Call of Duty: Ghosts' Extinction mode (Credit: Activision)
For the past several years, Call of Duty releases have dominated charts while repeatedly breaking their own sales records. That might not come quite as easily this year thanks to the epic performance of Grand Theft Auto V, but it’s a given that Call of Duty: Ghosts will put up one helluva fight.
So what’s new in this year’s model? Here are five things coming to Ghosts that you’ve yet to see in a Call of Duty game.
Soldier’s best friend
Riley (Credit: Activision)
Cats might rule the internet, but one very special dog rules Call of Duty: Ghosts. His name is Riley, and he was a star from the moment Activision first showed off the game.
Bred to assist players in both solo and multiplayer, the German Shepherd carries an assortment of tactical help, including a back-mounted camera and large, pointy teeth. He’s true to life, too, built using the same motion-capture tech as his human companions, though we’re not sure any of them are brave enough to leap onto a helicopter and bite the pilot, as Riley did in one of the game’s more memorable trailers.
Of course, having a high-profile dog in a game about shooting things begs the question: will Riley survive the tale? Developer Infinity Ward isn’t saying, but with nearly 30,000 Twitter followers, Riley’s legion of fans would never let them hear the end of it if the pooch perished.
Out with the dead, in with the aliens
Burnt out on the undead? So is Infinity Ward, who decided to jettison Call of Duty’s long-running Zombies mode in favor of something a little more…foreign.
That would be the game’s new Extinction mode, which tasks teams of four to defend a base against hordes of bug-like alien invaders. Though the core gameplay looks pretty similar to Zombies, it adds flavor with unlockable classes, scavenging for items, team-based skill points, and power-ups specific to Extinction. A little bit of Halo in your Call of Duty, perhaps?
Answer the call, on the go
Second-screen gaming is all the rage these days, but like pretty much everything else with Call of Duty, Ghosts goes bigger than most with its off-screen antics. The Call of Duty app for phones and tablets ties into Ghosts in all sorts of ways, from obvious extensions like the ability to track stats and gameplay history to more functional bits like customizing loadouts before and during matches.
It also enables cross-platform clans -- another first for the franchise -- which essentially lets players join the same clan even if they’re on different gaming systems. A new ‘Clan Wars’ game mode even lets you fight other clans through the app, which also nets XP for the main game.
Ten years after the first game in the series launched, Call of Duty is finally breaching the gender gap.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is the first game in the franchise to feature full soldier customization, letting players tweak every aspect of their virtual hero’s look – including gender. It’s an issue that’s dogged the series for years, though Infinity Ward insists it comes down to technology. Past games didn’t feature any player customization due to the sheer scope of its multiplayer. Once the tech enabled customization, they say, gender was an obvious addition.
“Our fan base is huge,” executive producer Mark Rubin told Kotaku back in August. “We cover such a dramatic range of people who play our game that we wanted to be as inclusive as we possibly could with character customization. And that's where the idea came from. Why wouldn't we have a female [option] then?"
If playing solo isn’t your thing and getting torched in multiplayer is proving a drag, you can opt for Ghosts’ third mode of play: Squads.
Players can customize AI-controlled squads of up to five soldiers, then hop into a variety of competitive, cooperative, and survival match types against other players and their squads. Your customized squad can even fight for you -- and earn XP -- when you’re offline. Best of all, any XP you gain in Squad mode goes towards your multiplayer rank, which could prove to be a smoother entry point for gamers intimidated by online play.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Infinity Ward