Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts is a 2013 first-person shooter video game developed by Infinity Ward, with assistance from Raven Software, Neversoft and Certain Affinity. Published by Activision, it is the tenth primary installment in the Call of Duty series and the sixth developed by Infinity Ward. The video game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U on November 5, 2013, with Treyarch handling the port for the Wii U. The game was released with the launch of next-generation consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
According to review score aggregator Metacritic, Ghosts received mixed reviews from critics, with most praising its multiplayer gameplay and introduction of the new game mode Extinction, but criticizing it for its single-player campaign, rehashing of familiar concepts and general lack of innovation.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Development
- 4 Marketing and release
- 5 Post-release
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Setting and characters
Call of Duty: Ghosts is set in an alternate timeline that follows the nuclear destruction of the Middle East. The oil-producing nations of South America form "the Federation" in response to the ensuing global economic crisis and quickly grow into a global superpower, swiftly invading and conquering Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.
The game's main protagonists are the Ghosts, a force of U.S. Special Operations personnel trained to conduct clandestine missions behind enemy lines. The unit is led by retired U.S. Army Captain Elias Walker (Stephen Lang). He is joined by his sons Logan and David "Hesh" Walker (Brandon Routh), along with a trained German Shepherd named Riley, Captain Thomas A. Merrick (Jeffrey Pierce), and Sergeant Keegan P. Russ (Brian Bloom).
The game's main antagonist is Gabriel Rorke (Kevin Gage), the former leader of the Ghosts who works for the Federation after being captured and brainwashed by the Federation with torture and hallucinogens.
In the year 2017, U.S. Army Captain Elias Walker (Stephen Lang) tells his two sons, Logan and David "Hesh" Walker (Brandon Routh), the legend of how the Ghosts, an elite coalition of all US Special Operations units, first appeared. Meanwhile, in space, the 'Federation of the Americas' hijack the controlling space station of the Orbital Defense Initiative (ODIN), an orbital superweapon that utilizes kinetic bombardment, and use it to destroy several cities in the southwestern United States. The surviving American astronauts, Baker and Mosley, sacrifice themselves to self-destruct the space station and prevent the other ODIN satellites from launching their payloads further inland; Elias and the teenage Logan and David narrowly escape the destruction of San Diego.
Ten years later, the war between the United States and the Federation has been a bloody stalemate along a front that comprises the destroyed cities, known as "No Man's Land", which has become a war of attrition as more Federation invasion forces attempt to break the frontlines. However, the Americans stand their ground, fighting near the former US-Mexico border. Logan and Hesh are part of a U.S special unit under the command of Elias and are accompanied by their loyal military-trained German Shepherd, Riley. During a patrol, they spot an American working with the Federation, named Gabriel Rorke (Kevin Gage), interrogating a Ghost member, named Ajax. The brothers are later ambushed by wolves, but are rescued by Ghost members Thomas Merrick and Keegan Russ, who are aiming to rescue Ajax; Logan and Hesh join the mission to rescue Ajax, but he is killed.
The brothers return to Santa Monica, California, where U.S forces holdout against an assault from Federation forces, and reunite with their father, who reveals himself as the leader of Ghosts. Elias recruits them into the Ghosts, and they learn from him that Rorke was once their leader and Elias' best friend. However, during a successful mission to assassinate General Diego Almagro, then president of the Federation, in the capital city Caracas, Elias was forced to abandon Rorke, who was captured and brainwashed by the Federation and began hunting down members of the Ghosts.
The Ghosts capture Rorke, but while flying back home, Rorke's men attack their plane and rescue him. The team lands in the Amazon Jungle, where they witness a missile being launched for an unknown purpose. The Ghosts raid a Federation laboratory in the Andes and obtain data regarding classified information in a factory at Rio de Janeiro. The Ghosts destroy the Federation's Atlas oil platform located in Antarctica to lure the enemy fleet away from their objective and sink a destroyer guarding the Brazilian coast. Inside the factory, the team discovers that the Federation reverse engineered ODIN's technology and developed their own orbital bombardment system code named "LOKI". After destroying the factory, the Ghosts regroup at a safehouse in Las Vegas, but are captured by Rorke. After Rorke kills Elias, the brothers manage to escape along with Merrick, Keegan and Riley.
The United States then set out to stop LOKI before it becomes operational, pooling all their remaining forces, including the last aircraft carrier, the USS Liberator, in a synchronized all-out assault to take down an enemy space center in the Andes Mountains situated in the border between Argentina and Chile, while a team of soldiers board a shuttle to take over the Federation satellites in space. After both objectives are completed, Hesh and Logan pursue Rorke to avenge their father and are seemingly successful, only to find out during the aftermath that Rorke survived. Logan attempts to defend his wounded brother, but has his arm broken and is captured by Rorke, who announces his plans to brainwash Logan into killing the rest of the Ghosts.
In Call of Duty: Ghosts, the story is mostly told through the eyes of one single character, Logan Walker. Players assume the role of Logan for most of the game, with several other playable characters, including an astronaut specialist named Baker, and Logan's father, Elias Walker.
The multiplayer in Call of Duty: Ghosts features changes from that of previous Call of Duty games as some new mechanics have been added to it. Maps now have areas that can be altered or destroyed. There is a nuke-like kill streak reward, the KEM Strike. You can get the ODIN kill streak by either getting a certain amount of kills or you can get it by killing the top player on the other team and then completing various challenges after picking up a blue briefcase that is dropped. The sniper rifle scopes also have new "dual render technology" allowing the player to see around the outside of the scope (although blurred) when zoomed in. On October 3, a new multiplayer type was revealed, called Squads. This features a squad that you build and you can face other squads around the world. Your squad can be leveled up and will act like a true individual. "Octane", "Prison Break", "Tremor", "Freight", "Stormfront", "Siege", "Warhawk", "Sovereign", "Overlord", "Flooded", "Strikezone", "Whiteout", "Stonehaven" and "Chasm" are the maps that are in Call of Duty: Ghosts so far. The dynamic map, "Free Fall", was a pre-order bonus. The game now features playable female soldiers.
The Call of Duty franchise began branching out competitively in 2006, alongside the game released at the time, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Over the years, the series has extended with releases such as: Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and finally with the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts. With the release of each of these games, the competitive platform has become extremely popular and hosted on websites such as Gamebattles.com, Gamrs.net, and Majorleaguegaming.com.
These websites offer ladders or tournaments for the players to compete in. The ladders are divided into several sub ladders such as: the singles ladder, doubles ladder, team ladder (3v3 – 6v6) and hardcore team ladder (3v3 – 6v6). The difference between the regular team ladder and the hardcore team ladder is the in game settings and thus a rule differentiation. Winning ladder matches on a competitive website such as Gamebattles.com rewards the user with experience points which add up to give them an overall rank.
The tournaments offered on these websites, provide players with the opportunity to win cash prizes and trophies if successful winning their given match. The trophies are registered and saved on the players profile if/when they win a tournament and the prize money is delivered to the bank account number listed on the account. Call of Duty Ghosts is the most active game being played competitively in 2014, with an average of 15,000 teams participating every season.
For the past 6 seasons in competitive Call of Duty, Full Sail University has hosted a prize giveaway to the top team, $2,500 in prize per season to the team in first place. The other ladders give out credits and medals registered on their profiles. Tournaments hosted on the Call of Duty Ghost’s Arena give cost from 15 to 30 credits, thusly averaging at a cost of about $18.75 per tournament. If the player competes with a team, the prize money is divided and an equal cut is given to each player. Other tournaments are hosted in specific cities and countries for LAN teams to compete in, with substantial prizes. Two other major tournaments that host competitions are MLG: Anaheim and MLG: Dallas
The biggest Call of Duty tournament hosted is Call of Duty Experience (XP) and it is hosted each year for the released Call of Duty. It began when Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 released and was hosted in 2011. The spectator passes cost $140 and the V.I.P passes cost $270 in the Ghosts store on Gamebattles, furthermore allowing spectators to meet the professional players and have access to certain gaming equipment set up for their own entertainment. The pass can either be sold on the Call of Duty: Experience website or in the Major League Gaming Store
The competitive Call of Duty series is most popular in Europe and North America, with users who participate in tournaments and ladder matches daily. While other games such as the StarCraft (series) and League of Legends (series) are more popular in both Asia and North America. With such a diverse group of users the competitive series is promoted on social media sites from all over the world, such as: YouTube, Twitch.tv, and Twitter with over an average of 500,000 followers or subscribers per competitive player.
Call of Duty: Ghosts introduces a new game type called Squads. This mode can be played either solo or with other players including friends. A squad consists of ten different customizable characters. Squads can be utilized in unique gamemodes involving AI controlled enemies and AI controlled squad mates. The gamemodes include Squad Assault, Safeguard, Safeguard Infinite, Squad vs Squad, and Wargame. All of these modes can be played while online or offline.
- Squad vs Squad: Two opposing players play team deathmatch using their Squads.
- Wargame: The player and five squad mates against a team of enemy bots in a mode.
- Safeguard: The player and up to three other friends in a wave-based survival match similar to Survival Mode from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but with the addition of perks and scorestreaks.
Multiplayer game modes
Call of Duty: Ghosts features several staple multiplayer game modes, while introducing several new game types, including:
- Search and Rescue: A take on Search & Destroy, but rather than having a single life per round, in Search & Rescue a player's team can revive them. It combines that teamwork and communication from Kill Confirmed with the objective-based cooperation of Search & Destroy.
- Gun Game: Similar to versions in previous games, the player starts with a pistol and continues to gain a new weapon for each player they kill. The match ends when a player cycles through all of the available weapons.
- Cranked: In this team-based game mode, the first team to earn 100 kills wins. Once a player kills an enemy, becoming "Cranked," the player who earned the kill has 30 seconds to earn a subsequent kill. If they do not earn a subsequent kill within 30 seconds they blow up. It does not appear that the detonation harms nearby teammates or enemies. If a player earns a subsequent kill within 30 seconds the timer resets to 30 seconds. Once a player is "Cranked" their movement speed is increased, they throw grenades more rapidly, and they aim down sight more quickly, among other effects.
- Free For All: The classic gamemode from previous installments in the franchise returns, in which players must rack up a total of 30 kills to win the game against seven other opponents or rack up to most kills in a 10-minute time limit.
- Team Deathmatch: Team Deathmatch returns in Call of Duty: Ghosts: two teams, 10 minutes, 75 kill limit.
- Search and Destroy: A gamemode in which one side has five minutes to plant a bomb at a choice of two sites and the other team is tasked with defending the sites, the catch of this mode is there are no respawns and the game ends once one team wins four rounds.
- Domination: A gamemode where three flags are scattered throughout the map for players to take and control. Every five seconds a flag in controlled will gain a player's team a point, if a player's team controls two or three flags they gain two or three points. The first team to 200 points wins.
- Team Tactical: A mixture of objective games involving four on four matches.
- Kill Confirmed: A gamemode in which two teams battle, similar to TDM, with the catch being that when a player kills an enemy they drop a dog tag, which is worth points when collected. If a player collects a fallen teammate's dog tag, no points are award to the enemy team; first team to 100 points wins the game.
- Infected: Similar to the Modern Warfare 3 infected, one player is randomly infected at the beginning and can infect other players until either all survivors are infected or time runs out. Playlists will rotate between several different scenarios involving various loadouts. This mode allows up to 18 players on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC versions and up to 12 players on the other platforms.
- Blitz: This team-based game mode is similar to Capture the Flag in that the player needs to go to a portal located at the enemy's spawn point while preventing players from the enemy team from reaching theirs. These portals are temporarily closed for 10 seconds when they are captured to prevent players from rushing.
- Hunted Free For All: Players start with a pistol, two throwing knives, and a flashbang. Crates are dropped in random locations throughout the match that contains more weapons and ammo for the players to compete for. The game mode has a 25 kill limit.
- Ground War: Containing a rotating playlist with Domination and Team Deathmatch, but with 12-18 players and a 100 kill limit for TDM. This mode is only available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC versions of the game.
- Drop Zone: Teams take turns capturing drop zones for points.
Extinction is a new 4-player co-op mode, which pits the player(s) against various types of aliens (known altogether as Cryptids) in a base-defending survival style map. The main goal is usually to destroy all of the Cryptid hives scattered across the map (with the exception of Awakening and Exodus; the former requires players scanning for obelisks in an area which need to be destroyed, while Exodus features generators which the players have to activate). Players choose from four different class types, with unique traits and customizable loadouts. The player(s) can level up their classes, unlocking more weapons and equipment for their loadouts. This mode is unlocked by finishing the first level of the Campaign.
The first map, "Point of Contact", is included within the base game, and serves as an introduction to the game mode. The map takes place in an abandoned city in Colorado, two weeks after the events of the campaign mission "Ghost Stories".
The second map, "Nightfall", is released as part of the Onslaught DLC pack, and is advertised as the first of the four episodic contents for Extinction. The map takes place in an Alaskan research facility, 14 weeks after "Point of Contact", and introduces two characters central to the story: Dr. Samantha Cross and Cpt. David Archer. The map also introduces two new types of Cryptid aliens, one of which (the Breeder) serves as a boss-type enemy. Players are also given access to a mysterious and powerful weapon: The Venom X. Players can unlock several pieces of intel, revealing details about the story revolving around Cross and Archer.
The third map, "Mayday", is released as part of the Devastation DLC pack, and is the second of four episodes of Extinction. The map takes place on board a Naval ship, 26 days after the events in "Nightfall", and introduces two more new types of Cryptids: The Seeder (Which looks like the red seekers) but is bright orange and spawns plantlike turrets that shoot projectiles at the players, and the Kraken, the large, multi-tentacled boss at the end of the chapter. In addition to weapons scattered throughout the ship, players can access schematics to build powerful offensive and defensive weapons, including 4 variations of the Venom X from the previous chapter. Players can also find intel as well to learn more about the story of Extinction.
The fourth map, "Awakening", which is released as part of the Invasion DLC pack, is advertised as the third episode. The map takes place in an underground Cryptid hive, 36 hours after "Mayday", and introduces three new types of Cryptids: the flying Gargoyle, the explosive Bomber, and the powerful Mammoth. The Cryptids' masters, the Ancestors, are also seen in the map. The players have access to ARK attachments, which turn weapons into laser weapons, greatly increasing their power. As with the previous two maps, intels can be found to discover more information regarding the story.
The final map, "Exodus", which also acts as the final episode of Extinction, is released as part of the Nemesis DLC pack. The map takes place in a launch facility, 3 months after "Awakening", where the players are pit in a final battle against the forces of the Cryptids. Nearly every Cryptid type is encountered in the map, including the Ancestors. Players can choose their own paths in progressing throughout the map. The map also introduces two brand new weapons, the NX-1 Disruptor and the NX-1 Grenades, which are required in taking out the Ancestors.
On February 7, 2013, Activision confirmed that a new Call of Duty game was in development and would be released Q4, 2013. The publisher expects to sell fewer copies than the series' previous entry, Call of Duty: Black Ops II on seventh generation consoles (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360) due to the transition to next-generation consoles.
The series starts a new subseries with Ghosts to coincide with Sony and Microsoft's eighth generation consoles entering the market. The game was supposed to debut an engine built by the developer, originally described as a new engine, but later clarified to be the same engine as used in previous games with "significant" upgrades. The game also utilized Umbra Software's rendering tool, Umbra 3, as a way to speed up the rendering process of large environments by an optimization known as occlusion culling – a method of filtering out hidden objects so they are not rendered.
Infinity Ward prioritised frame rate over display resolution during the development of Call of Duty: Ghosts, with the game targeted to run at 60 frames per second on each platform. While the game outputs at 1080p on PlayStation 4, the Xbox One can only manage 720p while maintaining the frame rate. Due to a "configuration issue" however, the PlayStation 4 version still required a release day patch to reach 1080p.
Stephen Lang voices Elias Walker, Brandon Routh voices David "Hesh" Walker and Kevin Gage voices Gabriel Rorke in the game. David Buckley scored the game's original soundtrack. Eminem's track "Survival" is featured as the game's credit song.
Marketing and release
On April 29, 2013, the official Call of Duty website was updated with a social media mosaic that filled up every time a user logged into the site via Twitter or Facebook. The next day, the mosaic was completed and the picture showed a skull along the text "the Ghosts are real." Some details about Ghosts leaked prior, especially when Tesco pulled the listing of the game for the PlayStation 3 after it was put up accidentally. Several other retailers, including Target, listed it for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The live-action teaser trailer for Ghosts, titled "Masked Warriors", features glimpses of people wearing historical battle masks, among them one of a group of soldiers putting on the skull mask shown on the box art. It was released on May 1, 2013. Ghosts appeared at the "Xbox Reveal" event on May 21, 2013.
On August 14, 2013, American rapper Eminem's "Survival" featuring Liz Rodrigues, with production by DJ Khalil was premiered in the multiplayer trailer for the game. The music video for the song features various footage from the game's single player campaign, and other elements from the game.
Call of Duty: Ghosts was released for Microsoft Windows and current-generation game consoles – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U – on November 5, 2013. Activision announced that the game would be available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in time for each console's release date on November 15, 2013, and November 22, 2013, respectively. Despite the official announcement for next-generation systems, the PlayStation 4 version of the game was made available by some retailers ahead of the scheduled release date.
Pre-ordered versions of the game included a bonus "dynamic" map called Free Fall and also got Simon "Ghost" Riley from Modern Warfare 2 as a playable multiplayer character. However, Free Fall was excluded from the Wii U pre-ordered version., which was later released on the Wii U on March 4, 2014.
Four sets of DLC map packs were released in 2014. A Season Pass is available, which gives players immediate access to all four DLC packs.
The first map pack, Onslaught, was released for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One on January 28, 2014 and for Windows, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 on February 27, 2014. It contains an exclusive playlist for owners of the DLC. The DLC pack brings in 4 new multiplayer maps: "Fog", "Bayview", "Ignition", and "Containment". The map Ignition is a re-make of Scrapyard from Modern Warfare 2. It also includes two new multiplayer weapons: the Maverick assault rifle, and the Maverick A-2 sniper rifle; as well as "Nightfall", the first of the four Extinction episodic contents. On the multiplayer map Fog, Michael Myers from the Halloween film series appears as a playable character, obtainable by earning a care package by completing various challenges via Field Orders.
The second map pack, Devastation, was released on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One on April 3, 2014, and on Windows, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 on May 8, 2014. It contains an exclusive playlist for owners of the DLC. The pack introduces four new multiplayer maps: "Ruins", "Behemoth", "Collision", and "Unearthed". The map Unearthed is a re-make of the fan-favorite map Dome from Modern Warfare 3. It includes a new hybrid multiplayer weapon called the Ripper, which Season Pass owners received early. On the map "Ruins", Predator from the Predator film series appears as a playable character. Additionally, it includes the next installment in the Extinction episodic contents, titled "Mayday".
The third map pack, Invasion, was released on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One on June 3, 2014, and on Windows, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 on July 3, 2014. It contains an exclusive playlist for owners of the DLC. The pack introduces four new multiplayer maps: "Pharaoh", "Departed", "Mutiny", and "Favela", a re-make of the fan-favorite map of the same name from "Modern Warfare 2". It includes the third Extinction episodic content, titled "Awakening".
The final map pack, Nemesis, was released on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One on August 5, 2014, and on Windows, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 on September 4, 2014. It contains an exclusive playlist for owners of the DLC. The pack introduces four new multiplayer maps: "Goldrush", "Subzero", "Dynasty", and a reimagined version of the map "Shipment" from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, "Showtime". It includes the final Extinction episode, titled "Exodus".
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Call of Duty: Ghosts received mixed to positive reviews from critics. It was praised for its multiplayer gameplay and introduction of the new game mode "Extinction", but was criticized for its single-player campaign, rehashing of familiar concepts, and general lack of innovation. IGN praised the sequel for introducing "sweeping changes that breathe new life into the multiplayer experience" and called the campaign "lengthy, challenging, and varied". GameSpot went even further regarding the campaign calling it "impressive" and "a terrific collection of shootouts and set pieces". Both also welcomed the new character customization feature and game types in multiplayer, particularly Extinction which was called "tremendous fun" and "an interesting strategic dynamic".
The game has also received a great deal of criticism, despite getting favorable ratings. Many critics claimed that its campaign mode lacks a compelling story and fails to connect emotionally. Many also agreed that while it is a solid game overall, Call of Duty: Ghosts does very little to reinvent the franchise and instead relies on a proven formula by offering more of the same familiar concepts from previous installments. PC Gamer dubbed the campaign as "exciting but only passively entertaining" and criticized the "whack-a-mole" feel in the game's multiplayer. VideoGamer.com praised overall gameplay, saying it "seems more refined and enjoyable than Black Ops 2" but criticized the campaign calling it a "po-faced, nonsensical rehash of greatest hits long past". Eurogamer was less critical of the campaign, commenting that "the Ghosts campaign can't help but feel like a step backwards", but that "it's still capable of being devilishly entertaining" and "moment-to-moment thrills are still there, if muted by expectation". Joystiq disparaged both types of gameplay, saying "It layers a fresh coat of paint over a tired design document; a document that brings players down a rote campaign path before landing them in a multiplayer mode that abandons many of the creative advancements seen in Black Ops 2".
Despite shipping $1 billion worth of units to retail channels within 24 hours of the game's launch, overall sales were down compared to 2012's Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Activision blamed the fall in demand on uncertainty caused by the upcoming transition to eighth generation consoles. As of February 2014, the game has sold 19 million copies.
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