For the first time in the franchise's history, female characters will be playable in the multiplayer modes of Call of Duty: Ghosts, Activision has announced.
In addition, Activision announced seven new game modes, 20 new weapons including a new marksman weapon class, and the introduction of destructible environments.
The game's multiplayer maps will also feature destructible elements such as the collapse of a gas forecourt on the Octane level, or the entire flattening of the aptly-named Overstrike level due to a missile strike.
Multiplayer modes include Free For All, Team Deathmatch, Cranked, Search and Rescue, Domination, Kill Confirmed, Grind, Blitz, Infected, and Hunted.
At an event in Los Angeles this morning, Activision showcased Cranked and Search and Rescue. Cranked is a variation on Team Deathmatch in which kills enhance agility and speed but are also required to stave off spontaneous combustion. In Search and Resuce, one team attempts to plant a bomb at one of two locations, while the other team defends. In this mode, players who are killed drop dog-tags. If these are collected by an ally, they can respawn, if they're collected by an enemy, they're only able to spectate for the rest of the round.
Instead of developing just one player character, players will also be able to design and level-up - or prestige - 10 characters as a squad. Ghosts also overhauls the Call of Duty progression system. Now, players will choose perks based on a points system, and additional points are unlocked through playing either online or in any of the newly-announced Squad modes. Altogether, there are 20,000 soldier personalisation combinations.
Developer Infinity Ward has also overhauled the movement system, adding a contextual lean, mantling, and a knee-slide.
New audio improvements include location-based battle-chatter. Now, AI will call out where spotted players are more precisely. Sound effects are also based on the environment the occur within. A shot fired inside a building will sound different to the same shot fired outside, for example.
New kill-streaks are broken into three types, Specialist, Support and Assualt, and include the singleplayer game's dog, Riley. He alerts players to approaching enemies, mauls (one-hit-kills) anyone he finds, and who can also avenge the player for a brief period after his or her death. Overall, there are fewer air-based abilities, and there are no longer any death-streaks.
The Squad modes in Ghosts will allow players to play solo with bots against another solo player, or co-op against a team of bots, which will now behave more like human players in multiplayer matches, said developer Infinity Ward.
Co-op modes are Squad versus Squad in which two players go head to head supported by five of their squad characters, Wargame, in which the player and his or her squad go up against five AI, Safeguard, which is a kind of squad versus horde mode, and Squad Assault, in which five players go up against AI.
Activision also announced a new partnership with Major League Gaming. Ghosts will be the eSport league's exclusive first-person action game, and the flagship title for 2014.
Finally, those who buy Ghosts on current-gen platforms will be able to import their profiles onto a next-gen console from the same manufacturer if they choose to upgrade (for example, Xbox 360 data can only transfer to an Xbox One). Season Pass DLC content will also be able to be transferred in the same manner.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is expected to launch this November on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Windows PC.
Additional reporting by Matt Maguire.