Along with Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon is one of the jewels in Ubisoft’s “Tom Clancy” crown of games, going as far back as 2001 when Red Storm Entertainment developed the first GR title for the PC crowd. Things have come a long way since then; Future Soldier will be the latest entry to the popular franchise, one which Ubisoft hopes to restore to past glories.
I recently got the chance to sit down with Kimi Matsuzaki, the Senior Community Developer at Red Storm Entertainment, to talk a bit more about GRFS, what we got to see at E3, and get some insight into the super cool looking Gunsmith feature for Kinect.
XGZ: Could you give us an overview of the main story that players will be diving into on GRFS? Does it follow on from the events of GRAW2, or is this a “reboot” so to speak?
Kimi: Basically the story revolves around the Ghosts pursuing an arms smuggling ring, and the pursuit takes them around the globe from Africa to the Arctic Circle. It doesn’t directly follow where GRAW 2 left off, as this is an all-new team we haven’t seen before.
XGZ: The “co-ordinated shot” feature that we saw in the E3 demo looked familiar to the “Mark and Execute” feature present in Splinter Cell Conviction. A lot of Splinter Cell fans felt that M&E made the game a little too easy. Could you explain a little bit more about Co-ordinated Shot, if (and how) it evolved from Mark and Execute, and what steps the team have taken to balance it for the various difficulty levels of GRFS.
Kimi: The Synchronized Shot is a great feature to promote teamwork because when done in co-op, each member of the team has to plan to execute their shot at the same time in order for it to work. In practice the synchronized shot encourages players to play as a team, and rewards them with the neat little shot sequence. As far as balance, the use of the synchronized shot feature is not required, and if players want greater difficulty while playing, they can choose to take out targets individually without penalty.
XGZ: The team showed off a very impressive demo of Gunsmith at E3, and the level of customisation and weapon immersion is one currently unmatched in the genre at present. Tell us a little bit about how Gunsmith came to be, and what you hope it will do for players of the game.
Kimi: We have always been about offering players options, and Gunsmith was a natural extension of this. Since we have quite a few gun nuts on the team, we knew that weapon customization had to go beyond simply choosing between types of silencers, or whether to equip a silencer or a C-MAG. Additionally, in the field, special forces operatives have their weapons kitted out to their individual preferences; they are not simply issued a standard one-fits-all assault rifle. We hope to encourage players, as Ghosts, to experience that with Gunsmith.
XGZ: Is the Kinect support in GRFS limited only to the Gunsmith feature, or can it be utilised in other aspects of the gameplay?
Kimi: Currently the plan is to have Kinect only available for Gunsmith, not in regular gameplay.
XGZ: In addition to the campaign, and 4 player co-op support, GRFS will feature online multiplayer, continuing the tradition from previous titles in the series. Can you give us an idea of the sort of modes that players can look forward to besides standard Team Deathmatch?
Kimi: I can’t talk about the other gametypes just yet. At E3 we revealed the Conflict mode, which is Team Deathmatch with objectives. As the round progresses, various objectives will appear on the map, from gathering Intel to taking out a specific target. The team earns points for completing objectives in addition to gaining points for kills. Naturally, the points earned for objectives are much higher than kills, so it encourages the team to go for these objectives rather than simply turning it into a typical TDM match.
XGZ: A lot of the features announced so far seem (naturally) geared towards a focus on teamwork. Will “lone wolf” type players still be able to excel in this game, or will going off on your own be a certain in game death wish?
Kimi: “Lone wolf types” will do fine, I’m sure, because that’s how they’re used to playing. But at risk of spreading on the cheese, I’ll share a statement here that I’ve heard tossed around: one person getting Intel for three other players is much more effective than four players with no Intel. And you know what? I’m a living testament to this! I will readily admit that I’m the first one to run in there, but during playtests I’ve found myself adapting my playstyle to be more team-focused. I spend a ton of time gathering Intel with the drone, and it’s been so much more rewarding than rushing around aimlessly, getting killed, rinse and repeat.
XGZ: We are pretty intrigued by the “Intel Grab”, where a member of the team can use a non lethal takedown to stun an opponent, and then upload the Intel they have on them, thus earning their team a limited “Powerplay”. What steps (abilities, perks and/or weapon attachments) can a player take to ensure they don’t fall victim to this, other than constantly looking over their shoulder?
Kimi: The main deterrent to getting data hacked is to stick with your team. If you’re off in a corner somewhere by yourself, you’re highly susceptible to getting data hacked and even though your team may be aware that it’s happening, they’ll likely be too far away to intercept the hack. Stunning an enemy and getting his Intel isn’t an instantaneous action, so if you’re with your team they’ll surely have your back to stop the hack from completing.
XGZ: Will there be any crossover between GRFS and Ghost Recon Online?
Kimi: There will, as our MP creative director Tommy Jacob announced during the E3 press conference! Details on that are forthcoming.
Thank you for your time Kimi.
XboxGameZone would like to thank both Ubisoft and their Red Storm studio for the interview and information. Ghost Recon Future Soldier will release sometime in March of 2012 (as announced at E3), for Xbox 360 and all other major platforms.