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Call of Duty: Ghosts Riley's Possible Fate Causes a Doggone Commotion

Forget the graphics, the story, and the combat--will "Call of Duty: Ghosts'" battle dog, Riley, go the way of Old Yeller?

Call of Duty: Ghosts, the next installment of Activision and Infinity Ward's hit FPS series (landing on the Wii U, PlayStation 3, and XBox 360 as well as PlayStation 4 and XBox One at launch), is causing a commotion lately--for unlikely reasons.

One of the characters, a trained battle dog named Riley, has drawn a lot of attention from fans over speculations that he might be killed off.

Dog is in the Detail

Infinity Ward's inclusion of Riley in the game is not out of novelty, but a part of their dedication to bring as close a real life experience of modern warfare to player's screens as possible. The dog, and the high-spec equipment he sports, is all based on actual technology US Navy SEALs use.

This adds a whole new gameplay dimension to what has been previously available in the series, allowing gamers to stealth attack and scout enemy bases like never before. They can control Riley's movement with a vibration collar, see where he goes with a mounted camera, and also bring down enemies with powerful jaws and large pointy teeth.

Riley's gameplay mechanics were recently showcased on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, with film star Elijah Wood taking the control to once more play the part of something small with furry feet.

New Dog, Old Tricks

Interestingly, whilst playing as a canine operative in a realistic warfare FPS is new, animals being used in warfare is far from it. Animals - dogs, horses, mules, and even camels and elephants - have been used in wars across the world for centuries, not only as a means of transportation, but also reconnaissance. In fact, there's even a memorial on London's Park Lane next to Hyde Park that commemorates animals fallen in past wars.

So whilst many may worry that Riley will go the way of Old Yeller, his demise wouldn't be too far from the fate that many have succumbed to in battle zones.

Not a Dog's Dinner

But despite the fuss Riley has caused, Executive Producer Mark Rubin, asks that people focus on the game itself. So don't expect Riley to become a running gimmick, but instead be a part of serious gameplay.

“It’s great that Riley is so popular, but let’s focus on the game. Let’s have Riley make sense and not just put him in space or in a scuba suit."

But as to whether or not Riley will go to Heaven, like all dogs, Rubin isn't letting on.

"Everybody thinks we’re going to kill the dog. Maybe that’s the expected thing we would do, so maybe it’s not what we’ll do? We’ll see."

Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released on November 5th 2013 on various platforms. For more information, visit www.callofduty.com/ghosts.

Published Oct. 23rd 2013

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