With Call of Duty: Ghosts winging its way to both new and current generation platforms, we thought it was time to investigate the multiplayer component of the illustrious first person shooter, in further depth. We take a look at some of the dynamic maps and game modes, as well as the new and improved squad and perks systems.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is being developed by the game development studio Infinity Ward, harnessing the power of a brand new engine. The game is slated for the following November release dates, depending upon your platform of choice and geographical location:
- PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U – Nov. 5, 2013
- PS4 for North America – Nov. 15, 2013
- PS4 for European Union – Nov. 29, 2013
- Xbox One – Nov. 22, 2013
Infinity Ward have sought to reassure fans that the next installment of the blockbuster series will offer more innovations and gameplay features, within its multiplayer segment, than any of the franchise’s previous iterations to date. This includes enhanced interaction with the battlefield’s environment, as well as the inclusion of unique player movements, including sliding, leaning and vaulting. Interestingly, a button press is no longer required for leaning around corners; once a character approaches the edge of a wall, and aims down their sites, they can lean out and begin picking off their targets.
Much of the details surrounding Ghosts’ multiplayer was announced back in August, when Eric Hirshberg, Activision’s Chief Executive Officer, took to the stage in downtown Los Angeles to debut an extensive preview of some of the new game modes, character customization, dynamic maps and details concerning the incorporation of mobile devices into multiplayer gameplay.
WARNING: the in-game video footage used throughout the article depicts scenes of violence that some viewers may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
Infinity Ward are upping their game, with respect to player customization, going so far as to introduce the “Create-A-Soldier” system. This new overhaul is one of the cornerstones of the multiplayer experience, with over 20,000 possible combinations of character available, enabling players to fine-tune their soldier’s aesthetics and weapon loadouts, prior to battle.
During Ghosts, the player is restricted to a budget for primary and secondary weapons, as well as tactical and lethal equipment and perks. As the player begins to accumulate XP, tokens will become available. These tokens can be used to unlock previously inaccessible loadouts, expanding the arsenal of weapons, attachments and gear that can be hauled into the multiplayer arena.
Taking this customization to the next level, the development team have elected to allow their fanbase to create their own squad of up to ten soldiers, each of which can be tweaked to allow specialization for particular combat classes and multiplayer game modes. Hirshberg explains that “… profile, accomplishments and prestige level…” will be accessible using a variety of mobile devices, assuming players sign-up for Call of Duty accounts.
Call of Duty Ghosts’ Executive Producer Mark Rubin spoke about the addition of female characters, as seen during the premiere of the multiplayer launch trailer, as well as some of the customization options and perks.
In terms of weapons, the Activision employee boasted about the implementation of 30 entirely new weapons, ranging from the assault rifle to the shotgun, with an “… 80 percent overhaul from Modern Warfare 3.” Rubin points out that the appearance of Ghosts’ roster of weapons have transitioned, alongside the way they feel and sound.
An entirely new weapon class has also been introduced, entitled the Marksman rifle, which is designed as a hybrid between sniper and assault rifle classes. The weapon can be used as scoped, semi-automatic sniper rifles or as single-shot assault rifles, when aiming down its scope.
Thus far, the following weapon categories have been confirmed:
- Assault Rifles (e.g. AK-12, ARX160, Honey Badger)
- Handguns (e.g. .44 Magnum, M9A1, P226)
- Launchers (e.g. Panzerfaust, MK32)
- Light Machine Guns (e.g. Chain SAW, M27 IAR)
- Marksman Rifles (e.g. MK14, MR-28, etc)
- Sub Machine Guns (e.g. Bizon, MTAR-X, Vector CRB)
- Shotguns (e.g. FP6, MAUL, MTS255)
- Sniper Rifles (e.g. L115, LYNX, VKS)
The Infinity Ward team has also developed their “Dual-Render Scope” technology, ensuring the player’s peripheral vision remains unimpeded when using the iron sights to target enemy soldiers.
As mentioned earlier, Call of Duty: Ghosts‘ multiplayer has been designed to take advantage of a new squads-based system. Players can use their assembly of customized warriors to engage in a variety of cooperative and multiplayer game modes, throughout online competitive play, or during solo matches with enemy AI.
Experience in squad based multiplayer games contributes towards overall XP, and can be used to improve soldier ranking and unlock weapons and equipment. The following primary, squad-based game types are planned for release:
- Squad vs. Squad
- Squad Assault
Infinity Ward have also gone to town on the enemy AI, which now behave more like human players than ever before. AI units can now side-strafe, corner-camp and perform jump shots, simulating many of the actions of real players.
The Perks System
The perks system has also undergone a radical change, with many more options at the gamer’s disposal, improving variety when customizing classes. Every perk has a set point value from one to five, with a total of eight points available for the player to assign whatever number of points to whatever perk they desire.
Rubin explains how secondary weapons and equipment can be traded in to relinquish a further three points, bringing the total number of available perk points up to 11. The developers believe the new perks system can provide another layer of strategy, forcing players to think about the tactical implications of their selection.
The perks are split into various categories, including Speed, Handling, Stealth, Awareness, Resistance, Equipment and Elite. In terms of “Speed”, mobility and aim speed, sprint duration, and reload times can all be attuned.
Meanwhile, “Handling” perks are capable of affecting weapon swap speed, accuracy of hip-fire and a variety of other factors that involve dexterity; for example, the “On the Go” perk provides a soldier with the ability to reload whilst sprinting.
“Stealth” perks can make the player undetectable to player targeting, motion sensors, sentries and air support, and can lessen soldier footstep and movement noise. “Awareness” offers perks that amplify the sounds of enemy movements, displays enemy apparatus and explosives, and can even allow a soldier to strip ammunition from downed enemy units.
“Resistance” perks can impart improved health regeneration and increased resistance to explosives and flashbangs, whilst “Equipment” perks can provide additional tactical and lethal equipment, as well as extra attachments and ammo magazines. “Elite” offers a range of specialist aptitudes; for example, the “Ping” perk unveils the location of two nearby enemies, immediately following a successful kill.
Multiplayer Game Modes
To freshen up the multiplayer action, a hoard of new game types are being rolled out by Infinity Ward.
Thus far, the details of at least two game modes are yet to be announced. Nonetheless, the following game modes have been confirmed to make their way into Ghosts’ multiplayer.
- Blitz – Players must perform runs to the enemy’s base and reach a static goal to score points. Once the player touches the goal, they are then teleported back to their own base’s goal and must then continue the cycle all over again.
- Cranked – when a player performs a kill they become “Cranked,” setting off a 30 second timer. They are then tasked with claiming another life, before the timer runs down to zero, otherwise they will explode.
- Domination – Domination is a typical capture the flag variant, requiring players to assume control of three flags, strategically scattered about the map. Controlling a single flag will gain the team a point every two seconds, whilst controlling two or three flags simultaneously will earn the team two or three points, respectively, every couple of seconds.
- Free for all – up to eight players are pitted against one another. Free for all is Call of Duty’s traditional deathmatch mode of multiplayer gameplay, where the first player to reach 30 kills is proclaimed the winner.
- Grind – new game mode, with details to be announced
- Hunted – new game mode, with details to be announced
- Infected – Infected made its first appearance in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, with all players starting out as non-infected. After a short countdown, a single player becomes randomly infected. This infected player must run across the map recruiting the remaining “survivors” by infecting them. If all survivors become infected, it’s game over; if any of the survivors last five minutes, they steal victory from the infected.
- Kill Confirmed – two teams duke it out, killing each other on a team deathmatch basis. However, once each kill has been committed, players must acquire the dog tags of their thwarted rivals. The first team to reach the 100 mark wins.
- Search and Rescue – players drop tags every time they are killed. If this tag is picked up by an enemy, the player is down and out for good; if the tag is retrieved by an ally, however, the player is revived.
- Search and Destroy – two teams are selected – one team that is tasked with planting a bomb at one of two target sites, and one that must defend both sites. This game mode allows no respawns per round, and sets a time limit of five minutes, in which the explosive must be planted and detonated.
- Team Deathmatch – two teams vie for kills. The team with the highest kill count after ten minutes, or the first to reach 75 kills, wins.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is expected to feature a total of 14 multiplayer maps, with four DLC map packs looming after the game’s November release.
One of the most novel approaches that Infinity Ward is adopting involves the introduction of dynamic map events, similar in nature to the scripted multiplayer events proposed for DICE’s Battlefield 4. These map events are often player triggered and are capable of transforming the landscape to offer a changeup in strategy and gameplay style.
Mark Rubin explains what the studio had in mind when creating their brand new multiplayer maps for Ghosts:
“… equally important is the world in which you’re playing. Over the years we’ve challenged ourselves to set the bar in multiplayer map design to deliver fast, frantic, quick-hitting Call of Duty style gameplay. With Ghosts, we’ve pushed ourselves even further… we’re immersing players in the multiplayer maps in way similar to what we’ve done cinematically in single player.”
Player triggered traps and map transforming kill streaks are now expected to be common place in Ghosts. Rubin uses the Octane map as a perfect example of a dynamic map. In Octane, an entire gas station can be destroyed, wiping out enemy units beneath it and providing a new form of cover.
Meanwhile, during the Strikezone multiplayer map, a powerful warhead called the Odin Strike can be deployed, completely devastating vast areas of the map and illuminating the skyline in an ominous, orange fog.
Thus far there have been a total of six multiplayer maps confirmed by Infinity Ward, including the following:
- Free Fall (pre-order bonus map)
Assault and Support Strike Packages
Assault Strike packages are based upon achieving consecutive series of kills, destroying enemy air support and completing multiplayer objectives, which becomes reset upon death. Ghosts is reported to serve up the following new streak rewards:
- Maniac – calls in juggernaut armor
- Guard Dog – deploys combat canine to warn you of, and attack, nearby enemies
- Sat Com – provides information on location of enemy units, using satellite communications
Meanwhile, the following Support Strike packages are also new to Ghosts, and are not reset upon a player’s demise:
- Helo Scout – a controllable helicopter is dispatched into the battlefield, providing sniper support
- Multi-role Anti-Armor Weapon System (MAAWS) launcher – fires a rocket that splits into two additional rockets; as the projectiles are laser-guided, the player can control their destination
- Night Owl – companion drone, capable of detecting enemy units and offering protection from explosive weapons
We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at some of the new multiplayer gameplay features in Call of Duty: Ghosts. With the release of many of the versions due in less than a month, we expect further details on the gaming horizon. Check back for further updates. Meanwhile, checkout the official trailer for Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer:
By: James Fenner