Activision has formally unveiled Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer component - you can watch the whole show again here. Thus far, it looks like the usual array of smart smaller-scale additions and tweaks, and we're left with the usual pressing question: will all this add up to a multiplayer experience that feels genuinely distinct from last year's offering?
Infinity Ward boss Mark Rubin says the character creation system in general represents the "biggest overhaul since the original Modern Warfare". Perhaps the most eye-catching change is the addition of female characters to the avatar roster. One for the history books, surely, and we're looking forward to picking Rubin's brains about that in an interview.
You'll be able to mix and match character heads, body types and headgear to create your very own soldier - Activision promises there are over 20,000 possible combinations. The game has also adopted an equipment customisation system similar to the "Pick 10" variant Treyarch used for Black Ops 2. You'll spend points from a budget on weapons, perks and the like, with no restrictions according to category, which leaves more scope for the creation of oddities such as characters with 10 perks and no secondaries. Attachments and killstreaks can be equipped free of charge, however.
There are around 30 new weapons, including a brand new weapon class known as the Marksman rifle, which "bridges the gap between sniper and assault class". Essentially, Marksman rifles can be used as scoped semi-auto sniping weapons, or ironsight-based assault rifles. Infinity Ward has put together some fancy dual render scopes, which show the view around the scope and through it simultaneously - allowing you to sight on a target without sacrificing peripheral vision.
There are over 20 new killstreaks, including Juggernaut Maniac - which drops a heavily armoured Juggernaut into the field, for a brief, blistering advantage - and Odin Strike, which appears to be an air bombardment thing of some kind. You can also call in Ghosts single player character Riley to act as a guard dog - he'll follow you around eating people, and growl when enemies are near.
It's possible to earn streaks by completing objectives, rather than just by killing. There will be fewer air-based killstreaks and more "visceral, in your face" ones, which means you can take out air attackers without special equipment. Infinity Ward's also done away with deathstreaks and come up with a new levelling currency, Squad Points, which allow players to shortcut the default unlocks ladder if there's a particular weapon, perk or whatever they're interested in.
In terms of how it all handles, there's now a contextual lean system which kicks in unprompted when you approach a corner. It's possible to mantle objects, and you can knee-slide from a sprint to a crouch or prone. All this essentially "enhances the experience and controls you already know".
Activision took a moment to focus on audio, which has been substantially improved - or so we're told. You'll now experience different levels of weapon reverb based on where you are and whether you're aiming down the sights - shooting somebody in a carpeted room won't sound like shooting somebody in a prison cell. Less cosmetically, there's now locational backchatter - allies will tell you when they spot somebody near a landmark, for instance, rather than simply sounding off whenever they kill an enemy.