Safeguard is a gamemode in Call of Duty: Ghosts. It features four-player co-op against escalating waves of A.I. controlled enemy soldiers, similar to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's Survival Mode. The mode has three variants; Safeguard, which lasts for 20 rounds, Safeguard Extended, which lasts for 40 rounds, and Safeguard Infinite which lasts for 100 rounds. Compared to Survival Mode, the gameplay in Safeguard is less arcade-like, and much closer to a multiplayer match. The player can survive less damage than in Survival Mode, while enemies are less numerous but individually more powerful. There is no purchasing system; instead weapons, Perks, and Killstreaks are periodically air-dropped into the combat zone during rounds. The player also passively has Resilience and Tac Resist.
Individual weapons have their own leveling up bars, in which the more it is leveled up, the more damage it does and the better it performs. If a weapon is switched but later picked up from a different crate, it will restart. Acquiring a weapon you already have from a crate will instantly level up the weapon and refill its ammo. During the rounds, players' performances will fill up a Support Drop bar, which when filled, crates will fall from the sky. Crates with green outlines signify that the reward has not been changed yet. Crates with yellow outlines signify that the reward has been changed once and changing it again will result in the Ammo reward. Crates with a tan outline signify that the reward has been changed twice and cannot be changed again. These crates will always contain the Ammo reward. Crates with blue outlines hold killstreak rewards, such as a Sentry Gun, I.M.S., Battle Hind, etc.
Players start with an MP-443 Grach. As the rounds progress, enemies will increase in numbers and difficulty, spawning dogs, riot shielders, and more. At the start of some rounds, all players can get a random Field Order (getting 10 headshots, 10 knife kills etc..) the Field Orders are "Team Field Orders" meaning that all Field Orders are done collectively, when a Field Order has been completed, all players gain a Minigun with explosive ammo (which also apply to the players' other weapons) for a limited time. The Minigun can also be upgraded to increase its performance. There is also a Perk from the support drops called "Trigger Happy". It will instantly refill the player's magazine after they have killed an enemy. It acts as an instant and automatic Sleight of Hand.
There is no Self Revive in Safeguard, however, players start each game with the ability to call in an A.I. controlled Ghost Squad teammate who can revive downed players. Once killed, the A.I. controlled squadmate cannot be revived or re-summoned until later rounds where the option to call another in will be available. Ghost Squad teammates will become available every 20ᵗʰ round (Round 21, 41, etc.)
- MP-443 Grach with Extended Magazines
- I.E.D. (One at the start, two maximum)
- Concussion Grenade (One at the start, two maximum)
Support Drop Weapons
- The weapons in the Support Drop crates, while random, are still limited to a few specific weapons.
Field Order Reward
- The Minigun can be earned by the player and their team in Safeguard by completing Field Orders. It has explosive ammo and is very effective against all enemies, though it lasts for a limited amount of time (one minute).
- Ready Up
- Sleight of Hand
- Speed (Agility)
- Sprint Reload (On the Go)
- Steady Aim
- Fast Health Regen (ICU)
- Blast Shield
- Trigger Happy
Every fifth round (round 1, 6, 11, etc.) is a Loot Round. When this happens, Care Packages will spawn around the map, containing Strike Package Rewards. Once the next wave starts, all of the care packages will disappear. However, if one is being captured and the next wave starts, then the crate will not disappear unless the player discontinues the process of taking it.
Enemies in Safeguard are referred to as "Infected" by the level announcer, and as "Federation" by the victory screen. Safeguard has less enemy variety compared to Survival Mode, with enemies behaving more similarly to multiplayer bots than campaign enemies. Enemies in Safeguard do not drop their weapons after being killed. Additionally, their health and power increases rapidly with each successive wave, allowing them to survive more damage and kill the player more effectively, with enemies in later waves able to survive more than a dozen rounds from some weapons.
- Ravager: A hostile civilian wearing a hoodie, beige pants, and converse shoes, wielding a Bulldog shotgun. This is the first enemy that will be encountered. They sport the lowest health, the lowest range, and don't cause much trouble on their own. However, they sometimes tend to rush the players and stab them, and make up for their poor performance with large numbers. It is recommended not to rely on too much close-quarters combat against them
- Enforcer: A hostile enemy soldier wearing Federation armor and wielding a Vepr submachine gun. First encountered at wave five. They are a step up from Ravagers, replacing the latter in later rounds due to their higher health and better range. They have half the player's health.
- Tower: A hostile German shepherd. First encountered at wave four. Like the Ravagers, they have low health and no ranged weapon, but make up for both with their small size, unpredictable manuverability, and high speed. These traits allow them to rush the player and deliver a nasty bite that, while not lethal on its own, may throw off the players' aim and open them up to a quick and humiliating death via other enemies.
- Striker: A Ravager wielding a Riot Shield instead of a Bulldog shotgun. Can kill the player with two consecutive melee attacks. First encountered at wave nine. Stikers are possibly the most annoying of all enemies, as while they cannot shoot the players, they keep their shield aimed at a selected player at all times while rushing in for the kill. At certain times while rushing, they even crouch to prevent their legs from being exposed to gunfire. The only time their body is exposed is when they are sprinting. They are best countered by having other players distracting them, while another makes the kill from behind or the sides.
- Destructor: A hostile enemy heavy soldier wearing heavy body armor and wielding a MK32 that fires grenades that detonate after a couple of seconds instead of on impact. Tougher than a regular enemy, but not as tough as a Juggernaut. First encountered at wave 13. Destructors, while not the most dangerous enemies encountered, tend to make up for this by using their grenades to mess with the players (i.e. throw off their aim, open them up for other enemies to make the kills, etc.). They have the same health as the player; thus, two knife hits are required to kill them as opposed to one against previous enemies.
- Hammer: An Enforcer, wielding a Chain SAW light machine gun. First encountered at wave 24. They behave similarly to Enforcers, and as such, they should be treated the same. It is recommended to also make a change to the player's strategy to compensate for their larger ammo capacities.
- While downed in Safeguard, the playable character begins to lose their perks every few seconds.
- If the player manages to kill the last enemy while downed, then they will be instantly revived without the need of a squadmate.
- Reviving a downed teammate will reward the player with a ballistic vest.
- The .44 Magnum appears as the "Wild Widow", a random weapon in one of the support drops, capable of killing with one shot, even at high rounds.
- Some perks have their names changed. ICU is Fast Health Regen, Agility is Speed and On The Go is Sprint Reload.
- When changing the reward from a support drop, the third and last reward is always Ammo.
- Throughout the game, enemies have a chance to drop special powerups that upgrade the player in different ways. These include a powerup that can upgrade their gun to the next level instantaneously, or a powerup that gives their team an ammo boost.
- Despite its name, Safeguard Infinite only lasts for 100 rounds.
- Enforcers and Hammers share the same character model as the Juggernaut Maniac.
- Killed enemies do not drop weapons upon death.
- Enemies in this game mode appear to act like AI multiplayer bots, seen from the way they move, shoot, and how they knife for a melee attack rather than using the butt of a gun.
- Moreover, just like in normal multiplayer, attack dogs bite repeatedly the players to kill/down them instead of tackling them.
- It can also be played in Private Match, along with in Squads.