With box art leaking online back in April and Activision’s teaser site coming online this week, gamers had no reason to doubt that Call of Duty: Ghosts was the inevitable forthcoming installment of the best-selling first-person shooter franchise. After leaked promotional posters from a retailer hinted at a May 1st announcement, they even knew when to expect the news.

Activision has confirmed today that Call of Duty: Ghosts, developed by Infinity Ward, will release on November 5th, 2013, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, with versions also slated for the PlayStation 4 and the next-generation Xbox. The publisher is priming the title for a full unveiling at Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox event on May 21.

Call of Duty Ghosts X360

The release date was rather expected as well — Ghosts posters advertising November 5th leaked online — but until today, platform specifics had remained a puzzle. As it turns out however, Activision has been envisioning Call of Duty: Ghosts a next-generation blockbuster from the start — and the publisher’s brief overview of the game suggests that its story, characters and gameplay aim to embody a new era of the franchise beyond the Modern Warfare universe.

Ghosts delivers an all-new story, all-new characters, an all-new Call of Duty world, all powered by a next generation Call of Duty engine, which is a leap forward for the franchise,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, in today’s official press release. He was backed up by Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin:

“Everyone was expecting us to make Modern Warfare 4, which would have been the safe thing to do. But we’re not resting on our laurels. We saw the console transition as the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter for Call of Duty. So we’re building a new sub-brand, a new engine, and a lot of new ideas and experiences for our players.”

The comments are profound for anyone — and Rubin is close; it was almost everyone — who expected Infinity Ward to linger in the Modern Warfare mythos. It may not have kept the iterative titling but Ghosts, appropriately, was to be Modern Warfare 4 in spirit, predicated around a story involving Modern Warfare 2‘s iconic character Lieutenant Simon “Ghost” Riley and perhaps, as intimated by rumors last year, including appearances from Soap MacTavish and Captain Price.

But now the conventional wisdom is in flux. Does Ghosts, with its “all-new” story and characters and world, sever ties to Modern Warfare completely? Is it a past- or present- or future-set game, or perhaps one that uses “ghosts” to span the soldierly lives of different time periods? Activision released a brief teaser trailer to coincide with today’s announcement, and it does hint that Ghosts will contain intermittent acts of violence committed by men in masks.

In any case, barring any leaks (which never happen), May 21 just became a doubly momentous date on the gaming calendar. The next-generation Call of Duty¬†engine Activision referenced today is doubtless the one it showcased at this year’s GDC; and it will be interesting to see how the game competes in visual veracity with early next-gen shooters such as Battlefield 4 and Killzone: Shadow Fall.

What do think about the confirmation of Call of Duty: Ghosts? How would you like to see Ghosts lead Call of Duty into both its and gaming’s next-generation?

As mentioned, Call of Duty: Ghosts releases on November 5, 2013, for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, with versions also confirmed for the PS4 and next-gen Xbox.

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