Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Ghosts will make the game world a character, according to executive producer Mark Rubin.
Speaking to Polygon, Rubin said that when the studio set out to make the game — long before it decided what the game was going to be or what it would be called — it asked itself what would happen if the game world was a character rather than just an environment where battles take place.
"What if the world actually affects the player, and the state of the world directly affects the player from a story standpoint?" Rubin said. "A character means someone who has a material effect on your emotional state within the game, and I think a lot of what we've done — especially in Modern Warfare 3 — started to hit on that. You saw your hometown getting destroyed, so there was a little bit of emotional contact there. But it was really more about the player and not so much about the state of the world or the world as a character."
"You've experienced what it's like to be in that new world, and that's going to drive your emotional reactions to everything that's going to happen in that story."
Rubin said that Ghosts will differ from previous Call of Duty games by giving players an emotional attachment to the city in which they're fighting. He told Polygon that the game will start out with "this massive event [that's] going to change the face of the world as you know it," stripping the U.S. of its superpower status and creating a post-apocalyptic world where the U.S. is frayed and falling apart.
"As you get into Act 1, you play as a character 10-15 years after these events. Both you and your brother — who is also part of the story — have grown up through that, in that world. That's what I mean by the world being a character that affects you," Rubin said. "You have lived there for 10-15 years, you've experienced what it's like to be in that new world, and that's going to drive your emotional reactions to everything that's going to happen in that story."
Rubin said that the game will feature some travelling but, unlike other Call of Duty games that drop players into many different and often foreign locations for the purpose of battle, Call of Duty: Ghosts will have players fighting in a world that "birthed" them, and fighting against what that world has become.
"We do some travelling, but there's a strong focus on certain areas," Rubin said.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC and Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 later this year.