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"The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be in the reach of predatory human hands."
Havelock Ellis

The one where they finally said, "Screw it, let's go to space."

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is the thirteenth installment in the Call of Duty series, developed by Infinity Ward and released on November 4, 2016 for the PC, Play Station 4 and Xbox One.

In the future, having depleted Earth's natural resources, the nations of the world band together under the auspices of the "United Nations Space Alliance" and set out to colonize the farthest reaches of the solar system. However, tensions soon emerge in the form of an organization dubbed the "Settlement Defense Front," which consists of disaffected colonists out on the frontier who begin quarreling with the UNSA over the rights to precious resources, led by the Ax-Crazy Admiral Salen Kotch (Kit Harington). Soon after, the SDF declares war on the UNSA and launches a surprise attack on Earth itself, crippling much of the UNSA's navy in the process. Captain Nick Reyes (Brian Bloom, who also wrote the story), a Special Operations pilot with the Solar Associated Treaty Organization, is tasked with commanding the UNSA carrier Retribution (one of the few remaining ships from the UNSA's fleet) and its crew on a mission to launch a counter-attack against the SDF.

While other Call of Duty entries featured sections in space, Infinite Warfare is the first to introduce it as a key gameplay mechanic featuring zero-g combat along with aerial dogfighting both in-atmosphere and in space.

In addition to the standard multiplayer and Zombie modes, Infinite Warfare also features a remastered Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare available for purchase with the "Legacy" and "Deluxe" packages featuring the full campaign plus 10 multiplayer maps.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb
    • Four-legged "Seeker bots" can be deployed to search for enemy infantry; once they take hold of their targets, they explode.
    • In the "Black Sky" mission, Reyes can hack into bots from an SDF Drop Ship, causing them to explode and take out the vessel before it completes its drop.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • In the campaign:
      • Averted with "ETH.3n" (Enhanced Tactical Humanoid 3rd Revision, pronounced as "Ethan"), the SATO's resident robot buddy. While he can and does refuse orders from humans (including, on one notable occasion in the upper atmosphere of Titan, his commanding officer), he's portrayed as annoying at worst and generally more loyal than most human soldiers. Omar still believes in this trope, however, until after the mission on the Lunar Gateway is completed.
      • However, it is fairly easy to hack the "dumb" combat bots and mechs and turn them on the masters, and it's possible to hack Ethan, at least with his permission. This is used by Set Def to devastating effect at Vesta 3, and by the player character against Set Def on several occasions.
    • For Zombies:
      • Averted with N3IL in Zombies in Spaceland due to being helpful by giving tickets and bringing the Hoff to help, but played straight in The Beast from Beyond with N3IL turning on traps and shutting doors in order to kill you.
  • Ace Pilot:
    • The dogfighting sequences establishes Captain Reyes as this, though the SATO's best pilot is Lieutenant Nora Salter. The SATO pilot fighter craft called the "Jackal" can be upgraded and customized to suit the play-style of the user.
    • Enemy aces serve as Elite Mooks in the dogfight sections.
  • Action Girl:
    • In the campaign:
      • Lieutenant Nora Salter, the "nuclear option with a ponytail", is Nick's trusted wingwoman who follows him into combat throughout the game, and easily the biggest and most prominent female badass in Call of Duty to date. Tellingly, she's also one of only four crew members from the Retribution to survive the campaign, giving her badass credentials a significant boost.
    • For Zombies:
      • Sally for all five maps
      • Pam in Shaolin Shuffle
      • Elvira for Attack of the Radioactive thing
  • Action Survivor:
    • Everybody aboard the Retribution by the end of the game. Once the ship crash lands on Mars, every survivor is forced to take up arms and participate in a vicious ground assault against the SDF, including non-combat personnel like Gator, Griff, and MaCallum. Most of them do not survive.
    • All playable characters in Zombies Even Willard Wyler
  • Advertised Extra: Admiral Caleb Thies, who appears prominently in the early "Know Your Enemy" teaser trailer and is played by Peter Weller, ends up having almost no presence in the actual game itself, having no dialogue and being killed in an early side mission. Instead, Admiral Salen Kotch features as the game's Big Bad.
  • A.K.A.-47: Many of the weapons in the game suspiciously looks like some real world counterparts, though unlike most other examples, the weapons are heavily modified, such as firing energy bolts instead of bullets. This is somewhat similar to Star Wars, which uses modified real world weapons.
    • Volk - Resembles a Kalashnikov, but visibly modified to fire blasts of energy instead of ballistics
    • NV4 - Otherwise known as the "Nova 4". Takes obvious inspiration from the M4A1
    • OSA - Beretta ARX-160, a reference to Call of Duty: Ghosts where it is the main weapon of the Orbital Space Aeronautics (see Mythology Gag below)
    • Karma-45 - Kriss Vector with an extra mag well
    • MacTav45 - H&K UMP 45; "MacTav" is short for "Soap MacTavish", a protagonist in the Modern Warfare franchise
    • TF-141 - CheyTac Intervention ("TF-141" referring to Task Force 141, another Modern Warfare reference)
    • FHR-40 - FN P90 with some futuristic front parts (the barrel looks like a meat tenderizer)
    • DMR-1 - A heavily modified M1 Garand (wood body and all), though the original M1 Garand is also available
    • Kendall 44 - Glock 17, chambered in .45 ACP rounds
    • Hornet - Glock 18. The name is quite possibly a reference to the level "The Hornet's Nest" from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, in which the player begins the mission with a Glock 18 as their secondary weapon.
    • S-Ravage - SPAS-12, named after a well-known player frequently associated with MW2's SPAS-12
    • EMC - Springfield Armory XD Subcompact with a large aiming module mounted under the barrel (along with some kind of locking frame that affixes to the butt) and a large block stuck above the frame (it's also an energy weapon)
  • Alien Sky: You will fight under the lightning-filled methane clouds of Titan, the murky red sky of Mars, a Europa skyline dominated by Jupiter, the Moon with the Earth overhead, and an asteroid flying into the sun.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The (human) playable characters in multiplayer cannot be customized beyond their armor aesthetics and have their faces obscured by their combat rigs, and they all share the same body models. In combat however, both male and female voices can be heard coming from them.
    • Somewhat downplayed, but the allied UNSA Mooks in the game (mostly UNSA Marines) all wear bulky, realistic armor, and you probably won't be able to tell the male soldiers from the female ones unless you get close enough to see their faces or hear their voices in (very noisy) combat.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: A specific year is never given, although the museum display on the moon indicates the game takes place at least 86 years after the colonization of Mars, which itself seems to have occurred within a few decades of the modern age. Enough time has passed that generations of humans have grown up off Earth and FTL (faster than light) travel is possible. It is likely the time period is sometime in the late 2100s/early 2200s.
  • America Takes Over the World: While technically a multinational alliance, the United Nations Space Alliance seems suspiciously American with no traces of cultural diversity whatsoever; they use American military jargon, UNSA Admiral Raines keeps an American flag in his office, the Lebanese Lt. Salter speaks English with an American accent, and even Kashima (a Canadian) speaks of receiving a Purple Heart (an American military decoration) after being wounded.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The SDF constantly talks about how earthborns are "filthy" and inferior, and expands its empire by subjugating other settlements in the Solar System. It's almost impossible to not draw parallels between them and Nazi Germany.
  • Anyone Can Die: Don't get too attached to the characters in this story mode. By the end of the game, a lot of people die. Including the main protagonist.
  • Arc Words: "Death is no disgrace" for the SDF and "Peace to the fallen" for the UNSA.
  • Artificial Gravity:
    • Ships are capable of turning gravity on or off. Colony structures can also do this, which saves you from having to bunny-hop everywhere on the Moon.
    • One type of grenade used is upon detonation, its own gravity field levitates enemy infantry caught in its radius, giving players a bead on them.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • The UNSA command putting their entire fleet in one location for Fleet Week is just asking for trouble, especially right after SDF hostilities were confirmed and a prototype superweapon was stolen. No UNSA fleet vessels are on patrol in Earth orbit to deter aggressors (or at least none are visibly shown or mentioned), and defense during the celebration is delegated to the AATIS defense guns, large anti-ship cannons. Unsurprisingly, the SDF hijacks the guns and turns them on the fleet, decimating the fleet and leaving only two ships combat capable. Real life Fleet Weeks never involve the entire fleet of a navy for this specific reason (namely, that the entire fleet is vulnerable to enemy attack).
    • Cheekily parodied in the same scene, when Salter orders Reyes to gets some R&R and Reyes points out that she can't do that because they're both Lieutenants.
  • Artistic License – Space: Given that the game is soft science fiction primarily set in space, there's bound to be a lot of this. Some follows Rule of Cool (like descending through clouds on Europa, a moon with almost no atmosphere) while others are based on common pop culture misconceptions, including the use of a famous image of Pluto with infrared as one of its main colors to skin the dwarf planet. Fire fights in space are extremely noisy, and while usually justified by artificial gravity, some outdoor scenes on Titan or 3 Vesta notably lack realistic physics. An unusual example in the case of Mars has Salen Kotch praised for climbing Olympus Mons (which is 69,841 feet high, nearly 2.5 times the height of Mount Everest on Earth) and establishing this as a major part of his back story, while in the same sentence acknowledging that it is a shield volcano (the average slope of the mountain is a mere 5%, which is practically imperceptible to a hiker on foot, but this also means that a hike from the foot of the mountain to the top is the distance equivalent of walking halfway across France).note  Possibly justifiable, given that Kotch is a major leader in a totalitarian dictatorship, and this could be propaganda.
  • Bad Boss: Admiral Kotch randomly kills one of his own men for absolutely no reason other than to prove he's willing to kill his own men (and therefore, by his logic, has the resolve to win).
  • The Blank: Ethan, Synaptic and C6 robot.
  • Bald of Evil: SDF Vice Admiral Caleb Thies sports a suitably villainous chrome dome in the teaser trailer.
  • Bash Brothers: Reyes and Salter are a male/female example. They've served together as wingmen for over ten years in SCALER. Like most war buddies in the Call of Duty franchise, they alternate between playing Red Oni, Blue Oni.
  • The Battlestar:
    • The Retribution, as it doubles as an aerospace fighter carrier, troop transport, and space combat vessel. Like its predecessor's "safehouses", the Retribution is the home base of the player. Unlike true battlestars (which act like battleships once their fighters are launched and can take insane amounts of punishment), the Retribution is more of a carrier than a battleship; it can assault enemy positions effectively, but needs the support of other, smaller vessels to avoid being overwhelmed.
    • The Olympus Mons is the SDF's biggest warship, a supercarrier equipped with nearly the same functions as the Retribution, serving as Salen Kotch's hub of operations. It's so overwhelmingly superior that when outnumbered 10-to-1 by UNSA carriers including the Retribution, the Olympus is able to utterly wipe them all out while sustaining no noticeable damage itself, using its turreted (and stolen from UNSA) F-Spar cannon. Only Retribution and Tigris survive, because Captain Alder resorted to straight out ramming the ''Olympus'' with the ''Retribution'', which still did no significant damage to the Olympus but did force it to make an emergency FTL jump away from Earth.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: The Type-2 can be turned from an assault rifle to akimbo machine pistols and back in a pinch.
  • Big Good: SATO Fleet Admiral Raines, Reyes's commanding officer and his mentor.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kotch and his men are all killed and the SDF are severely crippled as result of your actions, but almost everyone including Reyes has to sacrifice themselves in order to accomplish this. According to the final mission screen, there are only four survivors remaining of the Retribution crew. For comparison, the full crew complement was around 780. In addition, it is ultimately unclear whether the war is actually over or not, given the grand leader of the SDF isn't revealed yet, or at all, in the matter.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Invoked by the devs, as they explicitly said they wanted to tell a simple "Good guys vs Bad guys" story. Much like in Call of Duty: Ghosts, the UNSA protagonists are noble soldiers fighting to protect their homes and families, while the SetDef antagonists are basically Space Nazis with a long list of war crimes and atrocities to their credit, who have several Kick the Dog moments over the course of the campaign.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: Two examples in the campaign; the RC-8 Hunter, a 7-foot tall robot armed with two ballistic shields and a minigun and having Juggernaut-level durability, and the C12 Mega, a large Mini-Mecha that can only be harmed with heavy weapons.
  • Book Ends: One of the first thing you do after taking player control of Reyes is walk through SATO's memorial hall and comment on an empty slab of marble at the end. You will return to the hall at the end of the game, this time as a name chiseled onto the same slab, which is now filled with the names of those killed in the war.
    • Also, collisions between the Retribution and the Olympus Mons. The roles are reversed, but the Olympus survives both mostly intact while the Retribution is nearly destroyed.
    • The game begins and ends with the playable character dying of suffocation after their suit is breached.
    • The first and last missions of the game, excluding the prologue, feature crippled capital ships crashing to a planet's surface. In "Black Sky", it is the SATO ships at Fleet Week crashing into Geneva after being attacked by the AATIS guns, and in "Operation: Blood Storm", it is the Retribution and Olympus Mons crashing to the Martian surface after their attempted raid on the SDF shipyard.
  • The Cameo: Similar to Marshawn Lynch's appearance in Black Ops III, Conor McGregor shows up as an SDF Elite Mook in one cutscene, doesn't have any dialogue, and is killed very quickly one mission later. Similar to the above appearance, F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton has actual speaking lines and appears as an Electrotechnician on the Retribution.
  • Central Theme: Sacrifice. More than any previous Call of Duty title, Infinite Warfare makes it abundantly clear that more often than not victory in war means tremendous, gut-wrenching sacrifice. The crux of Reyes' Character Development is in coming to terms with his responsibilities as captain to put the mission ahead of the lives of his crew if necessary. He does, and by the end of the game, only four crewmen from the Retribution are alive out of an original 767, but the mission to cripple the SDF was a success.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hacked 'bots can be set to self-destruct. When Reyes takes remote control of ETH.3n in the finale, he asks the commander to trigger his self-destruct while inside the reactor core of the SDF space platform orbiting Mars,
  • Colonized Solar System: The primary setting of the game, although it starts Earth-side after the SDF launch a surprise invasion of the planet on Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Combo Rifle: The Type-2 assault rifle can be split into two dual-wielded machine pistols.
  • The Comically Serious: Eth.3n, whose entire dialogue is composed of situation updates and snarking.
  • Common Character Classes: Like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and its create-a-class "specialists", Infinite Warfare does the same with its "combat rigs".
    • "Warfighter", using classic mid-ranged style combat with mobility.
    • "Phantom", the dedicated long-ranged marksman and stealth expert.
    • "Merc", which focuses on defense and heavy suppression fire.
    • "FTL", who uses experimental technology built around guerrilla-based combat and tactics.
    • "Stryker", geared for supporting allies and denying opponents of controlling areas.
    • "Synaptic", the close-quarters combat user with optimized speed.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The hull designation of the Retribution, SWC-141, was recommended by Russian delegates in remembrance of Task Force 141's rescue of President Vorshevsky back in Modern Warfare 3.
    • Some of the classic weapons reference older Infinity Ward Call of Duty games.
      • The CheyTec Intervention sniper rifle is named the "TF-141" as a nod to Task Force 141 (and as the weapon carried by Soap in Modern Warfare 2's final mission).
      • The H&K UMP45 is called the "MacTav-45" in reference to John "Soap" MacTavish himself.
  • Cool Plane: Several.
    • The Jackal, SATO's mainstay aerospace fighter - it has VTOL capabilities, can rocket off to space by itself, and, perhaps more importantly, serve as an insertion craft for SCAR (Space Combat Air Recon) operators.
    • The "Skelter" is the Jackal's equivalent for the SDF.
    • A "Warden" is not only the go-to Drop Ship for the campaign, but is also a multiplayer "Scorestreak".
  • Cool Ship: The UNSA destroyer Tigris, commanded by Captain Ferran.
  • Defiant to the End: Kotch, while dying from his wounds, takes the opportunity to gloat that Reyes hasn't stopped Set Def and he's managed to kill Admiral Raines and destroy the Iron Shield.
  • Demoted to Extra: Vice Admiral Caleb Thies doesn't even have a speaking role in the campaign, and all you do is decompress his meeting room along with some other officers. You don't meet Vice Admiral Vlad Derhachov, either, when you blow up his carrier.
  • Developer's Foresight: For the first time in the series, you cook grenades in your offhand, rather than putting your firearm away to throw them. While it may seem awesome to blast away at enemies with a shotgun in one hand while throwing a black hole projector with the other, you'll quickly find it's difficult to pump a shotgun or pull the bolt on a sniper rifle without a free hand.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: There are still a few missions left after killing Admiral Kotch.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Many examples throughout the game.
    • Captain Alder, when attacked by the Olympus Mons, orders the Retribution to ram the Mons, forcing it into retreat at the cost of his life and those of several crewmembers.
    • Omar runs back into the burning mining station to rescue a wounded civilian. Upon realizing that neither he nor the civilian are making it out alive, he demands that Reyes takes off and leave him behind, which he is forced to do.
    • Riah gets a villainous DMoA, cutting the transponder out of his stomach and thus condemning himself to bleed out in order to call the SDF fleet to Geneva. This means that Riah, through his death, directly caused the death of Admiral Raines and the SDF's Near-Villain Victory and indirectly caused Reyes's death and the death of almost the entire remaining UNSA fleet. True courage indeed.
    • Gator is shot by an SDF dropship after pushing Reyes out of the way.
    • Griff and several others remain behind during the assault on the shipyard in order to hold the SDF off for as long as possible while the others finish the mission.
    • Mac, while trying to stop the SDF from sending any more reinforcements down the shaft, is grabbed by a C6. Rather than allow Reyes to pull her free, she detonates the explosive charge she was trying to attach, blowing herself and the C6 up and blocking the shaft and, by extension, the reinforcements.
    • Ethan self-destructs in order to take out the SDF docking controls, allowing the UNSA survivors to fire on the shipyard.
    • Reyes orders Salter to fire on the shipyard while he's still inside because there isn't time for him to escape, crippling the SDF navy in one fell swoop.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Two after boarding the Olympus Mons. First, you obtain the Titan LMG for the first time, which, if properly outfitted, is one of the most powerful non-heavy weapons in the game. And secondly, when piloting the Mons towards Mars, you get to use its F-spAr cannon on the SDF fleet. Those destroyers that gave you so much trouble in the Jackal missions are now effortlessly annihilated in the blink of an eye.
  • Energy Weapon: The multiplayer Scorestreak "Scorchers", where fighter jets initiate a classic Call of Duty bombing run, except it uses energy lasers rather than explosive ordinance.
  • Excuse Plot: Averted. Multiple critics and players, even ones that initially derided the game's release, have listed the campaign and the surprisingly well-crafted (and depressing) storyline as the best part of the game, while the multiplayer and zombies mode have really started to become stale and wear out their welcome.
  • Explosive Decompression: The setting being what it is, you will end up killing a lot of people this way. However, what is shown is fairly unrealistic and undramatic. It will also end up happening to you, twice. You are not so lucky the second time.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: When you talk to Admiral Raines just before luring the SDF fleet into an ambush, he mentions that it's been a long day that has seen a lot of death (Alder, Omar, Ferran, and more). He says this just before the end of Act II of the Three-Act Structure. If his comments are to be taken literally, then the whole 10-hour campaign takes place in Real Time; the entire war, for that matter, takes place in less than one Earth day (the Cold Opening mission notwithstanding); and certain aspects of the game look more understandable (the lack of someone qualified to take over as the Ret's skipper) while others look more ridiculous (Reyes's Eating Optional, Nobody Poops and Regenerating Health approach to life; not to mention how the Ret Travels At The Speed Of Plot and requires the same amount of Cut Scene time to go from Earth to Mars as it does to go from Mercury to Pluto).
  • Fan of the Past: Sgt. Omar wears a wristwatch (a rather unusual sight in space, and he's the only character to do so) and seems to hold certain personal values more in line with the late 20th century than the 22nd century.
    • Listening to a recorded conversation between Reyes and Griff, on the computer in the captain's room aboard the Retribution, reveals that Griff is an enthusiastic one of these. In particular, he thinks he should have lived in ninth-century China, when gunpowder was invented.
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The way the war between the SDF and UNSA starts is none to dissimilar from how the Pacific Theatre of World War II began. A democratic alliance (USA/UNSA) cuts off trade with an expanding militaristic empire that regularly commits atrocities against civilians (Japan/SDF), striking a critical blow against the empire and leading many to believe that war is inevitable. The action results in a surprise attack right on the UNSA/USA's home front by the SDF/Japan (One that is almost simultaeneous to another attack (Europa/Philippines)) that shocks the nation and results in a large naval war being declared (Albeit, one of these is IN SPACE!!!).
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The Hacking Device is a useful tool, use to control the C6 robot and detonate it later.
  • The Federation: The United Nations Space Alliance.
  • Final Death Mode: YOLO mode, where death means starting over from the beginning of the game.
  • Frontline General:
    • Despite his Field Promotion from Lieutenant to Captain of the Retribution, Reyes still leads his team in the front-lines due to being one of the very few combat-worthy SATO troops they have as a result of the Settlement Defense Front's surprise attack. Reyes also has a pathological fear of putting his men into undue danger (probably because he literally has no experience or knowledge of leading from behind), which means that he ends up doing almost everything risky himself.
    • Despite being the highest ranking officer in the fleet, Admiral Raines still grabs a rifle and helps you fight through the SDF invasion in "Black Sky."
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality:
    • You can make this fairly prominent in close-quarters fighting. Your fellow boots will stagger when shot but will never go down, even after absorbing a rather large quantity of rounds.
    • This applies to The Hoff, Elvira, and Also Pam during the final fight with the Rat King.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Or more like single player and multiplayer segregation. None of the new features in the single player campaign such as zero-G combat, space battles, and ship boarding are present in the multiplayer modes.
  • Gangsta Style:
    • Invoked with the "Eraser" pistol "Payload" for the FTL class - its gun sights are mounted on the right-hand side of the slide, ensuring when someone aims down the sights, they do so using one-hand.
    • The shotgun mode for the ERAD sub-machine gun has its dedicated sights mounted on the right-hand side of the weapon.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The game really, really wants to remind you that the SDF are the bad guys to the point it almost becomes comedic. Literally every single aspect of their culture we're told about revolves around being such over-the-top evil dicks that one has to wonder how they even have a functioning society in the first place.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Even in the far-flung, interplanetary Solar System wars of the future where national boundaries no longer represent any significance, the aggressive and unsympathetic off-world SDF wield the AK-platform-esque "Volk" while the diplomatic Earth-based UNSA equip the AR-15-platform-styled "NV4".
  • Grand Theft Prototype: One of the side missions involves boarding an SDF destroyer and stealing an experimental Skelter fighter armed with energy weapons.
  • Harder Than Hard: While dropping the Realistic difficulty from Black Ops III, this game makes up for it by introducing two new difficulties in its place.
    • The first is Specialist, which changes up the gameplay in a very Fallout-ish way; you can only heal via Nano-Packs (no regenerating health), leg shots slow your movement, headshots destroy your helmet and requires its replacement, arm shots hamper your ability to aim down sights or use equipment and you do not automatically reload your gun when empty. Did we also mention that your gun can be shot out of your hands?
    • The second, unlocked after beating the former, is #YOLO. Yes, You Only Live Once. It is, essentially, just a Final Death Mode version of Specialist mode.
  • The Heavy:
    • Salen Kotch and his super carrier Olympus Mons, an enormous ship capable of easily wiping out a small (or even not-so-small) army on its own. Whenever the Olympus appears, the game always seems to go from a lighthearted run-and-gun shooter to a struggle to simply survive, even after the player kills Admiral Kotch and hijacks it to destroy the SDF fleet and shipyard in Mars orbit.
  • The Hero Dies: Reyes dies from a suit breach after ordering the Retribution to fire on his position.
  • Heroic Mime: Reyes is the first Player Character from an Infinity Ward game to fully avert this.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Too many examples to list. Some of which were in vain, although almost all cases were necessary for SATO to be able to achieve its mission objectives and weaken Set Def to the point where it is incapable of launching an attack, as all of the UNSA's assets had been destroyed meaning Earth would have surely fallen had they failed.
  • Hidden Depths: You get to listen to the last messages of several members of the Retribution crew during the credits, providing glimpses into their personal lives.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the grand tradition of Call Of Duty, the plot is against kicked off when the enemy manages to hijack a piece of crucial technology and turn it against you and your army. In this case, they steal the access data to Earth's automated heavy anti-air cannons and shooting down most of SATO's space carriers when they are assembled for a fleet review.
    • One side-mission, "Operation Cerberus", has Reyes steal an SDF prototype skelter and use it to attack the carrier he stole it from.
    • The last act of the game sees the Retribution's crew hijacking the Olympus, flying it to Mars, and dealing massive damage to the SDF fleet before it is shot down.
  • Hope Spot:
    • At the end of the first mission, Wolf and his men are wounded and low on oxygen. Salen Kotch finds them, and gives Wolf some oxygen... and then, once he has the information he needs, he takes away Wolf's oxygen supply and has all three of them killed.
    • In the final mission, Reyes hangs onto the destroyer being hijacked, leading the player to think they might make it out. The ship is then rammed as Reyes dies and the screen fades to black. The ending shows only four of the complete Retribution carrier's crew survived the attack.
  • Hub Under Attack: The Retribution serves as the main hub for the game, but near the end of the game, it ends up crashing on Mars due to Reyes being unwilling to sacrifice it by having the Olympus Mons plow through it to destroy the SDF fleet still moored in orbit, and the hub portion of the final level takes place in its wreckage as the surviving crewmembers prepare to assault the SDF shipyard in a desperate Suicide Mission.
  • Incredibly Durable Enemies: For a Call of Duty game. Enemies in Infinite Warfare's single player campaign take several bullets to kill, in contrast to 2-3 bullets in every other Call of Duty game. This makes Infinite Warfare more in line with games like Killzone or F.E.A.R.. Enemies even wear helmets that can deflect one headshot from anything smaller than a sniper rifle, though if you break their faceplate in an environment with no atmosphere, they'll still suffocate to death.
  • Inksuit Actor: The entire cast of the game physically resembles the voice actors portraying them. Additionally, the voice actors provided the motion-capture performances for their characters.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Particularly between Reyes, a Navy fighter-jock-cum-special-operator, and Staff Sgt. Usef Omar of the Marines. Largely played for humor. Notably, Cmdr. Reyes typically defers to Omar during ground ops, despite the latter being an NCO. The Doylist justification is that Omar typically serves as Mission Control during these situations, but a possible Watsonian reading is that Reyes simply respects him that much.
  • Intro-Only Point of View: The first mission focuses on Wolf and his men on a mission to Europa. At the end, they get killed and the perspective shifts to Reyes for the rest of the game.
  • Keystone Army: Averted. The war continues even after Kotch is killed.
  • Kick the Dog: In a fairly literal case, the first time you interact with Rear Admiral Kotch, he shoots and kills one of his own men (who is only guilty of standing the closest to him) just to make the point about how he does not care about wasting lives (that of his own men nor his enemies).
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Averted. This Call of Duty game probably has the most diverse spread of energy vs. ballistic weapons of any future-based installment yet, and energy weapons have a distinct purpose in this game (they're more effective against robotic foes in single-player). Some energy weapons, such as the EBR-800 and Type-2, also take advantage of the fact that they aren't shooting a single caliber round and have secondary modes that change their firepower (the EBR-800 having an assault rifle mode that converts the sniper rifle into a full-auto weapon with weaker per-shot damage and the Type-2 splitting from a single assault rifle to akimbo submachine guns, likewise at the cost of the per-shot damage). Like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, however, all the energy weapons in this game have recoil and a limited number of shots that can be fired before the weapon has to be reloaded (with what is a bit of a mystery). You can even attach suppressors to your energy weapons to minimize the noise they make when they fire.
  • Le Parkour: Like Black Ops III, Infinite Warfare includes wall-running as part of its moveset.
  • Lighter and Softer: While it features planetary scale invasion, the plot returns to a straightforward war fiction after the bleak, dark Cyberpunk thriller that is Call of Duty: Black Ops III. It helps that the reveal trailer uses the upbeat Space Oddity as the theme. That is, before the game's ending shows that War Is Hell.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Riot shields are available in the campaign and multiplayer, the latter specifically for the Merc rig.
    • Shield Bash: The Payload option "Bull Charge" for the Merc rig upon using the riot shield.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: You can turn enemies into chunky red mist if you toss an explosive near enough to them.
  • Macross Missile Massacre
    • The "Trinity Rocket" Scorestreak, an air-to-ground missile that can break up into multiple, miniature rockets.
    • The "T.H.O.R." (Tactical High Output Response) Scorestreak, a dedicated missile system in the sky firing missiles that can be guided by its user to anywhere on the map.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Commander Reyes and his wingman are SCAR (Special Combat Air Recon), meaning they can fly around in a spaceship, then hop out and engage in spec ops. Reyes ends up the Acting-Captain of the Retribution, and continues to go on missions. Most of said missions include the robot ETH.3n as Reyes's Number Two in the Jackal, and Staff Sgt Usef Omar, leader of the ship's Marine complement, when it's a ground op. The game actually deconstructs the trope to a certain extent.
  • Marathon Level: The final mission, "Operation Blood Storm", is arguably the longest in the entire game.
  • Meaningful Name: The Retribution - the Earthlings are taking revenge against the SDF.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Appearing similar to the ones from Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the SDF use these bots as part of their infantry, though the UNSA also field them. Of special note is ETH.3n, Reyes's Number Two in the Jackal, who constantly tags along to help and accompany in SATO's missions.
  • Meta Twist: ETH.3n is the funniest and most likable character in the game. He even faces some Fantastic Racism to make him sympathetic. Which tells us, even to those unfamiliar with COD's habit of tragic twist endings, he's going to have a tearjerking Heroic Sacrifice. Which he does. You just don't expect the player character to be personally controlling his Robot Buddy. Oh, and the player character himself dies. And almost everyone on the ship you've been commanding the whole game.
  • Mini-Mecha: One of the multiplayer Scorestreaks is the "RC-8", an armored bipedal machine with a shield and high-powered rifle that can be remotely operated or left to its own devices, akin to a sentry robot.
  • Mission Control: "Gator" Diallo, one of the bridge operators aboard the Retribution
  • Multinational Team: SATO, the UNSA's military arm consists of soldiers from various nationalities. Reyes is American, Salter is Lebanese, Staff Sergeant Omar is British, and Kashima and Brooks, those two Marines that always go with you on away-missions, are Canadian and Irish, respectively.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: The deaths of both Riah and Kotch.
  • Mythology Gag: The Beretta ARX-160 goes by the name "OSA", the initials of Orbital Space Aeronautics from Call of Duty: Ghosts. It also carries the white finish of the OSA ARX-160s.
  • New Era Speech: Caleb Thies does a chilling example from the "Know Your Enemy" teaser. Salen Kotch has one in the actual game itself.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton and mixed-martial artist Conor Mc Gregor appeared as Carl Hamilton and antagonist Bradley Fillion respectively.
  • Nostalgia Level: One of the multiplayer maps is Terminal, which is basically Terminal from MW2 if said level was modernized and put on the moon.
  • Nuke 'em: Variation - the 25 kills-in-one-life "Tactical Nuke" makes its return to Call of Duty multiplayer in the form of the "De-Atomizer Strike", but is not a Scorestreak. It can only be accessed by using particular variants of certain weapons and gaining 25 kills in one life with only that gun.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "Operation Dark Quarry" takes a brief dip into Alien-esque Sci-Fi Horror as Reyes and his squad make their way through an eerily abandoned mining facility on an asteroid hurtling towards the sun. Even the firefights with the hijacked bots responsible for massacring the crew aboard the asteroid bear a greater sense of horror than the other combat scenarios in the game.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: The Settlement Defense Front, according to statements in-game, named itself in order to appear as a noble underdog. They are in actuality a fighting force originally established to maintain martial law off world that rebelled in order to hold power in its own right. They operate forced labor camps, apparently have numerous child soldiers, and will "defend" the hell out of any settlement they discover not under their control.
  • Powered Armor: Soldiers are seen using combat rigs that enhance their tactical capabilities, though they're much closer to the Pilot suits from Titanfall rather than the exo-suits from Elysium and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
  • Private Military Contractor: How the multiplayer mode justifies the fact that a single Player Character can shift between the SDF and UNSA from match to match. When between matches, your character resides at their home base while waiting on your next "assignment" (meaning the next game you join where you'll be randomly assigned to UNSA or SDF). Points to this being the first game that tried to make sense of this (despite the fact that the idea of the PC being a single individual having existed since Ghosts).
  • Ramming Always Works: Played more realistically than in most examples since it's treated as an incredibly dangerous, last resort maneuver, since even if your ship isn't destroyed, you're bound to lose some people from hull breaches. Attempting this in "Black Sky" results in the deaths of a large number of Retribution crew members, including Captain Alder and his executive officer.
  • Recycled In Space:
    • Well, it finally happened - Call of Duty went extraterrestrial. The developers explain that Call of Duty isn't becoming "a science-fiction or space battle game," but insist that "Infinite Warfare is first and foremost a Call of Duty game, which means visceral boots-on-the-ground infantry combat as well as piloting combat vehicles." In other words, it's this trope about as literally as it's possible to be (take concept, transplant into space).
    • There's an even more literal version in the multiplayer map Terminal, which is the multiplayer map Terminal from Modern Warfare 2 BUT ON THE MOON!
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: ETH.3n's personality is indistinguishable from that of a regular human. When asked about this, he jokes that he's got the brain of a human farmer in his chassis.
  • Shared Universe: Takes place in the far future of the Modern Warfare subseries, as Word of God is that the Retribution's designation, SWC-141, was suggested in-universe by Russian delegates in remembrance of Task Force 141's rescue of President Vorshevsky in Modern Warfare 3, though apart from that they share no direct connections in terms of story.
  • Shout-Out: The Drop Ship sequence into Venus bears a close resemblance to the one the Colonial Marines had to do when heading into "LV-426".
    • The setting has many similarities with the SyFy series The Expanse; a colonized solar system, a hostile militarized Mars at odds with a UN dominated Earth, and much of the technology and equipment in the game would look right at home in that series, and vice-versa (the space suit and weapon designs in particular).
    • The Specialst difficulty seems to take a lot from the modern Fallout games.
    • The Final Death Mode difficulty is called YOLO.
    • The UNSA's Raven transports closely resemble the iconic Pelican dropships from Halo.
    • Knifing Kotch in the middle of his dying speech awards the "You Know Nothing" achievement, as a nod to the quote "You know nothing, Jon Snow" from Game of Thrones, in which his voice actor Kit Harrington portrays said character.
    • At one point as Reyes infiltrates an SDF vessel, you can hear Canned Orders over Loudspeaker saying "Action stations, action stations, set Condition One throughout the ship."
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: You can do this to Kotch when you finally confront him in person and he starts his speech while dying.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: As much as the SDF think they're a valiant coalition of insurgents struggling against the tyrannical governments of the Earth, they're shown to be a bunch of Well Intentioned Extremists at best, constantly seen at their worst during their invasion of Earth, seemingly timing it so that massive collateral damage and casualties will ensue. Lampshaded by Reyes and Salter during the "Black Sky" mission.
    ETH.3n: Why are they attacking us, sir?
    Reyes: SetDef's been trying to take control for years, ETH.3n.
    Salter: They knew our whole fleet was here.
    • The almost absurd lengths to which the game goes in order to depict the SDF as being as thoroughly unsympathetic as possible has actually led to some players wondering if it is being some kind of ironic commentary. Some parts of it, especially the ludicrously evil statements presented as supposed quotes by SDF leaders (or stated facts like "The Settlement Defense Force has only chosen the name in order to appear like an underdog") actually recall real-life wartime propaganda from the Gulf War era.
  • Sidequest: Targets of opportunity can be taken along the way of the linear campaign, yielding items, progression, and loot elements to accomplish the next main mission, as well as revealing optional story elements.
  • Space Fighter: The SATO's Jackals double as these when in space, while they become VTOL jet fighters in atmospheric conditions such as Earth.
  • Space Is Noisy: Justified - Reyes's space helmet is able to generate artificial audio sounds while in combat to help maintain situational awareness.
  • Special Guest: The Hoff on Spaceland, Kevin Smith on Rave in the Redwoods, Pam Grier on Shaolin Shuffle, and Elvira on Attack of The Radioactive Thing.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • If bots take enough damage, but aren't fully destroyed, they will activate their Self-Destruct Mechanism and make a dash to their intended target to explode.
    • Towards the end of the game when you manage to board the Olympus Mons, Admiral Kotch tries to self-destruct the ship and wipe out Geneva rather than let you assassinate him or take him alive.
    • Shortly after this, SATO gets in on the game when Reyes all but orders Jackal 2-5 to kamikaze an AA emplacement. The game having the theme it does, Jackal 2-5 complies.
  • Terraform: Subtle, because it's apparently still in the very early stages, but Mars apparently has surface air pressure above the Armstrong Limit, a level of pressure below which it is impossible to walk around without a pressurized suit.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Riah removes the beacon from his own abdomen with a knife, causing him to bleed out... but not before destroying the beacon, stopping the signal from being sent and thus signaling the Set Def fleet to attack the now defenseless Earth.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The SATO command gathers their entire fleet in Geneva for Fleet Week, despite the threat of an enemy attack and known hostilities from said enemy. No SATO ships are in orbit for protection duties. Real life Fleet Weeks never have the entire naval fleet clustered in one place, especially in a time of hostilities. It's no surprise then when the entire fleet is taken out in one fell swoop by hijacked AATIS defense guns, with only two ships surviving the attack.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Shooting out the windows is a fairly simple way to end a firefight on a spaceship or on a space colony. You'll also end up receiving end of this a few times.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: The conflict is between the Earth-based UNSA and the colonial Settlement Defense Front over the rights to the solar system's natural resources. Tellingly, both times the SDF fired the first shots.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: When all bosses usually involved shooting the boss. In Attack of the Radioactive Thing Crog-Zilla requires the player to shoot it with a giant laser beam and finish it off with a bomb s/he made.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The F-SpAr (Focused Spectral Array) cannon, installed on the Olympus Mons. A handheld version, the F-SpAr Torch, appears in the campaign as a Heavy Weapon, and that version also appears in multiplayer as the Steel Dragon.
  • We Have Reserves: How Kotch seems to view his own subordinates. If they die, so be it, that's just what happens - and heck, he'll do it himself if he needs to make a point. Seeing troops as anything more than tools to an end breeds weakness and vulnerability in his book. This trope's aversion by Reyes is a major theme of the game. Reyes goes too far to the opposite extreme, and refuses to let his troops be put in harm's way even when it's evident that the situation requires it and they don't object right up to the end, when it's evident that the vast majority of the Retribution's crew will not be able to survive no matter what happens.
  • Would Hurt a Child: During Operation Port Armor to retake the Lunar port, the team marches through a treatment area for civilians caught in the crossfire. There's an abundance of body bags showing the SDF's willingness to shoot noncombatants. Several of those body bags are clearly children.
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • Reyes is promoted from Lieutenant to Commander and appointed Captain of the Retribution after the ship's captain and XO are killed in battle post-Geneva.
    • Salter ends up in command of a captured SDF Destroyer with Retribution's surviving crew after Reyes orders her to open fire on the shipyard with him still inside.
    • It isn't commented on in the campaign, but with Reyes and Salter going on every mission, Gator is in command of Retribution for most of the game.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Infinite Warfare


Settlement Defense Front

Templin Institute reams the SDF for their decisions to conscript their entire population at the age of 12 into the military, overusage of shock value over economics, and having incompetent military leaders that kill off one of their own men to try making a point to a guy they were just about to kill afterwards.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / StupidEvil

Media sources: