In an interview with IGN, Activision’s publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said that the Call of Duty franchise hasn’t ever been in a stronger position. The publisher claims that making America the “underdog” is mixing things up, and that anticipation for the PS4 and Ghosts places the franchise in a very strong position.

“All I can tell you is that the franchise has never been stronger. At this moment in time, we have more people playing every month, more people logging on to play every day, a better digital business with people playing longer into the cycle of each product and purchasing more DLC and purchasing micro-DLC and purchasing season passes.

“Those are all the hard measures. How is the content we’re making selling? Are people enjoying it? That seems to be going well. Then you look at the softer measures, just in terms of social media engagement and video views. Anticipation is high for Ghosts. When you’re building off such a strong foundation of engaged players, that’s usually a pretty good sign.”

Activision added that that Ghosts will sell well, cementing the strong-sales tradition of the Call of Duty franchise,

“Now, at the end of the day, it all comes down to us making another great game. That’s why we set the stage for greatness with Ghosts by wiping the slate clean creatively, not doing another Modern Warfare game with Infinity Ward, allowing them to create an entirely new narrative and cast of characters.

“We’ve changed to a world where America is not the dominant force, but an underdog. That opened up new visual opportunities. It opened up new gameplay opportunities. We’re shaking things up. Multiplayer is going to have new ideas. Dynamic maps are something we’re doing. Character customization is something we’re doing.

“The story mode is going to be…I don’t know if you’ve seen what we [showed at E3], but it’s gorgeous. It’s emotional. It’s got a different kind of tonality and feeling to it. It all comes down to us making a great game every time out, and I’m confident that we are going to deliver something special with Ghosts.”

It may have all-new intelligent fish AI, but how smart can you really make CoD?