A mainstay in the gaming sphere, the Call of Duty franchise has gone through 10 different games, ranging from the original Call of Duty games to the more contemporary Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games, which shifted the focus away from the initial World War II setting and into the Middle East. While the Call of Duty: Black Ops franchise developed by Treyarch dialed the series back to a hypothetical Cold War setting, the latest entry, Call of Duty: Ghosts, starts a new storyline that is not connected to either Modern Warfare or Black Ops.
We sat down with developers today to demo two distinct levels of the game.
Check out our preview of what to expect on November 6 from Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Ghosts.
1. Riley the Attack Dog Is Awesome
The upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts is also about immersion. Never before have we seen this level of detail in a CoD title. Adding to that element of realism, Infinity Ward has implemented Riley the attack dog, a provisional member of the titular Ghost squadron. Attack dogs are typically used in real-life special forces and Navy SEALS squads, so Riley’s implementation makes sense.
The attack dog can be controlled at sections of the game designed to utilize its abilities, which include areas where the element of stealth and surprise would be paramount. Riley can sneak around for recon, take commands via an in-game touchpad (which hopefully will integrate the PS4’s touchpad), bark to lure enemy soldiers, and brutally maul incoming hostiles. While it doesn’t look like Riley can be utilized at any time, it seems that the attack dog can be used in optional sections as well for those who prefer the maul and growl over the run and gun. All in all, not bad for an animal we typically associate with attention-seeking playfulness and a constant desire to eat your dinner.
2. The Game Is Scripted by the Writer/Director of Syriana
Although not an instantly recognizable name, writer/director Stephen Gaghan has a solid history of Hollywood hits, most notably as the writer/director of the geopolitical thriller Syriana, and the writer of the Stephen Soderbergh directed Traffic, for which Gaghan won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Gaghan was intimately involved in the scripting process, with an office on-site at Infinity Ward studios in Los Angeles. Giving the single-player campaign the Hollywood treatment, Gaghan will hopefully script what’s shaping up to be one of the top Call of Duty campaigns to date.
3. A Whole New Graphics Engine Was Developed
With next generation right around the corner, it’s no surprise that Infinity Ward developed a new graphics engine to better gel with the upcoming innovations in the console hardware of PS4 and Xbox One. In the tech demo above, the graphical engine is shown off, which focuses on visual techniques that have been used in Hollywood for several years now.
One of those techniques is something called “SubD,” which according to the developers is something that Pixar initially developed. “SubD” allows environmental textures, such as rocks, water, or fallen weapons, to become more detailed when the player moves closer to them, allowing the experience of the player to mimic how sight is perceived in the human brain. This includes brightness and lighting effects, as well as the way the camera moves, which is all in an attempt for Infinity Ward to add to the realism and create a more immersive experience.
4. America Is No Longer a Superpower
While story details in the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts were scarce, one of the more notable aspects was that the United States of America is no longer a superpower, and was now fighting for survival in an increasingly globalized world. The Ghosts themselves are the remnants of the US special forces, who have come together from every branch of the military to create an elite group of soldiers. This desperation is unprecedented, and an at least partially occupied United States of America is fighting back against an organized and allied foe, who were able to best the USA after a currently unknown catastrophic event.
Speaking of which…
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5. The Villains Are Not Who You Expect
In military first person shooters, Russia is typically the enemy of today (at least in the Black Ops franchise), Germany the enemy of yesterday, and China the enemy of tomorrow. That’s not the case with Call of Duty: Ghosts, which pits the Ghost squadron against the Federation, an alliance of South American countries who, for better or worse, managed to overtake the United States of America. While not much else has been revealed against the Federation, they seem like a nice change of pace from other villains of the Call of Duty series.
6. ‘Federation Day’ Mission Highlights New Gameplay Features
Perhaps the most explosive mission we previewed, the “Federation Day” Call of Duty: Ghosts mission featured some of the new stealth mechanics, such as intuitive shooting around corners (just hit the left trigger near a wall), and throwing knives in slow-mode. The in-game banter between Ghost squadron members didn’t give us much context, but it was colorful and entertaining enough to highlight the stealth action of breaking into a Venezuelan building to turn off the power. We also got a taste of using the rappel line, which felt like it was being used in a legitimately compelling and entertaining way to crash through the glass building in stealthy style.
Unfortunately, gameplay footage is not currently available, but check back as soon as it’s online.
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7.’No Man’s Land’ Mission Makes the American Struggle A Reality
What definitely served as an iconic introduction to Call of Duty: Ghosts, the “No Man’s Land” mission preview showed off just how war-torn the United States of America had become. Taking place 10 miles north of San Diego, “No Man’s Land” shows off plenty of everyone’s favorite vicious attack dog, Riley, as well as some inspired stealth gameplay. Unlike previous Call of Duty titles, you really get the sense that you’re outnumbered and outgunned, and that it’s just you, Riley, and your Ghost squadmate out there. The lush vegetation also gave off a Far Cry feel, and it seemed like you had a few different options on how to best take out Federation soldiers.
8. ‘Into the Deep’ Mission Shows Off Underwater Combat
While we didn’t personally get to preview the “Into the Deep” mission, gameplay footage of the exclusively underwater mission looks torrid and scary. The underwater locale, right in the midst of the Caribbean Sea, looks to be an environment all it own. Like land confrontation, you still use a gun and need to go from cover to cover, but also can use the vertically of the ocean to pull off an elevated shot or dodge enemy fire. The player utilizes the APS underwater assault rifle, an underwater variant of the AK 47 developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. The gun is not effective at long-range and is difficult to use, making for a challenging gameplay experience. Additionally, the player gets to control a tablet-guided torpedo to blow up a Federation ship, which from the looks of it, is pretty menacing.
9. The Ghosts Do Not Feature Simon ‘Ghost’ Riley of Modern Warfare 2 Fame
Although it had been rumored that British Special Forces operator Simon “Ghost” Riley would be making an appearance in Call of Duty: Ghosts, the developers confirmed that the Ghosts were more of a homage to the character rather than a direct confirmation of the character’s appearance. If anything, at least we have Riley the attack dog, whose name is also a homage to the “Ghost” himself.
10. Not Much Word On Multiplayer … Yet
Not much on the multiplayer, which really is the hallmark of any Call of Duty experience, has been revealed yet, but from what we know, the action will be back and as explosive as ever. While it’s the number of maps or players per server is currently unknown, we do know that the new technology offered by next-generation tech will allow unprecedented levels of customization for player characters. Developers Neversoft and Raven Software were also enlisted for help developing the multiplayer, so if nothing else, it will be expansive.
Check back for more information on the Call of Duty: Ghosts campaign and multiplayer before the game releases for current generation and next generation consoles on November 5th.