Call of Duty: Ghosts is a strange beast. The game comes from Infinity Ward, the team responsible for bringing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to life and while clearly having ties to older games in the series, it is said to have nothing to do with its former franchise. It is not hard to see where the inspiration for Ghosts came from, or the reasons the game is even subtitled ‘Ghosts‘. One of the key pieces of iconography that the title has used in its marketing push is balaclavas with skulls painted on them. Not coincidentally, this is also the iconic look for fan-favorite character Ghost from Modern Warfare 2. While it has been confirmed to not be taking place in the same universe, some might have been wondering what this link means for the Modern Warfare franchise.
Talking to OXM, Infinity Ward’s community manager, Tina Palacios, appears fairly confident that the Modern Warfare name is truly dead and buried.
“With the storyline, we knew that we wanted to end the Modern Warfare franchise, and we wanted to go in a new direction.”
Palacios then went on to say that the developer was only focused on Ghosts right now and that the company has “no other plans at this time.” That seems to put to bed any speculation that series could see a return from the likes of Captain Price in the future but if the new direction is devoid from the previous universe, what about the connection to the Ghost character? Saying that the team took inspiration from the skull blazoned soldier, she goes on to say:
“It made sense for these soldiers we have in Ghosts who want to hide their identities would have the same masks and face paint. I think it would be safe for me to say that just knowing the characters from our previous games didn’t have a backstory, that’s what really pushed us forward. We thought we need to really establish that.”
But if Infinity Ward is trying to establish that backstory, why set the game in a different universe with no connection to the previous games? This could, at a stretch, suggest that the game is in fact linked to the Modern Warfare sub-franchise, simply set further down the timeline. When companies try to create franchises within franchises, this kind of confusing narrative logic can get a little jumbled as developers pull certain aspects from one game and put them in another setting. Then again, much of the plot – and even new alien-based multiplayer modes – have been kept secret even with the game a week away.
Of course, if EA and DICE have their way and end up overtaking Call of Duty with Battlefield, then maybe fans may see a return of the more popular Modern Warfare name. For the moment though, it seems like all bets are off for Captain Price and his men, unless that reported leak from Price’s voice actor proves true.
Call of Duty: Ghosts releases November 5, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Wii U, and Xbox 360. The PS4 version will follow on November 15 and the Xbox One version on November 22.