The most elite soldiers in the United States military are back, and they’re at the forefront of an ever-escalating war on drugs in Bolivia. The South American country has become one of the leading producers of cocaine in the world, and controlling the operation from the shadows is the brutal Santa Blanca drug cartel. Instead of risking an all-out war, the Ghosts are sent in to strategically cripple the cartel’s operations and eventually destroy the support structure provided by the corrupt government and its associated groups.
In some ways, Ghost Recon Wildlands marks a bit of return to the series’ roots. Since it takes place just a few years from now, these Ghosts and their arsenal of weapons and gadgets are more reflective of what most major militaries currently wield, as opposed to the futuristic (albeit plausible) tech of the last few Ghost Recon games. That doesn’t mean players won’t have access to the latest and greatest, though. Drones and the like play an incredibly important role as instruments for surveying enemy strongholds, tagging targets, or serving as a first-strike tool.
But, the key difference between Wildlands and any previous Ghost Recon game is that players now have an enormous, living open-world that not only influences player strategy, but can also be influenced. First, questions of natural conditions come into play: What time of day is it? What’s the weather like? What kind of terrain is involved? Obviously, a clear sunny day makes it easier to be spotted by enemy targets, but it might also increase the likelihood that the targets are engaged in some outdoor activity required to keep their dubious business activities going. Conversely, waiting until nightfall offers more cover, but makes it potentially more difficult to spot certain targets.
There are numerous observations to make from there. For example, do the targets have a potential escape vehicle (or if the mission involves any kind of transport)? If so, players will need to make sure they have some vehicles of their own, and those don’t seem to be in any short supply. The first trailer has already revealed a dirt bike, a multi-passenger dune-buggy, and even a helicopter that we see drop Ghosts into different parts of the environment.
While these are all examples of how the environment impacts strategy, strategy can also impact the environment. The Ghosts can interact with local rebels, military officials, and innocent bystanders. Depending on the decisions players make, these interactions may prove to be helpful in achieving certain goals or they may present major setbacks. Players need to be aware of relationships between these groups and how one decision might just set off a chain reaction of events in the world.
“With Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, we’re moving the Ghost Recon franchise in a new direction, with a massive, beautiful and living open world that reacts to players’ choices,” said Nouredine Abboud, Senior Producer, Ubisoft. “Whether going it alone or teaming up with friends in co-op, players in Ghost Recon Wildlands will never encounter the same situation twice, providing endless possibilities and creative freedom to cultivate very personal stories and experiences with the game.”
Ghost Recon Wildlands is in development at Ubisoft Paris with collaboration from other studios, including Ubisoft Annecy, Bucharest, Montpellier, Milan, and Reflection Studios. It will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.