* 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: ''Modern Warfare 2'' was banned in Russia for a while, though the game is now available (apparently with some cut content), including from Russia's biggest online retailer, Ozon.ru.
* BeamMeUpScotty:
** 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.
** 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.]]
* DevelopmentGag: During [[JustifiedTutorial "F.N.G."]] in ''Call of Duty 4'', if you retry the CQB test and start doing worse at it, [[DrillSergeantNasty Captain Price]] may lament that "perhaps it was a mistake to let you skip the obstacle course." This a reference to a large part of "F.N.G.", including an elaborate obstacle course, being DummiedOut. {{Game Mod}}s have restored the full experience on the PC version (as the audio and scripting necessary were left in the game files and simply needed to be implemented).
* ExecutiveMeddling:
** When the first game turned into a hit in defiance of Activision's expectations, they demanded that Infinity Ward start on a sequel ''immediately'', when Infinity Ward did not initially plan to follow up the series at all. Rumors were abound at the time that Infinity Ward was interested in making a sci-fi game instead.
** Activision CEO Bobby Kotick broke up the Infinity Ward development team after development of the second game due to drama over royalty payments, and gave co-development of ''[=MW3=]'' to series newcomer Sledgehammer Games. Many of the former IW staff members would take the aforementioned sci-fi concept with them, as the next game they would make was ''VideoGame/TitanFall''
* 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 setting" from World War II to the modern day with the release of Call of Duty 4.
** The game's multiplayer mechanics, like the deep progression system, customizable loadouts and perks have been frequently imitated by other shooters, to the point that it's considered unusual for a shooter to ''not'' have these features.
* 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''.
* IKnewIt: Theories that [[spoiler:[[BigBad Vladimir Makarov]] was the First Horseman]] were correct.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: Infinity Ward wanted to take Call of Duty into the modern day as early as the second game in the series, but Activision was strongly against it and insisted the series stay in World War II. Even during development of Modern Warfare, Activision was quick to remind Infinity Ward that it didn't expect the game to succeed.
* 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. Pelayo, the name of the Super Cobra pilot from the last [=MW1=] Marine mission, can likewise end up attached to random Rangers in [=MW2=].
** 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.
* PreOrderBonus: ''Modern Warfare 2'' has two special versions, the Hardened Edition and Prestige. Hardened contains an art book, steel case and other bonus content, while the Prestige edition contains an IW-branded [=EyeClops=] Night Vision toy. Note that the word "toy" is not a baseless insult - the manufacturer really does advertise it as being for children. To be fair, real night vision goggles would simply cost too much to include with the game. That being said they ''do'' work as advertised: they're effective up to 30 feet or so.
** ''Modern Warfare 3'' had just the Hardened Edition, which came with bonuses such as a free 1-year-subscription to Call of Duty ELITE, a [[GiantMook Juggernaut]]-themed outfit for your Xbox LIVE Avatar, and "Soap's Journal", a document written from Soap's point-of-view, detailing the events of every mission he was involved in across the series. Additionally, preordering the PC version from Steam also gave the buyer a free copy of ''Call of Duty 4''.
* 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."
* RelationshipVoiceActor: [[Creator/KeithDavid Sgt. Foley]] and [[Creator/LanceHenriksen General Shepherd]] are [[Franchise/MassEffect Admirals David Anderson and Steven Hackett.]] They're even from the same series as a protagonist with the same name as ''Modern Warfare 2''[='s=] antagonist, albeit spelt differently ("Shepard" against "Shepherd".)
* StarMakingRole: Unless he's still remembered for his roles in ''Film/{{Cliffhanger}}'' and ''Series/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' previous gig, the aforementioned ''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. And even before this, much of Infinity Ward's senior staff left after ''2'''s completion.
* UrbanLegendOfZelda - "Sniper Frog" is a running meme within the [=MW2=] community, after an unsourced Website/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:
** ''Modern Warfare'' had a number of changes to its single-player campaign. The training mission was originally longer with areas dedicated to using C4 and an obstacle course, which can be restored via PC modding. A USMC mission where the player would be in the role of a Cobra pilot stayed in late enough to be mentioned in previews, but was cut from the final game; another USMC mission would have had the player playing a Marine sniper, hence the [=M40A3=] being everyone's favorite sniper rifle in multiplayer but a complete no-show in singleplayer. The "Mile High Club" bonus level has unused sound files suggesting it was originally meant to be part of the campaign. The Variety Map Pack also had a pair of cut maps, "Favela" and "Invasion", that both eventually made it into ''Modern Warfare 2''.
** ''Modern Warfare 2'' originally had a level set on the International Space Station as it was invaded, but it was cut as it was felt to be too unrealistic and the assets ended up being recycled for the EMP cutscene.[[note]]The idea of combat on a space station would later be realized in VideoGame/CallOfDutyGhosts.[[/note]] A level set in Los Angeles and another simply called "Roadkill" were also planned, but cut.
** 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, a mission as a U.S tank gunner in Germany, and [[spoiler:Sandman participating in the final mission to kill Makarov]].