Surprise! Ghost Recon is going the way of Battle Royale but with a tactical approach to distinguish between the grand-scale battle establishment. Incredible … but true.
Fans of Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon series, which debuted back in 2001, have certain expectations based on favourite memories to be sure. Knowing this, Ubisoft Bucharest is underlining how essential Ghost Recon principles are being observed, while a first-person-shooter direction takes the place of time-honoured third-person operations to stage this Anniversary assault.
The name is Ghost Recon Frontline. We got a chance to check it out and what we’ve seen so far is intriguing. And thankfully, you’ll soon be able to try it out for yourself with an Open Test available between 14 and 21 October.
The heart of a Ghost
At the root of any great Ghost Recon experience, Ubisoft has identified teamwork, tactical thinking and authenticity as unique to the long-running franchise. While holding in sight of these, Ghost Recon Frontline is further distancing itself from the likes of Wildlands (2017) and Breakpoint (2019) by creating a player-versus-player platform that’s also Free to Play.
Two distinct game modes are planned for the exclusively-online launch of Frontline: Control and Expedition. The latter is the more radical departure of the two; grand-scale battles that involve 100+ players, with a strategic Ghost Recon slant. Tactical teams of three set out to secure intel before calling for extraction. In a similar vein to Ubisoft’s The Division, cunning teams may wait to hijack a rival’s extraction instead. Either way, the approach is careful, slower-paced than Frontline’s competitors (PUBG and that other thing beginning with ‘F’).
Control is slightly more familiar Ghost Recon PVP territory, only upping the ante with 9v9 contests; the player count increased from 4v4 matches seen in Wildlands and Breakpoint. This is about purely domination-oriented objectives, using tactical assets from Expedition, but making them more readily available. So-called TAC-Support for both modes involves sniper turrets and barricades, amongst other units, purchased with ‘Requisition Points’. Maps designed for Control are intended to affect the pace slightly, while not favouring a particular style of play over any other. Class type for Contractors (soldiers) influences that.
No place like biome
Despite putting to one side a narrative-led Campaign, we are still given some idea of what, where and why in Frontline. The action takes place on a remote fictitious island, said to have suffered an environmental disaster. Players adopt the role of private military Contractors sent to straighten things out. Beyond that not much is known … other than the fact that these Contractors are soon at each other’s throats, 100+ of them no less.
Covering 16 square kilometres, the island is evenly split into four biomes, each with its own geography and climate. There are villages and a city, jungle and desolate plains, a coastal region and treacherous swamp. A fifth, ‘mini’ biome is characterised by its poisoned atmosphere and waters. Over time we hope to learn more about why we are there, but for now, Ubisoft seems to be focusing on the action.
The class of 2021
For the Open Test starting SOON, three Classes of Contractor are available to choose from: Scout, Assault and Support. Each has a role to play: spotting the enemies, sustained damage under suppression-fire, and setting up defences and suchlike to keep everyone on their feet.
As new recruits, Contractors require a brief levelling-up period, familiarising players with their Active and Passive skill sets, unlocking secondary skills and gadgets for customisation. Many more, diversifying Contractors will be introduced post-launch, and there are to be no limitations on the size of roster allowed. The more time invested and objectives complete, the larger teams will grow. New Classes, e.g. Medic, will emerge to shape the metagame.
Keep all channels open
It is promised that support for Ghost Recon Frontline will continue long after launch, with a Seasonal approach to major updates. Meanwhile, Ubisoft Bucharest is putting systems in place to allow for regular feedback from experienced play-testers and influencers, so that the game has the best possible chance of standing alone, and succeeding, in arguably the most competitive arena in video games right now.
Get yourself locked and loaded. See you online …