“The Ghosts Are Real” - New Cast, New Engine, Next-Gen Call of Duty
And now for the announcement that surprised no one today: Activision has officially revealed Call of Duty: Ghosts, this year’s entry into the military shooter franchise, releasing November 5th and headed up series creator Infinity Ward. That much anyone without internet access knew already thanks to some critical leaks.
What we didn’t already know is sure to excite fans, especially those growing tired of the series’ baby step amount of “innovations.” Ghosts is slated for release on both existing consoles as well as Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s soon-to-be-unveiled Next-Box. Because of this, Infinity Ward is using an entirely new engine for the game, finally retiring the one powering the last seven hundred Call of Duty’s.
Despite Infinity Ward’s involvement, Ghosts isn’t a follow up to Modern Warfare 3. The game features an all new cast of characters within a brand new setting. “Everyone was expecting us to make Modern Warfare 4, which would have been the safe thing to do,” said IW executive producer Mark Rubin. “But we’re not resting on our laurels.” Rubin explains that the transition to newer hardware was the perfect opportunity to reintroduce the world to Call of Duty through a new branding with new ideas.
Just what those new ideas are is up in the air. The first official trailer for the game is a live action teaser featuring precisely zero gameplay. But Activision promises way more, including actual gameplay, will be shown off right alongside Microsoft’s Next-Gen reveal event taking place on May 21st. Till then, here’s a corporate byline to make you feel all fuzzy on the inside:
“Infinity Ward is going all-in to create the next generation of Call of Duty worthy of the world’s greatest fans.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts Confirmed and, Better Yet, Dated
New promotional art circulating stores the likes of GameStop (I’ve never heard of ‘em; must be small time) has outed the latest installment of Activision’s annualized FPS breadwinner.
Once again under developer Infinity Ward’s reigns, Call of Duty: Ghosts, which is more than likely to have an official May 1st reveal, was also dated by the retailer art for November 5th of this year, falling in line with the release dates of the umpteen titles before it.
Not just an exceptionally badass subtitle, Ghosts is rumored to improve on the aging shooter’s formula through the addition of destructible environments (‘bout time), increased mobility options such as a new slide n’ shoot maneuver, and tweaks to smaller components like loading segments becoming playable.
The promotional art keenly fails to name which consoles this seeming Modern Warfare offshoot is coming to, but initial reports heavily suggest Activision is taking a multi-generational stance and launching Ghosts on both current and forthcoming systems. Personally, I’ll be watching closely how Acti looks to handle the shaky bridge between now and the next-gen, especially considering one of their first ventures will be their biggest franchise. More to come, folks, as this one develops.
Is Call of Duty: Ghosts Taking the Franchise Next-Gen?
Of all the places on the internet you could catch a leak, today’s big, ponderous rumor comes from Youtube by way of user Drift0r, a man that busies himself with uploading everything Call of Duty. Stressing (over and over) his source — supposedly someone close to development at Infinity Ward — was too legitimate not to quote, Drift0r quickly put together a video that may just out this Fall’s expected but unannounced installment of Activision’s yearly breadwinner.
Calling the game Call of Duty: Ghosts, it’s claimed this new sequel relates to the Modern Warfare universe but branches off on its own. Though Ghosts’ setting is the future, much like Black Ops II, a major plot device makes it so players have to use archaic — or “modern” — weaponry instead of arsenals augmented with x-ray sights and other attachments twelve-year-old’s use to piss me off online.
Changes to gameplay touched on involve increased mobility including the ability to “slide and shoot” instead of simply diving to prone as well as players being able to peek around corners. Apparently rolling while prone is also being implemented (I can only envision players rolling around on the ground like they’re being wrapped up in invisible carpets — hilarious to watch and shoot at).
Destructible environments are also being toyed with. The feature doesn’t sound locked down yet — single-player might see more breakable geometry than multiplayer — but one example given was a killstreak chopper caving in a building after being shot out of the sky. Loading times, oddly but awesomely enough, are said to be replaced by “mini-games” that have players breaching or repelling onto a map instead of simply watching a countdown before a match. Modern Warfare’s Spec Ops mode is also seeing the boot, usurped by a “new mode.”
The video’s uploader posits we may see an official announcement of Ghosts on or around May 1st, going on to report that the title might be a next-gen exclusive, gracing the PC, PS4, and “NeXt-Box” and not the current slew of established consoles what with their installed user base of millions (extremely far-fetched and yet…an insidiously great ploy to get people to buy up the new consoles). That last bit falls in line with rumoring ‘round the net that Infinity Ward was developing an unnamed title on next-gen hardware.
Until we hear otherwise, though, chase the entirety of this rumor down with a helping of salt. Then swallow the shaker. Grab pepper. Repeat.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Gets a Decayed Launch Trailer
The media maelstrom that is The Walking Dead license makes its second foray into video games tomorrow. Falling in line with the branding and fiction of AMC’s nuclear hit of a TV series, Survival Instinct follows supporting character Daryl Dixon in his crossbowed quest to reunite with his scumbag brother, Merl, while fending off waves of the living dead.
Once upon a time ago, if you told me one of my absolute favorite comic series was breaking into games with an action charged first-person shooter — infused with a dose of survivalism — I would have handed you my wallet and asked you to empty it out. But this isn’t once upon a time. We live at the end of a generation lousy with FPS’s.
And, unfortunately for Terminal Reality and Activision’s take on the property, the gaming populace has been educated by Telltale on how far not just The Walking Dead name can go, but how smart and emotional gaming as a whole can be. To fans’ benefit and for the sake of variety, Telltale shouldn’t monopolize The Walking Dead universe, but the competition really should be stiffer than this sorry looking budget title (watch the trailer…I’ve seen prettier, sun-baked walkers).
I will submit Terminal Reality has the ability to surprise me; I did love me some BloodRayne back in the day and their Ghostbusters game is the closest we’ll ever get to a third movie…But licensed games are a dual-edged sword, and we’ve all been cut before.
UPDATE: Destructoid revealed something rather disheartening about this game: “It’s worth pointing out that, despite the rapidly approaching big day, review copies don’t appear to have been sent out. At least not here, anyway.” In layman’s terms, Activision is saying, “Don’t review our shitastic game. People can’t find out it’s bad until after they’ve bought it.”
Destiny Unveiled: Details On Bungie’s “Shared World Shooter”
Bungie has returned from their three-year video game hiatus to show us a project so utterly ambitious, its success could mean changing the console shooter as we know it from here on out.
So, what is Destiny? Bungie likes to think of it as “mythic science fiction” in a massive, always-online world. But we’re not allowed to call it an MMOFPS, despite how fitting it sounds. The ingredients may all be there — gigantic open-world, instantaneous co-op, in-game currency to unlock better gear, the ability to embark on raids…But, no, MMO doesn’t fit the bill according to Bungie. Despite the need for persistent online-access, publisher Activision promises there’s no subscription fees, and Bungie claims the amount of players you’ll encounter has a controlled cap, shirking MMO standards. Bungie prefers to call it a “shared world shooter” (think Borderlands on a larger scale).
Players don the role of a Guardian, warriors tasked with protecting the last of human civilization. Drawing their power from the moon-shaped “Traveler” floating above Earth’s last city, Guardians can evoke class-specific skills to thin the alien onslaught attempting to bloody humanity. Three such classes were revealed: the Titan, a brute with a focus for guns, big ones; the Hunter, a lithe infiltrator with a knack for sneaking and a sure-shot sniper; and the Warlock, a mage imbued with the Traveler’s decidedly supernatural power.
When touching on the sheer scope of the game, Bungie revealed players will have to think big. Not only can you traverse amongst the ruins of Earth’s once-great cities — locations like the swamp infested Old Chicago and the “European Dead Zone” — but your exploits encompass the whole of our solar system with customizable spaceships bouncing you from planet to planet (while Bungie hinted at space combat, it was mum on whether or not we’d take control of our vessels).
Each locale offers you the chance to create your own “Legend,” a set of missions that compose a story molded by your actions. These Legends can be tackled by your lonesome or you can better your chances with Guardians you meet, randomly generated in your session seamlessly and unobtrusively (think Journey with a spot of the ol’ ultra violence). Bungie made it a point that Destiny’s story isn’t told, but found; players having to actively seek, or even shape, the narrative and lore through discovery and completed Legends. How that works is anyone’s guess since Bungie was far from clear on the subject.
And that same obscuring, self-perpetuated fog hides the rest of Bungie’s grand effort. We know to expect Destiny on both current and next-gen technology (PS3, Xbox 360, and whatever’s around the corner) but Bungie is dodgy about when, though they’re sure cross-platform online play is being ruled out. We get the general premise, and a bunch of conceptual art to boot, but the public hasn’t seen minute one of gameplay footage. This may only be the first reveal, but it seems the meatiest of details are purposely being withheld. Though, mission success if it was Bungie’s intention to make me crave more.
The general assumption was that we’d see Destiny release before the year’s out, but with critical information lacking and two of the four consoles it’s intended for still not public knowledge, it appears we’ll be waiting quite awhile yet before we experience this shared world shooter. From what we’ve seen and heard today, though, it looks worth the wait.
Black Ops II Scores Half a Million in Its First Day on Sale
To the absolute surprise of no one, Call of Duty: Black Ops II earned just over $500 million bucks worldwide within its first twenty-four hours on sale. Following a sales one-upping trend started by Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops II has toppled last year’s MW3 launch numbers which totaled in $400 million.
Activision immediately patted themselves on the shoulder for doling out another annual blockbuster. Acti’s own CEO, Bobby Kotick, heralded the Call of Duty license as “the biggest entertainment launch of the year for the fourth year in a row,” adding that life-to-date sales far exceed even the number of box office ticket sales amassed for cultural smash hits like Star Wars and Harry Potter. Black Ops II’s earnings aren’t staggering for lack of industry competition, either. Just last week Microsoft’s gaming juggernaut, Halo 4, saw an impressive launch day gross of $220 million.
One has to wonder how different these launch numbers would look if Halo weren’t limited to the Xbox, but as it stands, both titles seem poised to outsell their way to Holiday supremacy this year and, more importantly, allow Activision to remodel its corporate headquarters into a flying fortress above the clouds. (At the time of this writing, Microsoft has not announced any plans for flying cities; we’ll keep you posted as we hear word).
Bigger Tony Hawk Game Gaining Some Traction?
Thanks to those of you that just couldn’t say no to your inner nostalgia taking control of your wallet, Activision and developer Robomodo’s Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is a (financial) success. Having been downloaded a total of 120,000 times since its Xbox Live release, sales figures are convincing Acti that it might not be such a horrendous idea to drop a full fledged Tony Hawk game on the masses once more.
According to Robomodo’s head honcho Josh Tsui, Tony Hawk HD served as a kind of test run to see how welcoming the public would be towards a new sequel, and that development on such a title is “just a matter of when and how.” Before then, Robomodo plans on supporting the download with DLC featuring levels from Pro Skater 3 and the return of the revert — aka the fuel that stokes the combo-stringing fire — and plan to eventually release the game on PSN and PC.
It’s important to remember that despite Tony Hawk HD’s monetary reception, critics have gauged their reaction to the game between being bored by the lack of content to outright tearing it a new asshole (reviews were “quite vicious,” says Tsui). “Remaining true to a franchise’s roots” and “copy and pasting a thirteen-year-old formula” are two things Robomodo couldn’t tell the difference between, consequently making the remake a very thin package where old school thrills give way to boredom quicker than I can ollie a bum.
Perhaps Activision should consider tossing the franchise back to the original Pro Skater purveyors, Neversoft. They’re currently tethered to the Call of Duty series, poised to support Black Ops II with a lineup of DLC in order to free up Treyarch’s time. Although, I can sympathize with Neversoft if Activision has successfully flogged any desire to work on another skating game out of them after the sheer amount of Tony Hawk’s they’ve created (having bred nine separate entries into the series…it might be safe to assume they’ve lost their taste for Tony Hawk, what with being slaves to the property and all).
Gaming’s Fourth Wall Has Been Shot Down: Deadpool Video Game to Blame
Finally. If there’s one thing I’d have to admit is missing from gaming, I would say it’s fits of schizophrenic, homicidal rage.
The Merc with a Mouth may not be getting his dues on the silver screen (his script gathering dust in an executive’s office as you read this) but gaming has come to its senses and plopped Deadpool in the middle of his own title. Published by Activision, High Moon Studios — the guys making all that robotic buzzing in the industry this year with their sequel Transformers: Fall of Cybertron — are crafting a faithfully gorey, juvenile exercise in third-person comic book action with Deadpool (no one could’ve guessed that name).
Voice acting vet Nolan North (I’m obligated to write “better known as Nathan Drake”) is once again the mouth behind the merc for this misadventure, having played Deadpool in other virtual Marvel entries such as Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Marvel vs Capcom 3. Nothing really beyond this trailer was officiated by any of the parties involved save for a broad 2013 release. We don’t even know which system we should expect Wade to throttle.
Does that stifle my excitement? No, sir. Not in the goddamn least. We’ll just say it’s “coming soon” and, unlike Deadpool, try not to laugh at the fact we said “coming.”
If you find yourself roped into a conversation about Spider-Man and video gaming, you won’t go long before someone feels obligated to mention Treyarch’s 2004 Spider-Man 2 movie tie-in. It’s as if a blood vessel will burst in their head if they’re unable to remind you how much they loved Spider-Man 2. Before Rocksteady’s Arkham series showed us another plateau of potential, SM2 was widely considered the best superhero game of all time. Why? Simple. Despite being Raimi’s organically webbed, Average Joe interpretation of Spider-Man, and despite having the cruel restrictions of a billion dollar movie license and a very limited amount of time to craft the title, the game managed the unthinkable: it got Spider-Man right.
Activision Announces a New Walking Dead Video Game (No, Not That One)
Despite Telltale Games’ half-comic/half-show Walking Dead adventure games only being a third of the way complete on their episodic run, Activision is planning to release a first-person shooter take on the franchise that abandons Robert Kirkman’s comic-verse in favor of the hit AMC show’s canon.
Dropping for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 sometime next year, The Walking Dead video game focuses on brothers Daryl and Merle Dixon on their crimson soaked journey to Atlanta (wherein which both comic and television fans can attest to serious shit going down). Players control Daryl and his survivalist arsenal of found weapons and — not to break gaming’s latest trend — trusty bow gun.
If you didn’t know, the apocalypse is a rough time to tough out, and as such you’ll have to scrounge and conserve supplies including food, water, and precious, precious ammo. Daryl will encounter fellow survivors and even allow them to join your party, but it’s hinted you’ll have to be careful who you trust to get your back — keep in mind it’s also just as easy to leave them behind (mmm zombie drama, it fuels me). I wish I had more to report but there’s little else in the way of info besides this teaser site, unfortunately. Expect that to change soon.
Activision has set developer Terminal Reality loose on the zombified mythos, and hopefully their connection to Kinect Star Wars doesn’t make you nervous (i.e. It should). Macabre scenery and undead headshots are pretty difficult to mess up in the world of gaming but there’s a mountain of expectation riding on this title because of the namesake alone. In other words, we’ll see how this one plays out.