The lights are on
Update: Call of Duty: Ghosts's DLC will be a timed exclusive for the recently revealed Xbox One.
Activision has found incredible success with the Call of Duty series while having to make arguably few changes to the core formula. For the next-gen entries on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Infinity Ward is rebuilding the engine from the ground up. During a pre-E3 event last week in Santa Monica, California, the developer walked us through the new engine’s graphical advancements. We also learned some tidbits regarding the story and were walked through an underwater gameplay sequence.
Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin took the stage to explain the basic plot. America has been crippled and is fighting against superior forces. The remaining branches of the armed forces have united, forming an underdog force called Ghosts that the player is part of. The story is being penned by Stephen Gaghan, creator of Traffic.
Speaking of underdogs, a canine companion joins the player throughout the game. This war pup sniffs out bombs, attacks enemies, and more. Infinity Ward hopes players attach to this dog emotionally. The team even extensively mo-capped actual soldier dogs and researched the stories of these furry veterans.
Along with an engine overhaul, Infinity Ward is also revamping multiplayer. While the developer isn’t going into many specifics, it did highlight dynamic maps. An example shown was a truck’s load of huge metal pipes being loosed on enemies. Rubin also mentioned earthquakes, floods, and other player-driven traps affect the flow of the map.
Infinity Ward spent a lot of time comparing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 side-by-side to Call of Duty: Ghosts. As to be expected with next-gen hardware, the new game looks much better. Character models are much more detailed, fewer polygons are visible upon further inspection, and lighting looks amazing. Infinity Ward offered a walkthrough of a jungle environment to demonstrate the new engine’s capabilities. Sun rays peak through the foliage above, a creek babbles quietly, ambient insects and birds fly along, and rocks in the riverbeds show impressive detail. Displacement mapping allows these riverbed rocks to go from flat textures to detailed geometric shapes based on your proximity. Another new technique called sub-d turns jagged polygonal curves into perfect circles, such as the curve of a pilot’s helmet visor or the iron sights on your weapon. These enhancements may sound minor by themselves, but together they make a convincing demonstration of the benefits of next-gen.
Finally, we watched an underwater gameplay sequence. Two Ghost soldiers swim along vivid coral reefs, teeming with colorful plant life and fish going about their business. The duo encounters another set of enemy soldiers. They take out the threat with timed shots from their waterproof rifles. Eventually a loud pinging noise sounds overhead. A huge submarine passes above, which feels reminiscent of the Star Destroyer’s introduction at the beginning of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The player takes down the huge vessel with a remote-controlled torpedo from within the ruins of a sunken lighthouse. The concussive blast knocks him unconscious. When he comes to, his oxygen tube has been severed and his buddy works to free him from pinning rubble. The protagonist is freed, his air supply is fixed, and they begin their swim to safety as huge chunks of the destroyed ship rain down. The demo ends as their escape is interrupted by a descending group of enemy divers.
Activision’s demonstration of next-generation technology makes a compelling case for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. The story behind the Call of Duty games have been hit and miss in the past, but the addition of a proven filmmaker may help Ghosts. We were impressed by what we saw of the new engine, and look forward to learning more about the changes to multiplayer leading up the game’s launch on current and next-gen systems.
Email the author Tim Turi, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
I'm starting to become interested in this game.
I was expecting something a little less generic.
Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I am not thrilled by their "Next-gen" graphics. Because at best, they look like the exact same graphics they have been pumping out for the past five plus years.
As for our lovely screenshots, the last one of the water, and the small cliff and brilliant sun flare, ultimately reminds me of World at War when you are fighting along the cliffs of the Japanese in Multiplayer. So, in my opinion, they still have a long way to go before they start to sway me.
1:Change the perks. By that I mean actually put effort into them, not just by changing the emblem or name of them, but actually try making new perks other than having Ghost or Stopping Power or Slight of hand appear in every Call of Duty just with a fancy new emblem and title. Same is same is same.
2:Change the killstreaks. The same thing applies as above. I know a UAV is all fine and dandy, but when you keep throwing in the same weapon attachments that allow you to have IR sights, Heartbeat sensors, and equipment that allows you to have a mobile camera and sensor for a certain area, then why have it? You are only promoting the use of run and gun tactics more by making people compete against their team mates for who can corner a helpless new or skilled player before the UAV runs out. Make it challenging for them and make them gain skill by being observant. Counter UAVs, Artillery strikes, Attack Dogs, Attack Helicopters, Rolling Thunder Carpet Bombs, and more should be mixed up a bit. It is kinda boring looking at the same things over and over again for killstreaks. Give your group a new set of them, and they might be inclined to bust their ass and stay alive and play tactically to try and get them just to experience and see something new.
3:Expand the maps so that a "Sniper" class can actually be used to snipe instead of forcing people to pick up the dreaded practice of Quick Scoping.
4:If no maps expand in size, then get rid of snipers that are forced to resort to crappy tactics to survive in a run and gun society.
5:Dedicated Servers... One of the things that pissed me off the most was relying on some guy's connection speed halfway across the nation only to have a host switch every other two minutes. Dedicated servers will easily fix that and make it much easier for the group.
6:Start putting effort into everything as a whole. The only reason I bought Black Ops 1 was because campaign, but it lost me there even. Activision keeps cranking out the same things over and over again for the multiplayer only, and that is because no one argues against it because it is the same things, same formula, same everything, over and over, every single November. Eventually people are going to become bored. Look at Zelda, Pokémon, and Mario, eventually Zelda will save the day one too many times, Pokémon can have one too man pokeparks run out of their generations (They made an ice cream cone pokemon), and Mario will eventually discover all the universes that can possibly exist. However, to stop that, all you need to do is come up with fresh ideas, and put pride in your work.