Call of Duty games that nobody played: The history of Nintendo CoD
Call of Duty has a surprisingly long history of being on Nintendo consoles. Let’s look at the nine games brought to the House of Mario.
Microsoft announced this week that Call of Duty will be coming to Nintendo Switch, signing a 10-year commitment between the two companies. Switch consoles will see brand new CoD titles on the same day as console and PC releases, with the same features and content all included.
This is a huge change from what has come before. Previously, Nintendo consoles only had massively stripped back versions of Call of Duty games in the past. And, if we're being honest: It's hard to compare those Nintendo versions to the "real" Call of Duty titles on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
Call of Duty hasn't launched on a Nintendo console since 2013, with the last game that launched on a console under Nintendo being Call of Duty: Ghosts. So, just in case you don't know your Nintendo/CoD history we're here to provide a helpful reminder.
Here's a trip down a memory lane of memories that next-to-nobody will have. It's the Call of Duty Games released on Nintendo consoles.
Call of Duty 3 (2006) - Wii
The very first Call of Duty game to be given a port on a Nintendo console. Call of Duty 3 inadvertently started a trend of Nintendo ports unnecessarily incorporating the unique control dynamics of the consoles into the game.
CoD 3 had rigid controls and forced players to use the motion of the Wii remote to aim in-game. And, boy: Doesn't an even worse version of an arcade light gun game sound wonderful. While unique and novel, it quickly outstayed its welcome.
The biggest saving grace of the original Wii CoD game is that the graphics are incredibly close to the console counterpart. The same cannot be said for later ports.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) - Wii/DS
The graphical ability of games consoles drastically improved with the release of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. This led to a quick decline in the Wii's ability to keep up with the processing demands of Call of Duty.
Modern Warfare was one of the most revolutionary video games of its time. Its success cemented Call of Duty as the premier shooter game. It's just a shame the same cannot be said for the Wii version, which stands as a reminder of all the awful gimmickiness that is often attributed to the console.
Infinity Ward, Modern Warfare developer, labelled the Wii port of the game the "Reflex Edition." This was to excuse the lack of fully-fledged gameplay and the deviation from its console bretheren.
This game also launched with the Wii gun peripheral. In Nintendo's everlasting attempt to remain PG, they named it the Wii Zapper.
Modern Warfare also launched on the Nintendo DS and became the second handheld game in the franchise. The first was Call of Duty: Roads to Victory. It is a spin-off of Call of Duty 3 which Sony released on the PSP.
The DS version of the game was even more slicked back and didn't even have the same storyline as the main console version of the game. Graphics were terrible and the gameplay was abject, it looked more fitting of an Atari 2600 than a Nintendo DS.
Call of Duty: World at War (2008) - Wii/DS
Things didn't really improve for World at War's release on the Wii. The annual release schedule began piling up on Call of Duty at this time and the port onto the Wii became an instant afterthought.
It wasn't really a profitable avenue for the developers to pursue, so whatever corners could be cut, they did.
World at War introduced one of the greatest innovations to the Call of Duty franchise - Zombies. Unlucky for you if you only owned a Wii though. You'd be hard-pressed to find the mode given it's simply not included on the port to the console.
WaW used the same engine and same texture pool as Modern Warfare on the Wii but stripped it back to make it look like it was fitting in with the World War 2 aesthetic. It essentially played the exact same as the previous year's edition.
The same goes for the DS version of the game. Surprisingly, the handheld port had a fascinating, in-depth campaign. There were three separate stories to play through in WaW DS, with one following the US Army, one for British troops, and one centered around the Russian Red Army.
It was the same look and clunky feel of Modern Warfare on DS but it had a fully fleshed out story, reflecting the same as the main console versions of the game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized (2009) - DS
The rare double colon game title for the Modern Warfare 2 (2009) adaptation for Call of Duty on Nintendo DS. Seriously. That title. What are we even doing? In using the double colon, this entry joins Star Trek: Starfleet Academy: Starship Bridge Simulator as one of few game titles to utilise the unconventional naming format.
That's about as interesting as it gets for this entry in the franchise. There is next to no graphical upgrade from previous iterations and the gameplay remains different from the mainline editions of the game.
The campaign is a stripped out rendition, not replicating any of the big beats that went into the storytelling of the actual Modern Warfare 2.
Strangely, despite porting both MW and MW3 to the Wii, there was no adaptation of MW2 on the console.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) - Wii/DS
Treyarch stepped in during the first Black Ops game cycle to port their own title to the Wii system without relying on a third party. That decision resulted in the best Wii port of any game of the Call of Duty franchise.
Acting more like an on-rails shooter, Black Ops 1 on the Wii finally gave some life to ports on the console. This version of the game finally brought Zombies to Wii and it was widely well-received.
This version of the game shared every map and mode of the HD version of the game. Treyarch even included a fully-functioning multiplayer.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Defiance (2011) - DS
The double colon was abandoned for a dash in the title of the last Nintendo DS entry of the franchise.
Defiance had a completely separate story from the console release of MW3. It served as a prequel to the events of the main game. Its narrative takes place three days before the events of Modern Warfare 3.
Whilst not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, this is the best-looking DS port of a game by far. It's more reminiscent of the graphical capability of the original Metal Gear Solid, with polygons everywhere.
The controls remain a tad fiddly, but fine. By this point the DS ports had gotten as good as they could have hoped to have been on the incredibly limiting hardware.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) - Wii
MW3 was also given a port on the Wii. The limited graphical capability of the console and the janky control mechanics gave it the same issues as previous Wii ports in the franchise.
Treyarch were the saving grace to MW3's port to the Wii. Instead of giving Infinity Ward the responsibility over their own game, Treyarch took the reigns. They did a solid job at getting it to reflect the console version.
At the very best, MW3 looks like it belongs on the PS2. When you are trying to play a AAA, super intense game on the Wii, toward the end of the console cycle, when everyone has perfected developing games for the more powerful consoles, you have to respect the achievement to get it to look that good.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012) - Wii U
With Black Ops 2 releasing the year before the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, this was the prime opportunity for Call of Duty to have a game as close as possible to an HD release on a Nintendo console.
The step up in quality on the new Wii U hardware was evident. The graphical capability of the game increased substantially.
Nintendo continued to insist on the unique control mechanics of their consoles being used in the game. The Wii U tablet played a big part in controlling the game and that alienated many.
Black Ops 2 is one of, if not, the best Call of Duty title in history. It was literally impossible to port the game to the Wii U and fail to make an entertaining game.
Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) - Wii U
The first of the "new-gen" Call of Duty games. Ghosts was developed with everyone in mind, with every platform from the 360 to the PS4 trying to be accounted for.
This led to the overall quality of Ghosts suffering. The story was ambitious and tried to tell of a futuristic campaign with some outer space gunplay to boot.
Wii U had its version very close to the HD version, the same as Black Ops 2 previously. The Wii U pad was relied on less but ultimately, this game was to be last on a Nintendo console.
With Microsoft and Nintendo entering a new 10-year deal for Call of Duty games to come to Nintendo consoles, we'll be seeing CoD back on the red and white brand soon. Will this new decade of games find a way to improve upon the past? Let's-ah hope.
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