Ghost Recon is back!
Ghost Recon Wildlands has pretty much gone dark since it was revealed at the Ubisoft's press conference in E3 2015. But, it looks like we might be getting some long awaited news at E3 2016. What that is, we're not too sure. As you'd expect, this one's a third-person shooter, which lets you take control of a four-man squad of military hardcases. Yes, there are guns. Yes, there are explosions. But that's where the similarities with previous Ghost Recons end...
Wildlands is an open-world game, drawing inspiration from Ubi's other franchises like Far Cry and Assassin's Creed. Here you can choose to tackle missions in different orders, and you can approach objectives however you want. It's exactly the refresh the series needs, and the reveal trailer is damn entertaining. So, click through and discover why this is shaping up to be one of the finest Clancy games in years...
It's open-world, set in Bolivia
Yes, yes, we literally just mentioned that it's an open-world game. The initial fact sheet from Ubi talks about how it's set in Bolivia, a country with an incredibly varied landscape. Mountains? Check. Jungle? Check. Salt flats? Check. Towns and cities? Check. It also definitely helps that Bolivia has a real-world reputation for being the home of powerful drug cartels, ruthless hostage-takers, and general ne're-do-wells.
You'll be able to explore 100s of villages, local landmarks, and geographical points of interest in the game, and there will be plenty of locals to interact with too. As is quickly becoming standard, there's a day and night cycle, and a full weather system too. Will there be other locations? Nothing confirmed, but the end of the E3 trailer does hint at Europe and North America (although that could just be a visual demonstration of the distribution of drugs...)
Yes, it involves a drug cartel
As you definitely worked out from the reveal trailer, Wildlands is about a giant, ruthless Bolivian drug cartel. It's the Santa Blanca cartel, to be precise, and this organisation has turned a large portion of pretend-Bolivia into a Narcostate. That basically means they rule with an iron fist, terrorising the locals, and paying off the authorities. You know the score.
The Ghosts are dropped behind enemy lines to break Santa Blanca's hold on the country. So, expect to be liberating regions, assassinating key players, and blowing much of the cartel's man/firepower to tiny pieces. Oh, and wiping out a LOT of drugs to cut off their cash supply. You're essentially attempting to rescue an entire country. No pressure.
What will you actually do?
It's an open-world, so you'll be free to tackle objectives as you see fit. We already know there are enemy outposts to liberate (like in Far Cry), and the E3 demo shows off a high-profile target mission. However, the trailer makes a point of explaining that the unfortunate 'White Hat' character can be dealt with in a number of ways. He can be killed, captured, or just humiliated. It's an interesting twist on the regular 'go here, kill this dude' style mission.
Elsewhere, you'll be able to sabotage equipment, kidnap and interrogate key targets, and assassinate your more powerful foes. Expect some hostage rescue too, as that's always been a key feature of Clancy games. We see in the trailer that you'll be upgrading gear and stealing relics too. Hello, collectables!
How much choice do you really have?
Quite a lot, actually. Aside from the option to tackle missions as you see fit (and the trusty Ghost Recon drone is back to help you scout and tag objectives ahead of time), you'll also be able to manipulate the world. For example, you'll be able to side with local rebels to help out in battles against more powerful factions within the Santa Blanca cartel. Or you can try and instigate in-fighting within the cartel itself, by manipulating information. Or you can create distractions in one place to help you sneak in and complete primary objectives with greater ease.
Careful, though. As with most open-world games, your actions will have an impact on the region. What this means is you'll be forced to make choices, which could come back to bite you later on. This is just our speculation but... say you take the easy option and just assassinate White Hat, as in the trailer. What's to say that another drug baron won't come along and just take over his operation, because you didn't sneak in and completely destroy the factory? Consequences, you see.
Ok, what toys can you play with?
Right, obviously there's the gyrocopter drone. In Wildlands you can use it to tag enemies, and to detonate next to them - very cool. We've also seen a load of vehicles in the trailer for getting around in: rib boats, jeeps (with optional mounted turrets), dirt bikes, trucks, and loads more. Expect planes and choppers too, as the press release describes action as taking place in land, sea, and air. Good stuff.
The setting seems to be present day (or very, very near future), so don't expect stuff like the weird iGun from Future Soldier. Weapons will be standard military fare: silenced pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, snipers etc. Invisibility camo? Unlikely. Guns that shoot around corners? Probably not. Let's not forget too, that the Ghosts are behind enemy lines, so high-spec hardware is tough to find. Oh, and you'll be able to fully customise your Ghost too, with the loot you find. We're already roasting to wear that stetson worn by White Hat in the demo...
Is there multiplayer?
For sure. We already know that you'll have four-player co-op, and that you can play the mission featured in the demo with four separate people. Don't worry, you'll be able to play the whole thing solo too. Friends will be able to seamlessly drop into your game and help out whenever you choose, which is great, because having separate co-op campaigns is SO last-generation.
As for PvP multiplayer... unconfirmed at this stage. Ghost Recon usually has it, and we note that Ubisoft Annecy (a multiplayer-specialist studio) is one of the teams working on the game, so it's highly likely that PvP is on its way too. Will that be map-focused? Or open-world like GTA Online? Look, we're not even sure that it exists at this stage, so this is all speculation. But open-world multiplayer would be damn good fun...
When is it out?
Apparently the team has been working on it for about 4 years now, and at this point we're expecting a release in early 2017. Ubisoft is also said to be showing the game off at E3 2016, so we're sure to get more details when the show rolls around. So, stay tuned.