Similar to the previous games in the series, Infinite Warfare is a first-person shooter. As the game introduces a new setting, outer space, new gameplay mechanics, such as zero-gravity environments, are included. Assuming control of Captain Nick Reyes, a Tier 1 Special Operations pilot, players will engage in aerial combat with enemies using his transforming fighter, the Jackal. According to Infinity Ward, space combat is one of the game’s key focuses, Transition between space combat and boots-on-the-ground combat is described as “seamless”. Players gain access to Retribution, a central hub world. In Retribution, players can start main campaign missions, secondary quests which grant them new items and story details, and launch raids on hostile ships.
The game also features several competitive multiplayer modes and a cooperative multiplayer Zombie mode, which has its own gameplay mechanics and story.
Infinite Warfare is set in the distant future, after Earth has been stripped of its natural resources as a result of population growth and industrial expansion, prompting the nations of the world to unite together and form the United Nations Space Alliance (UNSA), a political organization that handles matters related to trade, travel, land claims and all efforts relating to human space colonization. The residents of Earth rely on colonies established elsewhere in the Solar System in order to mine planets and asteroids for resources. The value of these outposts, however, attracts militant radicals who seek to control them; an action which could place the countries of Earth in a very unfavorable position. In response, the UNSA is defended by the Solar Associated Treaty Organization (SATO), a coordinated military structure that defends Earth and the UNSA’s holdings. However, prior to the events of the game, a new hostile faction emerges, known as the Settlement Defense Front (SDF), which consists of insurgents that broke away from the United Nations Space Alliance during a war of secession. Following years of a troubled stalemate with the Front, relations have deteriorated to a point where the entire Solar System is poised on the brink of war. By the events of the game, the Settlement Defense Front declares war on the UNSA and launches a surprise attack on Geneva, severely weakening SATO’s forces on Earth. As the newly-appointed commander of the UNSA Warship Retribution, Captain Nick Reyes (Brian Bloom), a Tier 1 Special Operations pilot of the Special Combat Air Recon (SCAR), is tasked to lead a crew to defeat the Settlement Defense Front on Earth, as well as journey to outer space and across other planets in the system using space-based fighter craft, referred to as Jackals, to stop the Front from taking over the entire Solar System. Assisting Reyes in the fight against the SDF are his mentor Admiral Raines (John Marshall Jones), Private Kashima (Eric Ladin), his wingman Lieutenant Salter (Jamie Gray Hyder), United States Marine Corps Sergeant Omar (David Harewood), Coporal Brooks (Jason Barry), and his robot sidekick ETH.3n (Jeffrey Nordling). Facing Reyes and his allies in battle is the commander of the starship Olympus Mons, and leader of the SDF, Rear Admiral Salen Kotch (Kit Harington).