Since its release, Call of Duty has stood as the exemplar of historical reality as a backdrop to a video game, with each of its following releases living up to this standard. Gamers are given the choice of playing through a number of different campaigns based on country, with each tailored to reflect the worldview, struggles and successes of that particular unit. Each battle is constructed based on a historical one, attempting to reflect reality as closely as possible. For the creation of Call of Duty: World at War, the military advisor at Treyarch, Hank Keirsay, was pivotal in accurately representing World War II. Treyarch community manager Josh Olin said “He [Keirsay] found veterans who served in these conflicts, and interviewed them for historical accuracy. He helps to paint a very vivid picture in the minds of our designers from what the battlefield looked like, to what it felt like, and even what it smelled like”.
One of the benefits of this type of engagement with history is that people are immersed within it in a different way than books or movies. – Call of Duty as Historical Reenactment
Cited on the aforementioned page is a blog entry a student of mine wrote for “Video Game Culture and Theory” in 2010. I hope to offer the course again in January, 2012.