The thirteenth installment of the Call of Duty franchise (and the first in the franchise to forego releases for seventh-generation consoles like the Xbox 360), Infinite Warfare brings the futuristic trend of the series further into the year 2080, where space colonization grows due to Earth's depleting natural resources. It is the first in the series to focus on settings outside of Earth (including massive space battles).
The game's story focuses on the war between the military arm of the United Nations Space Alliance (known as the Solar Associated Treaty Organization) and the off-world insurgency of the Settlement Defense Front. In the single-player campaign, players control Nick Reyes (voiced by Brian Bloom), the newly-appointed Captain of the UNSA warship Retribution (and leader of the elite Special Combat Air Recon team), as he commands a counter-attack against the SDF, led by Admiral Salen Kotch (with the voice and likeness of actor Kit Harington), after Kotch wipes out most of the UNSA fleet with his supercarrier: the Olympus Mons.
Along with the standard competitive multiplayer (replacing the Specialist system of Call of Duty: Black Ops III with new class-based "Combat Rigs" and adding a weapon crafting system), the game includes the Zombies mode previously found in Treyarch's games of the series. Featuring a new original story unrelated to Treyarch's games, this game's version of the Zombies mode follows four auditioning actors (voiced by actors Seth Green, Ike Barinholtz, Jay Pharaoh, and Sasheer Zamata) as they become trapped in films directed by the enigmatic Willard Wyler (one of the mode's narrators, voiced by actor Paul Reubens). Each level released represents a certain film genre of a certain time period (with only the 1980s-themed "Zombies in Spaceland" included in the base game) and features a hidden guest actor (with the real-life actor voicing them) that can be unlocked for play (including David Hasselhoff, Kevin Smith, Pam Grier, and Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson).
Special editions of the game include a remastered port of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, titled Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. Later released as standalone in June-July 2017, this version adds numerous graphical enhancements and multiplayer updates.
Like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Infinite Warfare includes a variety of playable easter eggs based on Activision's Atari 2600 back catalog. In Zombies Mode, players can play the following (each in dedicated fake arcade cabinets):
- Chopper Command
- Cosmic Commuter
- Demon Attack
- Pitfall II: Lost Caverns
- River Raid II
- Robot Tank
- Spider Fighter
A non-working cocktail cabinet of Starmaster can also be found.
A UNSA special forces team is sent to a secret UNSA weapons research facility on Europa to investigate an SDF attack and recover a prototype weapon before initiating the facility's self-destruct. The team is able to destroy the facility but fails to recover the weapon and are captured by the SDF, where they are subsequently executed by one of the SDF's leading commanders, Admiral Kotch.
On Earth, Reyes warns Admiral Raines that the SDF attack is tantamount to a declaration of war and that the UNSA should be preparing a counterattack. However, Admiral Raines explains that the UNSA's leaders do not want to escalate the situation, especially during the Fleet Week celebrations where the entire UNSA fleet gathers at Geneva. During the celebrations, he links up with his wingman Salter as well as his new robotic subordinate E3N "Ethan." Suddenly, the UNSA's AATIS defense cannons begin to open fire on the UNSA fleet, decimating many ships as an SDF assault force invades Geneva. Reyes manages to fight his way to the AATIS control tower, where he manages to shut down the AATIS cannons and apprehend Riah, the SDF spy responsible for sabotaging them. Reyes then accompanies the surviving UNSA ships into orbit where they destroy the attacking SDF fleet. The SDF's flagship, the Olympus Mons, suddenly arrives and destroys more UNSA ships before it is forced to retreat, leaving only two operational UNSA ships: the carrier Retribution and the destroyer Tigris.
Upon landing on the Retribution, Reyes learns that both the ship's captain and the executive officer were killed in battle, leaving him as the highest-ranking officer of the ship and its de facto captain. Admiral Raines promotes Reyes to rank of commander and then tasks him retaking the cargo port on the Moon from the SDF. After successfully liberating the Moon, Reyes is given the mission to delay the SDF for as long as possible until the UNSA can rebuild its fleet. At this point, Reyes can embark on a number of optional missions to attack key SDF targets. Eventually, Reyes manages to destroy a strategic refueling tower on Titan, crippling the SDF's fuel supply. He is then sent to investigate a disturbance at an asteroid mining station near Mercury, only to find it was a diversion while the SDF destroys the Tigris, leaving the Retribution as the sole remaining UNSA ship. Learning that Riah is carrying a beacon meant to signal the main SDF fleet to invade Earth, Reyes devises a plan to use the beacon to lure the SDF fleet right into the still operational AATIS guns. Unfortunately, the plan goes awry when Riah escapes, destroys the AATIS guns, and kills himself to trigger the beacon. The main SDF arrives, and the Olympus Mons destroys UNSA headquarters, killing Admiral Raines.
With no other options, Reyes decides to use the opportunity to board and commandeer the Olympus Mons. He manages to battle his way to the bridge and kill Admiral Kotch. He then has the Olympus Mons travel back to Mars, where he intends to use the ship to destroy the SDF's orbital shipyard and cripple their fleet in return. While the Olympus Mons and Retribution manage to destroy many SDF ships, the Olympus Mons suffers too much damage to use its weapons, so Reyes orders it to ram the shipyard. Unfortunately, the Retribution also suffers damage and drifts into Olympus Mons flight path, forcing Reyes to order the ship to divert. Both warships crash onto the surface of Mars with the shipyard still intact.
Realizing that there's no way for them to get back to Earth alive, Reyes rallies the survivors of the Retribution crew and leads them on one final, desperate assault on the shipyard. Most of the surviving crew are killed in the fighting, but Salter manages to commandeer an SDF destroyer. However, its weapons are disabled, and the mooring clamps are locked. Ethan sacrifices himself to destroy the moorings while Reyes activates the destroyer's weapons and orders Salter to destroy the station, despite him being on it. Salter reluctantly opens fire, ejecting Reyes into space. His last sight is seeing the SDF shipyard explode before he is killed by flying shrapnel.
Sometime later, the UNSA honors Reyes and the Retribution crew's heroic sacrifice, stating that their destruction of the SDF shipyard was a decisive victory. Salter, who is one of the four survivors from the Retribution, salutes a war memorial in Geneva listing the names of all of the UNSA soldiers who died in the conflict, including Reyes.
During the credits, the posthumous recorded messages of some of the deceased Retribution crew may be heard.