Activision revealed the first details about the upcoming next installment in the blockbuster "Call of Duty" franchise, "Ghosts," at an event Wednesday in Los Angeles. Alongside the new gameplay footage, Eminem also took the opportunity to debut a new song, aptly titled "Survival," from his upcoming eighth studio album that graces the first multiplayer gameplay trailer for the new "Call of Duty." The game is due out this holiday season for current and next-generation video game consoles.
The song, which has Eminem punching out lines with the rapid-fire pace that's become the trademark of his recent work, arrived at an awkward time for the rapper. The rap world was set ablaze this week by a stellar verse from up-and-coming artist Kendrick Lamar on the song "Control," in which he called out almost all of his fellow hip-hop artists for losing sight of the competitive spirit that defines rap music, naming Eminem as one of them. Luckily for Eminem fans, the rapper sounds ferocious enough to hold his own, even if he chose a billion-dollar video game franchise as the platform to debut his latest work.
Eminem's appearance continues Activision's broader trend of attracting high-level talent from the music and film industries to make "Call of Duty" games star-studded affairs in their own right. The theme song for the most recent "Call of Duty," 2012's "Black Ops 2," was written by soundtrack composer and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, and the game also featured the voiceover work of action movie star Sam Worthington.
In what came as a surprise even for longtime fans of the military shooter series, "Ghosts" developer Infinity Ward unveiled a number of novel features for the upcoming game's multiplayer including three new gameplay modes, additional customization for player's in-game virtual avatars, and, yes, the dogs that quickly became an Internet meme in their own right after the original "Call of Duty: Ghosts" reveal.
Mark Rubin, studio producer at Infinity Ward, called the new "Ghosts" multiplayer “the biggest overhaul of multiplayer since the original 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare,'” which was first released in 2007.
Of all the new additions to the "Call of Duty" universe, what stood out in particular was the addition of female soldiers — a first for the storied and wildly successful franchise. Activision and Infinity Ward revealed this change somewhat quietly (by "Call of Duty" standards, at least) at the very end of the new trailer, when a sniper who has just felled a group of enemies is shown to be a woman.
Activision also said that the "Call of Duty: Ghosts" season pass will include four packs of downloadable content which can be transferred between current and next-generation consoles of the same type (Xbox or PlayStation) free of charge.
"Call of Duty: Ghosts" will be released in early November. Watch the new Eminem-fueled trailer below. This is Eminem, however, so be wary of expletives:
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: Yannick.LeJacq@nbcuni.com.