Senior producer Nouredine Abboud talks Ghost Recon Wildlands with STACK.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series has been a favourite of shooter, tactical and stealth fans since the series began back in 2001. A step away from traditional Tom Clancy novels, the Ghost games have always had a tendency to go rogue and craft alternate “what if?” timelines of their own; Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is no different.
In Ghost Recon Wildlands (GRW), a vicious drug cartel has taken over the coca production in Bolivia, headed by the nefarious Santa Blanca. With the country becoming a virtual narco-state, the United States government is forced to step in when Blanca’s deadly influence reaches its shores. The Ghosts are mobilised and sent in.
Eschewing the far-future setting associated with recent entries in the Ghost canon, senior producer on the game, Nouredine Abboud, told STACK the studio decided to shape the story with a more contemporary timeline.
“While previously Ghost Recon games may have stepped further into the future to give players more option when it comes to warfare, Wildlands is returning to the roots of the series, throwing players into battle only a few years into the future.
“Fans will find the elements that make the Ghost unit so unique are there, with references only some of the most hardcore fans will be able to pick-up.”
Abboud reveals that the studio worked closely with Special Forces and Special Operations experts in order to ensure the weaponry and equipment used in the game by players are as accurate as possible. This doesn’t just extend to aesthetics; weapons had to sound the part and handle realistically, too.
“One of our points of focus was to make sure we got the bullet ballistics (such as bullet drop or spread) right in the game, as the open environments and the draw distance allow you to shoot from very, very far.”
This eye for detail also extends to the narrative, with the studio consulting experts on drug cartels. The story had to be plausible.
“The credibility of the game’s story, world and characters was vitally important, and we worked with numerous experts on the different topics we address in the game,” Abboud explains. “For instance, we are very proud to have worked with Don Winslow, the famous author of The Cartel, The Power of the Dog and Savages, and one of the American authorities on the War on Drugs and drug cartels.
“With his writing partner Shane Salerno, he is bringing his research and the intensity of his works to the game.”
GRW is Ubisoft’s most ambitious open world title to date, with expansive environments allowing for complete freedom of play. In order to keep players focused in the game, the world is divided into 20 regions, each containing a set amount of missions to complete, and a boss to take down before progression can be made. Side missions will unlock new weapons and resources to upgrade equipment. Players can even recruit local rebels to fight the Santa Blanca cartel alongside them.
Of course, there’s every chance you’ll want to fight your way through GRW with a bunch of buddies in tow, and Ubisoft have made this possible with co-op from start to finish.
“Being able to play GRW from beginning to end in solo or in four player co-op has always been an objective for the team, right from the beginning of the development,” says Abboud. “This raised some very particular challenges, such as how can we make sure that progress can be shared between solo and co-op play, or how can we make sure the transition between the two is as seamless as possible?
“Thanks to the hot-join system that allows you to join or be joined by another player without interruption, and the fact that your progression is always saved even if you switch between solo or co-op, we are proud of the result and think Ghost Recon: Wildlands will offer a new experience for all types of players.”