Acclaimed screenwriter Stephen Gaghan created a story for Call of Duty: Ghosts that breaks from the typical “America’s the best” bravado and instead takes players to a vulnerable America that is fighting to protect its sovereignty.
You may feel like you’ve played this game before (besides the fact that every Call of Duty game is the same), and that’s because Gaghan has ripped off Homefront, the 2011 first-person shooter written by John Milius and inspired by his classic film Red Dawn.
This makes me wonder what the point is of working with an accomplished screenwriter if he’s just going to copy from the plot of another video game. Here are five examples of how Call of Duty: Ghosts is nothing but a piss-poor remake of Homefront.
The Middle Eastern war
Both Homefront and Call of Duty: Ghosts are set in a world where a war in the Middle East has crippled the world’s oil supply, which ushers in an age of global instability.
In Homefront, the conflict is known as the Oil War, and it was fought between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both nations are competing for influence in the region after the U.S. withdraws its military. The U.S. military also participated in the conflict, but its actions were very limited. The end result is that the Middle East is no longer a reliable source of energy, which brings about a global economic crisis.
In Call of Duty: Ghosts, the conflict is known as the Tel Aviv War, and it’s fought between Israel and other Middle Eastern nations. The conflict began with an attempted invasion of Tel Aviv that grew into a major war that destabilized the region. Part of the conflict involved 60 Tier One operatives deployed to protect a civilian hospital from 500 enemy soldiers on the Iranian Border (Operation Sand Viper), in which the legend of the Ghosts is born. The end result of the war is that the Middle East is no longer a reliable source of energy, which brings about a global economic crisis — just like in Homefront.
An unrealistic superstate emerges
The aftermath of the Middle Eastern conflict allows an unrealistic superstate to emerge as a world power that challenges the United States. A superstate is a larger nation that has united its territory under a federalist political structure.
Homefront is set in a future in which the Korean peninsula is unified to establish the Greater Korean Republic under the rule of Kim Jong-un. With a powerful economy and military, the GKR begins to expand its borders by conquering or annexing other countries in the region. Meanwhile, in Call of Duty: Ghosts, South America becomes the world’s dominating producer of energy, which leads to the unification of the region’s nations to establish the Federation of the Americas.
Now this is unrealistic because, given the global political climate and history, it’s not possible for these superstates to be established. North Korea would not have the will power to create such a superstate or maintain it due to its dirt-poor economy and poorly equipped military. Yes, America is too weak to act, but the People’s Republic of China or Russia isn’t going to sit back and let Pyongyang fill the void. Also, South Korea with its political stability and strong economy has a more realistic chance of establishing a united Korea.
Meanwhile, the chances of South America merging to establish a superstate is unlikely because one used to exist. It was called the Spanish Empire. After the South and Central American nations achieved independence, there were many attempts to form a unified republic, which failed. In the modern era, because of the political differences and rivalries between the regional powers, it’s unlikely for the continent to unify and establish a superstate.
America is crippled by an orbital superweapon
After gaining enough influence on the world stage, the superstates aim their ambitions at the United States. Despite all that has happened, America is still a formidable opponent and will not be easy to conquer. Hence, these hostile powers use an orbital superweapon to cripple the U.S. before launching a full-scale invasion.
The Greater Korean Republic (in Homefront) uses an orbital EMP (disguised as a communication satellite) that cripples the western United States. The Federation (in Call of Duty: Ghosts) deploys commandos to hijack ODIN, an orbital-stationed weapon, and uses it to attack major cities in the U.S. The attacks cripple the federal government while bringing about the economical and social collapse of the nation, which results in America no longer being a world power.
That follows with an invasion and occupation
A full-scale invasion is launched after the superweapons have made America vulnerable. The invading forces quickly overwhelm the U.S. military (forcing them into disarray) while parts of America are under enemy occupation. In no time, the occupying army begins to round up civilians to either execute or send to a “re-education” camp.
Players have to infiltrate a re-education camp in Homefront, where they witness horrendous atrocities against civilians and uncover mass graves. In Call of Duty: Ghosts, players witness civilian executions by Federation soldiers and hear horror stories of people being rounded up.
The last battle is a turning point
Both games conclude with a battle that turns the tide of the war in America’s favor. After years of holding the lines, the United States military pools all its resources to launch one massive strike against the enemy.
In Homefront, the American Resistance, along with the United States Armed Forces, unleash a massive military operation on the Korean People’s Army in San Fransisco. The objective is to cripple the GKR command in occupied America and to liberate the Bay Area. The main force takes the Golden Gate Bridge before moving into the city while a SEAL team raids Alcatraz Island. The battle becomes a turning point as San Fransisco is liberated while the European Union begin talks about sending aid to America.
In Call of Duty: Ghosts, a joint Marine and Ghost force-attack a Federation Satellite Array in Chile while the USAF deploys a squad to hijack LOKI, an orbital-stationed weapon based on ODIN, and use it against the Federation (a little payback). The battle becomes a turning point as the Federation’s fleet and several major cities have been decimated by the LOKI attack.