COD: WWII (1940-1945)
Although it may seem like the older original Call of Duty games should be first, the more Modern WW2 game technically goes back the furthest.
Call of Duty WW2 is mostly set in 1944, following D-day and the subsequent American invasion of France, however with a couple of flashbacks to earlier events, this game does touch upon the year 1940 - the earliest in the franchise.
COD 2 (1941-1945)
Not following a completely linear campaign timeline, Call of Duty 2's story mode is split into four military campaigns and three stories, playing as a Russian, American, and a Brit.
This means that while a lot of the campaign content takes place after D-day in 1944, the British North Africa campaign goes back as far as 1941.
COD Vanguard (1941-1945)
With the campaign essentially being a reboot of Call of Duty 2 in terms of theatres of war, the player is placed with different allied characters on the many European fronts.
One of these is, of course, North Africa with the British and Australian forces. Just like COD 2, this takes place in 1941 fighting off the forces of infamous German commander Rommel.
COD World at War (1942-1945)
Technically Treyarch's first entry in their Black Ops series (story-wise), World at War splits the campaign into two fronts, playing as both the Russians and Americans, this time in Japan.
One of only two COD games to feature no Brits at all, World at War's first and earliest mission takes you to the Pacific island of Makin in 1942, fighting the Japanese.
COD 1 (1942-1945)
Although the main campaign missions are set more in 1944, the actual first "mission" to help the player grasp the controls is set in 1942 in an American training camp.
Very much setting the standard for decades to come, the first Call of Duty featured three campaigns, with the Americans, British, and Soviets covering the major allies in Europe.
COD 3 (1944)
Unlike most of Call of Duty's other forays into World War 2, Call of Duty 3 features a single combined campaign based solely around D-day and the following invasion of France in 1944.
Despite being a combined campaign from a story perspective, it still features four different characters from Britain, America, Canada, and Polish resistance fighters. This ensures just like other WW2 COD entries the player can experience a mix of allied perspectives on the war.
COD Black Ops (1961-1968)
A campaign full of flashbacks, and for many the real start of one of Call of Duty's best stories, Black Ops follows CIA operative Alex Mason.
Playing as Alex, the player's first mission brings them back in time to the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, where Alex is captured by Castro and sent to Russia as a POW.
COD Black Ops Cold War (1981)
Despite releasing many games after, Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is a direct sequel to the original Black Ops story-wise, picking up a few years after Alex Mason and the gang left off.
With some interesting new campaign features, the player can actually customize their character Bell, changing their race, gender, and attitude in ways that affect story, dialogue, and gameplay slightly.
Though not one of the best campaigns, this was certainly a cool feature - check out our article on the best COD campaigns of all time for more.
COD Black Ops 2 (1986-1989)
The Call of Duty Black Ops 2 campaign is split distinctively into two separate arcs, both in different times - which is why we have split its entry.
The first arc of COD Black Ops 2 takes place shortly after the events of COD Black Ops Cold War, as our favourite Black Ops character Alex Mason is called back to service in 1986 after leaving to take care of his son, David Mason.
COD 4 Modern Warfare (1996-2011)
Arguably one of the best Call of Duty Games of all time, Call of Duty 4 was the first Call of Duty title to leave the World War 2 era, and as it says on the tin it brings us into modern warfare.
With most of the missions taking place in the 2010s and 2011s, the infamous All Ghillied Up flashback mission takes you back into the shoes of captain price in 1996. If you're looking for some awesome COD missions, check out the best COD campaign missions of all time to see what to play.
COD Modern Warfare 2019 (1999-2019)
A reboot of the previous other modern warfare games, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2019 brought back Price, one of Call of Duty's best campaign characters, and follows a similar timeline pattern.
Despite a slightly altered story and format, once again the main campaign takes place in the modern world in 2019, but flashbacks to Farah's childhood takes the player back as early as 1999.
COD Modern Warfare II (2016)
Featuring the man with all the best Call of Duty campaign quotes, Soap, Price, and Ghost return to the fight once again in the modern age, following on directly from the first Modern Warfare.
With no flashbacks at all, this game starts and ends all in the year 2016, fitting all the world-changing events of the action-packed campaign into just one year. Sometimes COD can be a little too realistic.
COD Modern Warfare 3 (2016-2017)
Following directly on from Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, you pick up almost exactly where you left off in the previous game, helping get an injured Soap to safety.
Spending almost a year battling Makarov, one of Call of Duty's most evil characters, it's all hands on deck for the Western powers to take down the Russian Ultranationalist threat.
COD Modern Warfare 2 (2022)
A reboot of the original Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, the new version brings a fresh take (and even fresher graphics) to the original story, updating it to current Modern Warfare perspectives.
Taking place exclusively in 2022, this game takes the Sheperd betrayal, and turns it into the modern "realistic" twist with the General calling the shots from an armchair.
COD Ghosts (2015-2027)
Although the main story is almost entirely based in 2027, with the "Ghosts" spec ops team taking on the Federation, this campaign jumps around a little bit.
The very first prologue takes place in 2017, with the Federation launching an ODIN strike on the USA mainland to setup the main story. During the main campaign, there is also a flashback to 2015.
COD Black Ops 2 (2025) - David Mason Missions
As we said earlier, the Call of Duty Black Ops 2 story is essentially two campaigns, and this second half follows the son of Alex Mason, as an adult David Mason takes on his father's mantle.
Taking place almost exclusively in 2025, David (or "Section") spends a good chunk of the campaign - and his life, trying to save the world and stop Raul Menendez.
COD Black Ops 4 (2043)
A long way away from the series beginning in World at War and the World War 2 era, Call of Duty Black Ops 4 launches into the future. Although, there is no actual campaign in COD Black Ops 4, so the date is entirely based on some of the cutscenes for the multiplayer characters.
Technically there is no set date, but from the cutscenes around the multiplayer characters, the game seems to be set sometime around 2043.
COD Advanced Warfare (2054-2061)
The name is in the title - Call of Duty Advanced Warfare takes another leap into the future, imagining what the world and war could look like with advanced technology.
Attempting to tell a massive story of multiple enemies and betrayals on a world stage, you follow Jack Mitchel as he fights almost everyone under the sun from 2054 to 2061.
COD Black Ops 3 (2065-2070)
Following Raul Menendez's devasting drone attacks at the end of Call of Duty Black Ops 2, the modern battlefield completely shifted to focus on ground combat, and you re-join special forces with all the new tech.
Facing the battlefield from 2065 to 2070, COD Black Ops 3 brings all sorts of futurist tech suits, assault rifles, and explosives, whilst also adding some fun, but not so popular, game mechanics like wall-running.
COD Infinite Warfare (2187)
Spaceships, Mars colonies, combat robots - many people feel like Call of Duty Infinite Warfare went a little too far ahead of itself. Given that there is no set date for the campaign, maybe it did.
Set in the late 2180s, the futuristic tech makes it clear that it is set pretty far into the future, making it (so far) the furthest in time the Call of Duty franchise has ever gone.