"If you look at Call of Duty in general, you're on the high-tech, super-powered forces. You're America, you're strong, you're Britain, Germany," Rubin told Joystiq at a recent press event in Los Angeles. "It just felt like, what if we could reverse those roles a bit, what if we had America as the underdog and not the superpower? What if we had some other countries as the big superpower and we're fighting against this more technologically superior force. And so that is really where we got: now we've got this technologically superior super force, they devastate the western world, the US, with a weapon of mass destruction of some kind - I'm not going to go into that, it will come later, and what we did is we had that event start the game, but the story picks up ten to fifteen years later and you as a soldier grew up in this new changed world."
That soldier will be a focal point for the game, Rubin said, and won't contribute to the fractured, multi-perspective narratives for which the series has drawn ire in the past. "It's not like before where you have these multiple sides and trot around. You're pretty much the same person throughout."
You'll also be accompanied by a Navy SEAL dog (not to be confused with a Moreau-style seal-dog), which can sniff out dangers and aid the team in several ways as a companion AI of sorts. As you might expect from a production of Ghosts' caliber, Infinity Ward did full motion capture on a retired SEAL dog.
"It was funny, because one of the first things that we did, is we put him in that suit, which was like a custom-made suit that we did. At first they had these booties on the feet, that had the little dots on them and he walked around like this," Rubin said, making a gesture to indicate awkward walking, "and it just didn't work. And we were like okay, that's not working. So we were able to equip him with this water-based glue and fixed little stickers on him, and that worked out great"
Rubin expressed surprise at what he learned during the team's research on tactical canines, and hinted at how some of it might manifest during Call of Duty: Ghosts. "The dog you saw in the picture has all that armor on and stuff, it's not fake. The dog actually is wearing an earpiece, and he's got a camera on his back that flips up, so the seal actually has a screen and he can see what the dog sees through that camera. So if the dog is moving through tall grass or in a room or a dark area somewhere, he can see it on his screen. He can actually give voice commands to the dog through the earpiece – go left, go right. And if they need to be silent – this is crazy – the dog's got little vibrating things on his neck, so you can vibrate right or vibrate left and the dog knows, if I feel right, I go to the right, if I vibrate left I go to the left.
"So he can drive the dog, in a sense, from his little device on his arm."