Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Uses SEAL Expertise
The Seals were like, “It should be ‘Get the f**k over there.’ They should be over there anyway because they know they should get behind cover.’
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter was a launch title for the Xbox 360 in 2005, followed up by Advanced Warfighter 2, two years later. A reasonable time frame for a sequel then, but there have been half a dozen delays since GRAW2 and the third Ghost Recon game of this generation, Future Soldier, is only just due this May.
That’s a fairly long time in the video games industry and a hell of a stretch in this generation so we caught up with Ghost Recon’s IP development director, Adrian Lacey and Creative Director Jean-Marc Geffroy to find out what Ubisoft has been doing with Future Soldier to bring it up to date.
Apparently, the studio has been working with genuine Navy SEALs, “I think even in terms of the technology and stuff, it made us realise it had to be a functional tool, and all these futuristic items that everyone would love,” Adrian told us.
“The Navy SEALs were like ‘Yeah, that’s doable and actually in progress but it’s gotta work’. They brought us back down to Earth and as Jean-Marc always says, reality sometimes creates more innovation than fantasy and it really proves that. It made us focus more on that characterization, more on the motion capture and how you work and react to the team with the AI and how they support you.
Then you’ve got the ‘tag-‘em-and-bag-‘em’ feature so it couldn’t be clunky or ‘Alpha 240, please go over there’. The SEALs were like, “It should be ‘Get the f**k over there.’ They should be over there anyway because they know they should get behind cover.’
“It was interesting because there was this one point where it’s a bit stupid to tell them to go over there because they are trained for that,” said Jean-Marc. “But what we need is two things: firstly, to know where the threats are, which we add and grow and have tried to make better for this game. The second was to know the situation, what the threats are, the quality of those threats and if we are going to eliminate part of the threat easily in order to trigger the fight, when we want the fight to be triggered.
“It’s interesting because whether it’s tough missions or level design, you accept that the player plays as they want and trigger the fight when they want, so the AI reacts to every threat even if it’s not the player but another Ghost. They’re not player-centric. The team AI has to know that, like you, they are a threat so we don’t have to script the game like a rollercoaster. The consequences of these one or two choices are something we have to work on and getting this AI right takes time. There’s been a lot of work done on the controller too to make it very, very precise, accurate and responsive.”