Chances are you’ve heard the news, the next Call of Duty will be out November 5th and it’s subtitled “Ghosts.” What none of us have heard though, is what exactly the game’s theme, setting, or basically anything is, other than these rumors. Being a longtime fan and follower of COD and it’s development, I feel like I can lend some insight into what the deal with Ghosts is.
Oh, and just a heads up, I’ve pretty much been spot on with every prediction I’ve ever made about COD because of how closely I pay attention to everything that circulates about their development. So yeah, I’m not just guessing here.
Setting: Post-global nuclear war
Activision/Infinity Ward have made it clear that Ghosts is a transition for the COD franchise away from what they’ve already done as far as story and setting are concerned. The one thing COD hasn’t really done is the “after war” story. I think, given the dark/mysterious tone of the marketing for Ghosts and “using non-futuristic weapons” leaks and rumors, we’re going to see a very underground, guerrilla, in the ruins-of-the urban-world-warfare style setting.
The fact that Ghosts will be running on a “totally new” engine also sends up some smoke signals that correlate to this theroy. With new engines come new tools which take time to learn. As we’ve seen in past titles like BF3 and Crysis 2, the first games running on a new engine are typically the trial run for the developers to figure out what they can and can’t do well with the new software. So it would make sense that IW is using weapons they know like the back of their hand. The setting just helps support that. More on how this translates to multiplayer in a bit.
Story: Meh, but lets talk about it anyway.
I’ve heard that some people actually buy COD for the single player campaign too. Honestly, I have never really been all that intrested in COD campaigns outside of COD4/WaW, and WaW only because of Kiefer Sutherland. So the fact that Ghosts will have a campaign doesn’t really interest me all that much.
But for the sake of covering everything, I expect the Ghosts campaign to be more of a Homefront style of storyline. The “other guys” have already taken over and now it’s time to reclaim our freedom. It migh also be “hey, so we just blew everyone up, lets fight amongst ourselves for power.” Either way, expect two (or a few) factions of soldiers/people/countries fighting to reclaim power in a chaotic and destoryed urban setting.
A lot of people have been pondering whether or not the character Ghost will be making a return in Ghosts. I doubt it highly. Like I said, Activision & IW are going for a new chapter in the COD saga and I doubt we’ll see any old characters coming back. Though it wouldn’t shock me, espeically given the annoucment teaser, if there’s a lot of allusioning and symbolism to past COD characters.
Multiplayer: Going oldschool?
As I mentioned in the bit about the setting for Ghosts, the fact that it’s running on a new engine (and on new hardware i.e., next gen consoles) is going to both limit and expand Ghosts’ development. On one hand, it’s (hopeful assumption here) a totally new engine, which means the devs haven’t been using it for a decade like they have with the current engine. This means getting the game to do X, Y, or Z might be more difficult initialy than it would be in the old engine. But on the other hand, maybe the new engine is built to do X, Y, or Z and the old engine wasn’t or the current gen consoles made it impossible.
Either way, Infinity Ward will be using Ghosts as a proving ground for what the new engine can do, which means they’ll be avoiding risks and massive inovation. I think we can expect to see something like COD4′s multiplayer, but with a similar style of killstreaks to Modern Warfare 3, though hopefully without the support strike package. All the weapons in the annoucement teaser were guns you can buy on store shelves right now (which was basically all the weaponry in COD4), so it wouldn’t shock me if franchise staples like the M16, AK-47, MP5 and others will make a comeback.
Personally, I’d really like to see something like Modern Warfare 2, but balanced and improved upon for Ghosts and I think the end product will in fact be something that reminds A LOT of players of MW2, if not in look or feel than in spirit.
Final Thoughts: Don’t screw up
My frustrations with Black Ops 2′s issue made me stop playing it and sell my Xbox. COD really hasn’t been fun for me since Black Ops 1, and even then it was really starting to bug me. Given how much more harshly each new COD title has been recived since MW2, I really don’t think IW has much room for error with Ghosts. Yes, regardless of how good it actually is, it’s going to sell like hot cakes. But the core fanbase that plays COD every day isn’t going to stick around for much longer if the franchise keeps going downhill or, at the very least, continues moving away from what made it great: solid gameplay and rewarding skill over luck.
All things considered, despite my lack of faith in IW as a developer and my growing dislike for what Activision has done with their franchises, I think Ghosts might turn out to be the COD we’ve been waiting for. With new engines come new challeneges and cosidering how big COD has gotten, taking risks, especially with new hardware coming out, is basically outlawed. Hopefully, that forces IW to simplify Ghosts and move away from the “hey, you threw a grenade, here’s a chopper gunner for you,” design mentality.
What do you guys think? Agree? What are your thoughts and predictions for Call of Duty: Ghosts?