Call of Duty: Ghosts - war in the weeds
Here's a US soldier (thanks, handy arm-flag) stalking through some reeds. The fancy fond-dew and the even curves of the character model are the only indications that it's a next-gen shot. The new pictures don't show anything we haven't seen in Arma 3, Crysis 3 and Battlefield 3, but this is a big step forward for Call of Duty.
The gear looks like a beefed up version of the US army's off-again on-again Land Warrior future soldier project, which integrates GPS positioning and networked infantry comms with fancy features like weapon-mounted cameras that let soldiers see and shoot around corners. The similarities are obvious, but it's hard to see whether the Call of Duty soldier is wearing the headgear that delivers the system's HUD element and, given the tech in that massive backpack, his gun is surprisingly bare (apart from the patterning - gun camo confirmed!), lacking the elaborate sights and underslung gear you might expect on a Call of Duty weapon.
CoD: Ghosts is set in the near future in the wake of a mystery catastrophe that puts the world's military forces on the back foot. Perhaps a scarcity of resources is what's stopping this soldier going full Ghost Recon. He's carrying what looks like high-calibur ammunition on his back, but he and his pal in the next few shots aren't carrying anything that can use it, suggesting there's a heavy weapon squaddie we haven't seen yet, they're expecting to put it to use when they reach the objective, or they like lugging around heavy bullets for the exercise.
Call of Duty: Ghosts - plane crash
The gear similarities and similar colour palette tones suggest that this chap is another member of the same squad on the same mission. The debris in the bottom left suggests that a plane/chopper crash is the source of all that background smoke.
The CB11B arm patch may be a reference to Colby Buzzell, the US 11B infantry soldier who anonymously blogged his exploits in Iraq and later gathered his experiences into a book called My War: Killing Time in Iraq. In one passage he describes himself signing a toilet wall on his way into Iraq with the message "CB11B-IRAQ-13NOV03 to ????" - an independent addition made by the artists, perhaps, but it implies a level of background interest in the reality of war that hasn't surfaced often in Call of Duty's increasingly gung-ho instalments. It may be a general unit designation, as the same patch appears on the arm of this guy from the trailer.
Call of Duty: Ghosts - a bit of jungle
"Wow, Call of Duty's new engine is really good at rendering vines that look like Photoshop brush strokes" I thought cynically as I zoomed in on this jungle shot. I spent some time wondering how in this bit the light that hits vines A, B and background rock D can fail to illuminate C, but was reassured by a few imperfections. Here we see the familiar sight of a vine glitching into the curvature of level geometry, and distant silhouettes reveal some honest jaggies. There would have been more I imagine, but these shots came in at 7680x4800 resolution, hence all the pristine edges.
The jungle looks a bit like Venezuela at first glance, though it could be anywhere in Central America. The warning sign in this trailer shot suggests we'll get to visit a Spanish speaking country at some point during the campaign, and those densely forested Central American states could serve as launch locations for an apocalyptic attack.
Call of Duty: Ghosts - a bit more jungle
It wouldn't be a proper jungle without clouds of lingering smoke to communicate the thick, humid atmosphere, though this particular example looks more like that evil bloodsucking Star Trek gas monster than a naturally occurring phenomenon. If you want to see this area in motion there are clips at 00:23, 00:43 and 00:58 in the Call of Duty: Ghosts reveal trailer.
Though Ghosts is being developed by Infinity Ward, this area's quite reminiscent of Black Ops' tiered jungle multiplayer maps. There these rock formations created natural corridors that could easily be used to funnel players through a linear single player mission. Lead Animator Zach Volker tells The Guardian that, while some areas will be more open, Ghosts is still very much a Call of Duty game, with all the linear manshootiness that implies.
Call of Duty: Ghosts - more jungle still
Yep. That sure is a jungle. Ferns - check. Trees - check. Carefully placed god-rays - it's all there. Just your standard typical forest environment with nothing interesting to note except wait WHY IS THERE AN ARMCHAIR IN THAT TREE?
How odd. Perhaps this chair is a survivor of the crashed aircraft we saw in the background of the second image, but I've never seen an aircraft chair that looked like that. It looks like it's fallen out of the set of Only Fools and Horses. Call of Duty meets Lost.
Call of Duty: Ghosts - THUNDERBALL
The funniest moment of the Xbox One reveal event, apart from the dog announcement (obligatory Consolevania link), and their fixation on next generation arms, was the bit where they boasted about a NEW AI SYSTEM that would let fish GET OUT OF THE WAY. Look at them, fleeing in fear. The one at the bottom is absolutely bricking it.
Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg tell Game Informer that "here's an entire level that takes place underwater" in Ghosts. There was a bit in Modern Warfare 3 when you had to quietly pilot your way up to a sub and plant a bomb on its bum. Ghosts' submerged sections will be more involved. "We've had underwater scenes before where you scuba dive from here to there, but this is a whole new thing with underwater physics and underwater gameplay and underwater weapons."
Underwater weapons! I can only hope someone senior at Infinity Ward has been watching James Bond: Thunderball so we get some of that slow motion underwater jousting. It looks like we'll use underwater guns rather than harpoons, though. The Ghost in this pic is packing a magazine.
And that's the last of the shots released so far. Strangely, in the trailer and screenshots, not a single shot has been fired. Maybe they're saving muzzle flash for E3. Perhaps it will be the fanciest muzzle flash we've ever seen, and the noise and responsiveness of the new weapons will blow us away. We won't have long to wait. E3 2013 starts on June 11. All the big conferences are happening on June 10.