E3 2011: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 preview

Developer City Interactive’s first attempt with the Sniper: Ghost Warrior series sadly came across as little more than an interesting concept that was incredibly lacking in finesse. The game was released in a buggy state, the plot was forgettable, the graphics were bland, enemies all seemed to possess some sort of god-like clairvoyance in that they could easily spot you in cover from five miles away and the gameplay was intermingled with these terrible run-and-gun sequences which made the game come across as nothing more than a poorly bastardized Modern Warfare. Multiplayer was also a mess, as having nothing but the option to play as a sniper resulted in giant camping extravaganzas. That said, having just seen City Interactive’s Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 presentation at E3, it would seem that the developer has learned from its mistakes and is bringing quite a bit more to the table this time around.

Taking control of sniper operative Captain Cody Anderson (codenamed “Sandman”), producer Michal Scrozynsky lead us through the demonstration. The demo consisted of two missions which took place in the snowy Himalaya Mountains. The first thing that hit us was how much more the visuals popped. The environments were bright, detailed and vibrant. Scrozynsky explained that this was because City Interactive was now using the CryENGINE 3 to power Ghost Warrior 2 and add some visual flair to the experience. Considering that the game is still in a pre-alpha build (little more than a tech-demo), we were surprised at the large amount of breathtaking, idyllic vistas that Scrozynsky was able to throw at us during his trek through the presentation.

While the gunplay we saw looked to maintain a similar feel to the previous game, we were treated to a couple new features that fans of the first game are sure to appreciate. One such feature was the ability to swap sniper scopes on the fly for the various combat scenarios players are going to run into. For instance, during a night mission, Scrozynsky switched from a long-range scope to a thermal-enhanced attachment which made tracking targets in the dark much easier. Another addition was stealth-based melee kills. Now, as long as you remain undetected by the enemy, you can initiate a brutally choreographed melee kill with your combat knife (think of the melee kills from Killzone 3).

When asked about the direction that City Interactive was hoping to take Ghost Warrior 2, Scrozynsky elaborated on how the studio was aiming to differentiate itself from other modern shooters by creating its own niche. The sequel has eschewed all of the Modern Warfare-esque close-quarters shooting segments and will now focus entirely on long-range combat, stealth and sniping. Enemy AI is receiving a massive upgrade (i.e. missing your target with a silenced sniper rifle will no longer alert everyone within a 3-mile radius to your exact location) and unique mechanics like the sniper bullet kill-cam are being reworked and improved. Multiplayer is also receiving a major improvement in that competitive matches will now have mission objectives that will force players to maneuver around the map instead of staying hidden away in their little sniper-nests all game long. In short, the studio is going to work on what they’re good at and get rid of all the other stuff that nobody liked.

So far, the developers believe the campaign will run a good ten hours and the game is looking forward to an early 2012 release. By focusing on their strengths and listening to community feedback, City Interactive seems to be well on their way to delivering a quality product. Check back with us for a full review on Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 next year.

Jun 13, 2011

Jordan Baughman is a freelance journalist who has written for the likes of GamesRadar and Gamer magazine. With a passion for video games and esports, Baughman has been covering the industry for years now, and even hopped the fence to work as a public relations coordinator for clients that include EA, Capcom, Namco, and more.