Searching for Clues in the Call of Duty: Ghosts Trailer
At long last, Call of Duty: Ghosts is official. After weeks of rumors, leaks, and speculation, Activision took the wraps off the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise this week with the debut of its title, launch date, and a cryptic live-action teaser trailer. And while we may have to wait until Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox event on May 21st to see more of the forthcoming shooter, there are subtle hints in the debut trailer that could offer insight into the game’s plot, setting, and mechanics.
Ghost: Gone But Not Forgotten
While Activision and Infinity Ward are trumping up the game’s “all-new” setting, characters, and story, the title and use of Ghost’s mask suggest a clear link to the previous Modern Warfare titles. For those unfamiliar, Ghost was a masked member of Task Force 141, the special operations team featured in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and its subsequent spin-off comic series, Modern Warfare 2: Ghost. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD) However, Ghost was killed in action while attempting to locate and capture Vladimir Makarov, the primary antagonist of Modern Warfare 2. While it’s possible that Call of Duty: Ghosts could attempt a soap opera-esque return of the character, the chances are seemingly slim. Ghost was not only shot at point blank range, his body was doused in gasoline and set ablaze along with fellow squadmate, Roach.
Ghost’s role in the upcoming title, however, seems more likely to be that of an icon or martyr, whose visage is being used by the game’s protagonists. In its pre-reveal promotions, Infinity Ward and Activision used the tagline “The Ghosts are Real” and in the live-action trailer we can see a squad of soldiers wearing hand-painted masks similar to Ghost’s. Could the Ghosts have adopted the symbol because of the character’s sacrifice in the line of duty and his pursuit of justice? Or, maybe there’s a more significant link between this mysterious new team and Ghost. Only time will tell.
Black Ops or Guerilla Faction?
The live-action trailer features a scripted narrative focusing on the use of masks by warriors throughout time, culminating in the reveal of an unidentified squad of soldiers wearing the Ghost mask. Although the narrator’s words could be little more than dramatic filler, they could also hold clues to the significance of the mask and the background of this mysterious team.
“There are those that wear masks to hide. And those that wear masks to show us what they stand for. To inspire, to unite, to defy, to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies, and hope in the hearts of their followers. There are those that wear masks to protect themselves, and there are those that wear masks to protect us all.“
It’s possible that the squad in question is a special operations team within the allied forces, but the specific emphasis on inspiring hope amongst the public, protecting anonymity, and displaying unity seems to align more with that of a militia or Fawkesian faction. Are the Ghosts an elite team operating under the orders of an established government or are they a militia or insurgent fighters in the game’s yet-to-be-detailed conflict? Modern Warfare 3 left the story at the end of World War III, and if Ghosts occurs in the same universe, the story could be set in a world where nations and borders are still being reconstructed, and subsequently, contested.
Current-Era Weaponry. Current-Era Setting?
In the brief glimpse of the Ghosts squad, we can see what appears to be modern-day weaponry, including an M16A4, Dragunov, AK-class rifle, M14 EBR, and a silenced M4A1. The use of current-era firearms suggests the game will be set in the present, but a purported leak from March claimed that the story would instead be set in the future, with the characters resorting to current-generation weaponry as part of an unknown “plot device.”
Unfortunately, there are no other easter eggs in the trailer to suggest one way or the other.
Dogs: More than a Scorestreak?
With a cursory glance, you might throw the squad into the generic “dudes with guns in dramatic poses” category, but what about their furry friend? One soldier is conspicuously accompanied by a German Shepherd wearing a tactical harness and plenty of gear. Dogs are no stranger to the Call of Duty franchise — they first appeared in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as AI enemies in the single-player campaign and later became a devastating kill/score streak bonus in online multiplayer and spec ops modes.
It’s possible that the inclusion of a dog in the trailer could be merely a continuation of the existing game dynamics, or it could allude to a larger tactical role in single-player and multiplayer, perhaps even giving players direct control over a canine companion.
What do you make of the Call of Duty: Ghosts reveal trailer? Share your impressions and theories in the comments section below.
Scott Lowe is IGN’s resident tech expert and an all-around Call of Duty nut. You can follow him on Twitter at @ScottLowe and on MyIGN at Scott-IGN.
By Scott Lowe