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Call of Duty: Ghosts to feature female soldiers, dynamic maps, new modes

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(Credit: Activision)

The next installment in the Call of Duty franchise is gunning for every second of your spare time.

At a media gala in Los Angeles, the company announced a slew of new multiplayer features for their upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts, including dynamic maps, customizable soldiers, new modes, and a second screen experience intended to give you something to do when you aren’t getting virtually shot to pieces.

This is the biggest overhaul of multiplayer since the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,” said developer Infinity Ward’s Mark Rubin in a statement. “With all the customization options, our new Create-a-Soldier system, dynamic map events, new perks and killstreaks, tactical player animations, new Squads mode, Clan support in-game and on second screen, it’s the complete online experience.”

And that’s one meaty sentence, Mark. Let’s break it down a bit.

The ability to fully customize a soldier in Ghosts is a first for the series, which until now has only let players tweak their weapon loadouts. Now they’ll be able to mix and match heads, bodies, gear, and, in another long overdue first, gender.

“You can finally play as a female soldier,” confirmed Rubin. Only took you like ten years, guys.

Gamers can even build squads of soldiers and take them into the game’s new ‘Squads’ mode (one of seven new modes), which turns your customized characters into computer-controlled squadmates. The game’s multiplayer maps are also undergoing some changes, most notably by becoming dynamic playfields. Players can trigger traps and events -- blowing up a gas station, for instance -- that will actually change the layout of the map itself.

[Related: Call of Duty: Ghosts screenshots]

Terrified of down time? Ghosts has you covered there, too. You can take your profile with you on the go to play on other systems. Activision also confirmed that your current Call of Duty profile for the Xbox 360 or PS3 will transition over to the Xbox One and PS4, respectively. And should staring intently at one screen just not cut it, the Call of Duty app will give you all sorts of extra info before and after a match, letting you tinker with loadouts and Clans when you should probably just be reading a book or something on the bus.

Then again, that bus is likely filled with other Call of Duty players. Activision recently revealed impressive usage numbers for the franchise, which has seen over 100 million players since 2007’s Modern Warfare. That includes celebs like Eminem, who unveiled a new song, “Survival,” in the game’s latest trailer.

Warning: Some adult language here. It's Eminem, after all.

Ghosts faces stiff competition going into the holidays, however. EA’s Battlefield 4, the game’s most direct contender, is expected to put up a strong fight, while anticipated games like Grand Theft Auto V, Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed IV will undoubtedly cut into holiday game budgets. The arrival of new consoles from Microsoft and Sony will also have an impact on buying decisions. Activision’s other lucrative annual franchise, the toy-hybrid Skylanders, has its first real competitor in Disney Infinity, which launches this Sunday.

Still, Ghosts is currently tracking as the most pre-ordered game going into the holidays – and that’s not counting the new special edition versions of the game announced today, including the ‘Prestige Edition,’ which comes with a wearable HD camera.

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