LOS ANGELES -- "Call of Duty: Ghosts" is conjuring new ways to play online.
Female characters, interactive maps, canine sidekicks and a knuckle-biting intense mode dubbed "cranked" are among the new additions deploying to the multiplayer mode of the popular military first-person shooter franchise when "Ghosts" is released for both current and next-generation consoles Nov. 5.
"Call of Duty" publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. detailed the complex multiplayer mode, which includes 30 new weapons and more fluid movement, during a recent showcase.
"I think the biggest difference is going to be the dynamic maps," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, backstage at the event in downtown Los Angeles. "It really changes the game for the better. You not only have to learn how the maps are laid out and where the best hiding spots and vantage points are located, but you also have to figure out how they can be used for you or against you."
Here are five ways the online mode for this "Call of Duty" will be different from its predecessors:
For the first time in the 9-year history of "Call of Duty," multiplayer combatants can choose to portray a female soldier on the front line. It's one of 20,000 possible customization options when it comes to creating an online avatar in "Ghosts." Other personalization possibilities include selecting the race, body type, gear and clothing of virtual characters.
The battlefield won't always be stable in "Ghosts." The developers have added several interactive tricks that can dramatically alter the maps in the game's multiplayer mode. Some are as simple as a closed door with the ability to block access to a secret hideaway, while others are as explosive as a gas station that can obliterate nearby foes if ignited.
Riley, the geared-up German shepherd who appears in the single-player campaign, will leap into the multiplayer mode as one of 20 new "killstreak" rewards earned when players take down the opposition and complete objectives. The canine companion will growl when enemies approach, scout out the battlefield and take out baddies who come too close.
Crank and file
There are seven new multiplayer modes coming to "Ghosts," including the cooperative "search and rescue" and "squad" installments, but the most intense new way to play "Call of Duty" online is called "cranked." For each kill, a player's reload and movement speeds are amped up, but if a 30-second countdown clock reaches zero, they spontaneously combust.
Hear me now
The developers have enhanced the game's sound effects with details that more closely resemble the real world. For example, gun shots fired in a large metal-filled warehouse sound different from those in a small carpeted room. The chatter during battle has also been fleshed out with teammates who call out when grenades go off or enemies appear near landmarks.