Here’s What We Know About Call of Duty: Ghosts

This year will see the launch of the next generation of consoles, and Call of Duty series developer Treyarch and publisher Activision mean for it to be the launch of the next generation of the super-popular shooter as well.

As we saw during Microsoft’s reveal of its new Xbox console, Call of Duty: Ghosts is a new direction for the franchise. Gone is the Modern Warfare moniker and the engine the series has been running on for almost the entire length of the seventh console generation. Game Front also got a chance to see some additional bits of Call of Duty: Ghosts at Activision’s pre-E3 event in Los Angeles, and also saw some of the game in action (and underwater). Here’s what we learned:

Call of Duty’s Alternate New World

Though the Modern Warfare series and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 both flirted with science fiction (in the form of near future settings and speculated technology), Ghosts takes Call of Duty full-bore into the comic shop with a post-apocalyptic frame straight out of Pat Frank.

Fifteen years prior to the start of the game, an as-yet unrevealed catastrophe knocked the United States off the top rung of the world Superpower ladder. Since then, Americans have lived a subjugated life under the control of… something. Neither the details of the catastrophe nor its perpetrators were explained during the presentation, though it was heavily implied to be an attack on a massive scale by foreign powers, rather than successful terrorism. An entire generation has grown up knowing little about the world before, but the playable protagonists set out to fight off the bad guys and, presumably, restore American liberty to, you know, America.

What little we know of the game’s protagonists flows from this bit of information. Executive Producer Mark Rubin mentioned that players will take on the role of a fighter who experienced the “event” with his brother when it happened in the past. Fifteen years on, the pair are still fighting alongside one another in their “squad” (about which we know very little), and this relationship will play some role in the game. Also playing a role, it seems, will be experiencing the apocalyptic event yourself, which seems like it’ll take place in-game.

So What’s the “Ghosts” Part Mean?

The term “Ghosts” refers to a combination of military specialties, rather than a single discipline like “special ops,” “SEALS” or what have you. Instead, as Rubin explained, players will be combining disciplines from all of the former U.S. military disciplines, and possibly from beyond as well. The idea here is that Ghosts are a squad of the absolute best soldiers available, which may suggest new gameplay experiences that meld multiple skills together.

And the “Ghosts” idea might extend beyond the American military, too, at least in some degree. As we saw in the first teaser trailer for Ghosts, the term also seems to refer to a long legacy of warfare stretching back to the dawn of civilization. As the game’s protagonists have grown up in the wreckage of America That Was1, they can’t join the military to learn how to fight. Instead, they may have been forced to learn on their own from the example of warriors throughout human history: the ghosts of the past, as it were. Images in the trailer and during the presentation showed a series of faces close up similar to the skull associated with the game. This included a Samurai, a Greek Hoplite (which is almost certainly a Spartan), and a member of the U.S. Military, implying that by some means, these people will learn several different styles of combat as they battle the unnamed occupiers.

With the new game world, the idea, Rubin said during the presentation, is to put the player in the role of insurgents fighting a technologically superior force, reversing the standard model of CoD. “You aren’t the big army sort of storming the beaches,” Rubin said in an interview with Game Front. “You’re getting stormed.”

While the Modern Warfare and Black Ops series have both forced players to engage in asymmetrical warfare, often against seemingly overwhelming odds, these scenarios have always come with the implication of the full (if covert) backing of the world’s most powerful militaries. This time, resources are presumably scare, outside support is nil, and chances of victory slim to none.

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