Call of Duty: Ghosts will add new "Squad" functionality to the series, letting players customize not just one soldier in their virtual fight, but rather, up to ten.
The functionality, which was demonstrated during Activision's reveal event in Los Angeles today, lets you unlock up to ten different character slots in Call of Duty: Ghosts' mutliplayer branch. Each character can have its own unlocks, loadouts and visual customizations, as well as their own discrete prestige levels.
Once you have a Squad, you can play with them either solo, co-op or competitively in four different Squad-based modes. The first is Squad vs. Squad, which pits you and up to five of your AI-controlled squad mates against another player and their five squad mates. The second is Wargame, which pits you and your team of five AI soldiers against a team of bots — this mode can utilize any gametype available in the core competitive multiplayer experience. Then there's Safeguard, which pits your Squad against waves of AI enemies.
The final mode is arguably the most innovative: In Squad Assault, either you and five AI squad mates or five other actual players square off against a six-person AI Squad created by another player. You can either matchmake to find a Squad to play against, or choose to fight a friend's offline team. The map and mode that your offline Squad will defend can be chosen ahead of time, and your AI-controlled Squad can even earn you XP if they perform well while you're offline.
All of this is made possible by "tremendous amounts of work" that Infinity Ward has done on the game's AI engine, according to Activision's Eric Hirshberg. All four modes fold back into the multiplayer experience, too, as all experience earned while playing a Squad mode can be used to unlock new customization options for your virtual soldiers.