Prior to the launch of Tom Calncy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlans, we talked a few minutes with Matthew Tomkinson, Senior Designer at Ubisoft France. We talked about everything a little, from its passage through Just Dance, to how it was to travel to Bolivia to portray that in the open map of the game.
MBPC: Is this your first time in Chile?
MT: Yes, it is my first time and I really loved it, it is a pity that I only stay here for a day and a half. Time is very short, considering that I come from as far away as France, since the whole team is in Paris.
MBPC: The team is in Paris, are you part of it or are you the leader of this team?
MT: I am part of a great team and I have a small team in charge of around 20 people, and we take care of everything related to the understanding of the game. This is the User Interface, Menes and everything that has to do with it, see in what order the features go and how we show them, the tutorials, etc.
MBPC: Related to the game, this is Ubisoft's first open-world Ghost Recon game.
MT: With this new installment of Ghost Recon we wanted to take it to a new level and continue with what Ghost Recon is, this is a Tactical Shooter. If you consider tactics you want to be free, you want to take an action and respond to a situation the way you want.
For example, if you are in a field and approaching a camp, you want to choose how to approach, either with a helicopter, analyze the surroundings, use a sniper rifle, perform more recognition beforehand with a drone, etc. That way you choose how to do it.
That is why it made a lot of sense to make this game an Open World.
MBPC: What will be the difference between this Ghost Recon versus Advanced Warfighter 2, which was the last Ghost Recon you worked on?
MT: Uuh there is a lot of difference, the first thing is that AWF 2 is very linear and you can't play in CoOp, those are 2 very big differences. Even in terms of progress, it maintains the same skills from start to finish. GRWL is more about how you decide to face the world and how you want to play it.
When you start the game you choose what to do, if you want to do the most difficult thing there is no restriction on what you can and want to do in the game. This is very different with respect to a linear game.
In terms of CoOp you can now play whenever you want wherever you want, there are no restrictions in terms of levels, progress or anything. That is why you can choose what weapon to use, what equipment to assemble, everything you can customize, your tems and your skills that you want to develop. In the end you have so much freedom.
MBPC: Is there any path or path within the mandatory game?
ML: No, there is no type of path. Unlike other games that are equally well open world, such as Skyrim, that there are similar missions that you must follow to be able to finish the game, here your goal is to end The Poster led by the guy called The Dream.
To finish it, you have to reach 4 different operations and you can only choose to take 2 of those operations and start with one and then continue with another without being related, and with that you finish the game. That is why anyone can end the game in a completely different way from you, different locations, different unlocked themes, different characters, nothing in common.
MBPC: So we can finish the game in, say 8 hours?
MT: No, I don't think so, it takes much longer than that to finish it completely. In approximately 25 continuous hours you can finish it quickly, if you want to complete all the missions, it will take approximately 50 hours to finish the game. Now, if you want to unlock EVERYTHING that exists in the game, it will take you much more than the 50hroas it took me to complete everything and unlock almost every item.
MBPC: Out of context How was it going from Just Dance to Ghost Recon again?
MT: It's very strange, it's 2 completely different games. One about dancing and the other about narcos. What I liked, is that in both games I had to see about the approach of the game to the public, to ensure that the game can be enjoyed and played by many players.
In Ghost Recon, the interesting thing is that being a Tactical Shooter my job was to make sure that everyone understood all the possibilities they have in the game, both in skills, weapons and equipment, so that they could play the way they want .
MBPC: Let's talk about the AnvilNext 2.0 game engine. How beneficial was it to use this new version to build this great map of Bolivia in the game?
MT: Although the engine allows us to build everything in a simpler way, it is not that we can do all the mountains that Bolivia has in the game, or every tree that exists in that place.
What we did was to recreate a large part and for that we worked with a botanical specialist from South America to help us in certain things, such as if we put a tree in a mountain, he will tell us where in the mountain to locate that tree, if for the north or the south and as it will be if it is near or far from a river. That way you can recreate in a better way as is the context of South America within the game
With this it is much more authentic and you feel that you are really traveling within Bolivia within the game, with Bolivia not really being what we drew ah.
MBPC: Is that why your team traveled to Bolivia and was there for a while?
MT: Indeed, the team traveled to Bolivia and apart from recording they took photographs of the place and met people who produce coca or fight coca traffickers. With that we had a better feeling of what it is like to walk through the wild lands of Bolivia. That is why the game feels as authentic as possible.
MBPC: Let's talk about Artificial Intelligence. How improved is it compared to other games, and against the same Beta there was?
MT: Between the Closed Beta and the Open Beta, we work very hard and improve the AI between one and the other. Obviously making a good AI is very challenging and there will always be something that cannot be controlled, for example depending on the level of difficulty that is chosen, it is how you will react to certain things that happen in the game, such as if things are destroyed.
MBPC: Did you join the start of game development?
MT: No, it was only 2 years ago in 2015. Considering that the game began its development in 2012, it is because an Open World type game takes too much time, especially if it is the first iteration in this franchise.
MBPC: Did you read and review all the comments that appeared during the Beta phases?
MT: Yes, we watched all the videos and read all the comments about the game. He was very excited about the creativity that players have to play in cooperative mode, and we also collected many comments related to AI and that is why we raised the difficulty to be more precise, since sometimes we felt that AI was not very intelligent, but we also cannot be adding more and more behavior because otherwise it would be very structured.
MBPC: What was the reason for positioning the game in a current Bolivia and is not a Futuristic?
MT: In a futuristic game you have the freedom to invent powers and weapons, etc. But I think it is easier to associate and interact with a game that is currently set.
MBPC: Is it more difficult to develop one based on reality than a futuristic one? Bearing in mind that those who compare it against the real world may appear immediately.
MT: Obviously this brings with it many apprehensions, but that also gives you a lot of space for creativity, such as if you are firing from far away, you see how the bullet falls before it reaches the point where you are looking.
MBPC: Thank you very much Matthew was a pleasure
MT: Thank you very much and I hope you enjoy the game as much as we enjoy doing it.
We thank Matthew for his time and the people of Ubisoft for allowing us to chat with him for a while.
. ghost recon (t) tom clancy