Call of Duty: Ghosts may have taken a mauling from the press, but it still managed to cement Activision’s first-person franchise as one of the most popular entertainment properties on the planet, rarely falling from the top of the charts in Europe or North America. Alas, the publisher knows that it needs to put plenty of work in to ensure the brand’s esteemed status moving forwards, and that’s exactly what this year’s entry from Sledgehammer Games intends to do.

Developed with next-gen systems like the PlayStation 4 front and centre, the title’s shaping up to be quite the looker. As part of a GDC panel named ‘Quest for Quality: Maximizing the Relationship between Creative and Production’, the developer included the very first screenshot from the release, which shows the sweaty face of a soldier wearing a helmet. It’s not exactly breathtaking, but it does demonstrate a marked improvement over previous entries in the franchise.

Unlike past Call of Duty games, this instalment has been in production for three years, and is rumoured to represent a real step forward for the brand. It’s also speculated that Sony may have jumped in and scored timed exclusive DLC for the release, meaning that Xbox enforced delays may be a thing of the past. Regardless, all will presumably be revealed soon, as we’re edging dangerously close to that time of the year when Activision likes to announce new entries in the series.

[via uk.ign.com]