The Call of Duty series has always primarily been known as a military shooter -- the antithesis to the myriad fantastical sci-fi and horror-themed shooters that came before it -- but ever since the fifth game, World at War, the Treyarch-developed installments in the series have included their own occasional jaunts into pure fantasy with the addition of a zombie-themed cooperative multiplayer mode.
It seems the upcoming Infinity Ward-developed Call of Duty: Ghosts is also indulging in its own flights of fancy, if a series of apparently leaked screenshots are to be believed. A new game mode, which appears to be called Extinction, swaps Treyarch's shambling hordes of zombies for some Giger-esque aliens in a cooperative, class-based series of missions in which a party of players can take on the xenomorph threat.
This first shot shows that there are four different types of soldiers to choose from -- tank, weapon specialist, medic and engineer -- and each has its own loadout of perks and special abilities that will help both themselves and the team as a whole.
Several shots show that there's an in-game currency which can be used to make use of the various special abilities, and it seems bonus money is earned according to your performance in a particular round.
This "drill" shot suggests that this isn't a simple survival/horde mode, but rather a series of challenges where players must work together to achieve objectives -- in this case, correctly placing and defending a drill, presumably to reveal alien hives that need to be destroyed.
There also looks to be some sort of levelling system, with skill points earned being used to unlock more powerful versions of various perks in an RPG-style skill tree system -- though it's not entirely clear whether these upgrades are persistent or if you have to earn them over the course of a single game.
Besides the objectives, it also looks as if there are bonus challenges to complete during a game. Players are given advance warning of these challenges before they become active, and seem to take the format "achieve [x] before [y]."
The images come courtesy of Twitter, Reddit and Imgur user @SMTKZ rather than direct from Activision or Infinity Ward, so it's perhaps wise to take them with a small pinch of salt for the moment -- though a leaked list of achievements from a short while ago appears to confirm the mode's existence, plus Activision themselves teased something Ghosts-related with an alien-like logo via its official Call of Duty Instagram account recently. Since Ghosts isn't that far off official release to the public on current-gen platforms, it's plausible that some players could have acquired early copies, perhaps through industry or retail contacts.
We'll find out for sure what's going on with Extinction mode on November 5, when the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U versions launch; prospective Xbox One owners will have to wait until November 22, while those intending to grab a PlayStation 4 could be playing from November 15.
Are you excited? Is this enough to maintain, renew or even pique your interest in Call of Duty's online modes? Let's hear what you think.