Ubisoft revealed this week that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 will not be known as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 at all. Instead it's to be termed Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter when it sees release later this year on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox, PS2 and GameCube.
And no, it's not about a jet. It's about a next-generation network of tools dotted about the average soldier which combine to form the Integrated Warfighter System - finally giving the average private's heads-up display some meaning and justification.
But of course there's more to it than that. You can read up on it by checking out our previous preview and interview and screenshots, published during E3. What's more, we've got a brand new trailer hosted on Eurofiles, and what follows is a brief Q&A session with Ubisoft producer Mathieu Girard made available by the publisher this week.
Ubisoft: Who is working on the PC version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter?
Mathieu Girard: More than 100 people are involved with the PC version. Ubisoft and GRIN are working in close collaboration to deliver the next installment on Windows PC DVD-ROM of the smash-hit squad based shooter franchise.
GRIN has strong experience in military applications (they started developing software for the armed forces). They distinguished themselves in developing groundbreaking technology; actually GRIN made the first game to feature pixel and vertex shaders in cooperation with Nvidia for the launch of the GeForce 3.
Ubisoft: What differences can we expect between the PC and the Consoles versions?
Mathieu Girard: There will be many differences between both versions, and many of them are induced by the simple fact that both are very different. For instance, if you take into account that you control your soldier with a keyboard and a mouse rather than with a pad, you know that you will shoot faster and more accurately. For us, that means that we have to adapt the level design (offer more covers), the camera system (immersive first person view), the difficulty (enemies are more challenging)... Basically nearly all areas of the game have to be adapted just considering this simple fact.
In the PC version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, we will develop the tactical aspect further than in the other versions, because this approach best fits this platform, and we know that all Ghost Recon fans are expecting to be able to plan their team's actions on the battlefield.
That's why we are implementing exclusive features for the Tactical Map of the game. With this tool, the planning phase can now happen at anytime in the game (at least when you're safe enough!). That also means that you'll be able to change your plans if things do not go as planned, just like real soldiers do. We feel this is an ideal balance between strategy and improvisation.
Also the PC version will provide many other improvements and tweaks to make it fit the expectations of our audience.
Ubisoft: Can you please explain us the main differences between the first opus of Ghost Recon and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter?
Mathieu Girard: Actually, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter has a lot in common with the features that the fans loved in the first opus, the features from a tactical shooter. We have however improved and increased these tactical features, taking advantage of the technology that the soldiers of the future will use.
The other big difference is of course the visual quality which will benefit from the latest Next Gen PC rendering and effect.
Finally, multiplayer expands towards new modes which also take advantage of our new tactical layer and near futuristic context.
Ubisoft: A lot of people have been upset with very little information on the upcoming PC-based Tom Clancy games. Have you in any way listened to the input and wishes of fans when doing Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter?
Mathieu Girard: Because we do not express ourselves on the forums does not mean that we don't read them. We know what the expectations are, and our objective remains to provide a deep and involving game.
We are still debating many aspects of the game, and the opinions expressed by the fans are always taken in consideration.
For example on Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2, feedbacks from the PC community revealed that the "Over the shoulder" view was not appreciated. So on the PC version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, we decided to stick to a first person view during the whole game.
Ubisoft: One of the strongest points of Ghost Recon was the multiplayer mode. Which possibilities will be available to players and what improvements have been made?
Mathieu Girard: This is an area we cannot really talk about right now, because it is still heavily under work right now, and because we do not want to spoil everything. However, we can already tell you that all the basics you can expect from an online shooter will be here plus most of the classical modes associated with the Ghost Recon brand. But we will also provide some great innovative modes which will fully exploit the tactical layer of the game and the near futuristic context.