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Over the course of an hour, Activision CEO Eric Hirschberger unveiled and displayed a staggering renovation to their flagship franchise Call of Duty. Along with Infinity Ward Executive Producer Mark Ruben, Hirschberger showcased some monumental changes coming to the series via Call of Duty: Ghosts.
The magnitude of the presentation has revealed some major advancements to not only the core mechanics of the game through a new game engine but also in regards to mobile cross-platform support and social media.
Call of Duty ELITE has finally grown up.
Moving away from the ELITE branding, the new system will revolve around your Call of Duty account which will share information between your console and mobile devices via apps. Many of the features introduced in ELITE will be available through the Call of Duty app such as analytical stats and load-out changes, other features will be focused on new and reconceived features.
After the limited functionality in ELITE, clans will play a much larger role in Call of Duty from here on out. The mobile app will allow for administrative tasks along with communications; clan chat is a text-based feature, while "rally up" asks as a pager telling your clan members to jump in game. Every online activity clans participate in will earn them experience which will unlock greater customization for the clan. Clans will be able to compete in clan wars, competitions over a single territory in which the clan with the most victories at that territory win the clan war for experience and unlocks. These competitions will occur both in the game and within an app powered meta-game for mobile devices.
New engines have finally opened up the Call of Duty series to both dynamic environments which are reactive to player activity and more fluid movement across the game space.
The core movement mechanics now include sliding, mantling, and leaning. However the lean is not based on a hotkey. Instead Infinity War will introduce Contextual Leaning to the mix which seamlessly leans your character around objects for greater freedom of movement while in cover. Along with a new vaulting mechanic which allows you to mantle over objectives fluidly, the game now allows you to end that maneuver with a knee slide while firing your weapon. The new graphics engine has also opened up Call of Duty to knifing animations similar to Battlefield 3. Though the game engine has received some long-awaited upgrades, the maneuverable capabilities are stylized providing a touch of theatrics each time they are used.
The graphics engine has also added in dual rendering scopes. Sniper scopes will offer a limited peripheral view of your front rather than taking up your whole screen, though the focus point is in your scope your blurry surroundings will finally be visable to you.
The environment has been upgraded to receive an overhaul. New technology has allowed the Infinity Ward team to develop an environment filled with dynamic map events, or reactive and destructible environments. Some of these occurrences are event traps while others can be caused by killstreaks. Tree or even Gas Station overhangs can be blown over crushing anything underneath while also providing a new position for cover. Unforgiving and unexpected, these events can crush unsuspecting players and can be used to great effect in certain situations, such as cutting a loosely tied pile of timber free on top of oncoming enemies.
Though it is still unclear if you can ever play as the dog, a new co-op mode and seven new game modes will help reshape the multiplayer universe in Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Squads Mode allows you to level up 10 squad members at your own pace. As you level up, squad points you gain can be used to unilaterally unlock weapons, attachments, killstreaks, and equipment. Each squad member has a single prestige level which can be earned for 10 total. Players can run solo or together against other players online or AI teams. Wargame has two squads of five face off against one another, however the player can also choose an AI opponent while playing solo or with friends. You can also load-out an offline squad to compete for you in Squad Assault which pits six online players against an offline squad, if your offline squad wins the match you gain experience for it.
In order to provide a challenge to players at any level in Squads Mode, the AI has also been reworked providing a greater threat. The AI can now perform many of the skill-based shots and tactics used by players throughout the series. They also utilize the same mechanics as you meaning that the adaptive AI can now side-strafe and drop shot you just as readily as they can charge and slide at you for a kill.
The new highlight mode, Cranked, shifts the gears of traditional death match with an explosive twist. Once you get a kill a counter shows up in your HUD; you have increased movement speed, shorted reload time, and quicker ADS. If you get another kill before the counter stops you get more time; when you fail to keep the clock ticking your character explodes. Another of the seven new game modes includes Search and Rescue which allows teammates to revive their fallen comrades while enemies can finish them off. Instead of Search and Destroy, Infinity Ward has added a Kill Confirmed styled curveball for Call of Duty: Ghosts. When a player dies a tag is dropped and if an ally claims the tag the player is revived, if an enemy claims the tag the player is out for the match.
Dubbed Marksman Rifles, a new class of weapons has been added to the series. These battle rifles are iron-sight semi-automatic large calibered killers. Able to fit a optic, this new class of weapon will add powerful semi-automatic assault rifles to the mix similar to the M14. The new arsenal includes over 30 new weapons.
Killstreaks have also been remedied while deathstreaks have been removed. With over 20 new killstreaks, the Support Packages concept has been renewed while the Killstreams themselves have become less asset-oriented. Across support, assault, and specialist strike packages, players will unlock more "visceral" and "ground-based" Killstreak stated Ruben. Amongst the new killstreaks are both a minigun and knife wielding juggernaut, a UAV drone now called a Satcomm, Riley the guard-dog which growls at and attacks enemy players, a Helo Scout sniper that puts you in the lens of a sniper perched in a helicopter, and something called odin strike, which appears to be an orbital strike.
The greatest change to the overall Call of Duty experience is their most touted of the night, a platform of possibilities and player customization. Your unique solider will have access to a large array of weapons and other aesthetic elements such as their Uniform; in total over 20,000 customizable combinations are possible with the new system; even female character models, pictured earlier.
Class structure has been removed in favor of the Squad Points system of progression however Perks play a much larger though more static role. Each player is allowed eight spending points for the seven trees of perks. Each perk has a cost from 1 to 5 indicating how far you buy into a single tree of perks. Players can choose to sacrifice their secondary weapon and equipment slots for a total of 11 spending perks. The perk trees augment your players: speed, handling, stealth, awareness, resistance, equipment, or elitiness.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is set to release across all major platorms on November 5th. The game will run at a native 60 frames per second on both the current and next generation of consoles as well as the PC. If you want to see the entire multiplayer reveal event that was held earlier today, the video is available to watch above.