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  • Actor Allusion:
    • "The Vet and the N00b" trailer is both this and a Call Back. Sam Worthington plays the "Vet", after previously appearing as the commando Alex Mason in Call of Duty: Black Ops. 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 toting the same gun in ads for Black Ops.
    • Master Sgt. Sandman's voiced by William Fichtner, who also played a Delta operator in Black Hawk Down.
  • Banned in China: 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
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty:
    • 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 Modern Warfare 1 is reproduced in the introduction for Modern Warfare 2: "My son's blood, on their hands." The original speech didn't include the word "son".
  • Cash Cow Franchise: In spades. Modern Warfare 2 had the largest first-day gross in entertainment history. Not just video games: all of entertainment, including movies and music. Which was then beaten by Call of Duty: Black Ops. Then that record was beaten by Modern Warfare 3, which managed to smash Modern Warfare 2'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.
  • Executive Meddling: Bobby Kotick has been busy breaking up the dev team due to drama over royalty payments, and has charged development of the series' sequel to another, unknown developer.
  • Fake American: Corporal Dunn is voiced by Canadian Barry Pepper, and Truck is voiced by the British Idris Elba.
  • Fan Nickname: "Grenade of Grenade: Grenade Grenade" and "Stay Frosty Oscar Mike: Ramirez Do Everything!".
  • Follow the Leader: Changed the "generic shooter" from WWII to modern with the release of Call of Duty 4.
  • Genre Killer: For WWII games despite not actually being one. It inspired a wave of similar modern series or modern updates of formerly WWII series.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!:
  • I Knew It!: Theories that Vladimir Makarov was the First Horseman were correct.
  • Meaningful Release Date: 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.
  • Name's the Same:
    • One of the randomly-generated names for the FSO agents in the Modern Warfare 3 level "Turbulence" is, minus a single I, the exact same as that of World at War's Russian Player Character.
    • There's also a Pvt. Allen in "The Bog" in Modern Warfare 1.
    • Gaz? No, not Dib's perpetually angry pizza-loving world-hating younger sister.
  • The Other Darrin: Nikolai, MacMillan and Kamarov all get new voice actors for Modern Warfare 3. Perhaps justified in MacMillan's case, since the last time we heard from him was over 20 years before this game takes place. Taken a step farther with Nikolai, who has a new character model. Overlord also has a new voice actor in Modern Warfare 3, but this one might actually be a different general.
  • Preorder Bonus:
    • 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 Infinity Ward-branded EyeClops Night Vision toy. 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, the NVGs 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 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.
  • Prop Recycling:
    • Closer looks can reveal where Infinity Ward re-used various models to fill out levels. Of note are crashed 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 3s campaign: there's a warehouse that you fight through which is a literal shot-for-shot recycle of a warehouse from Call of Duty 4s multi-player; even the crates are the same.
  • The Red Stapler: 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 Modern Warfare 2, these things go quick like hotcakes."
  • Screwed by the Network: Might become this due to Infinity Ward being disbanded by Activision.
  • Technology Marches On: One of the main complaints over Modern Warfare 2's inclusion of the TAR-21 among gun circles was that the real gun did not come with unpowered ironsights. This has since changed.
  • Troubled Production: 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...
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: "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.
  • What Could Have Been: 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 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 Sandman participating in the final mission to kill Makarov.
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