well and handicapped those who were.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: In spring of 2011, a lot of info about ''Modern Warfare 3'' was leaked, including concept art and the game's plot (you can read it [[http://kotaku.com/5801345/where-youll-go-how-youll-kill-and-who-will-die-in-modern-warfare-3 here]]). While most of the plot is similar to what made it into the final product, there are several interesting differences such as a mission set in the Kremlin and [[spoiler:Sandman participating in the final mission to kill Makarov]].