CI Games talks about its open-ended sniper sequel.
Sniper Elite 4 didn’t entice you with its decidedly more open world? Cue CI Games’ Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 which also promises more freedom but also throws in a whole lot more tactical options. Given how successful the developer has been over the years, the debut of the Ghost Warrior franchise on current gen consoles is worth looking out for.
GamingBolt spoke to senior level designer Tomasz Pruski to learn more about Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3, especially when it comes to the game’s more open-ended approach and improved movement system.
"Intel-gathering is also an integral part of the core gameplay, because players will be encouraged to use their drone to see what a particular outpost has in store for them before carrying out an attack."
The Sniper Ghost Warrior series has always been incredibly enigmatic, catering to a certain subset of FPS players but still witnessing massive success. What do you think contributes to this?
Sniping games are definitely a sub-genre with a lot of followers. People want that feeling of being a lonely sniper behind enemy lines with just their tools and skills to complete their mission. In our third entry in the Sniper Ghost Warrior franchise we want to give these people what they want but also make it a more complete sniping experience – it’s not going to be only about long-distance combat, this time around the players will have the option of up-close-and-personal stealth takedowns, and going in hot with their assault rifles and shotguns in case things go sideways.
Even with the success that it’s earned, what inspired you to open up the game’s world and make it more free-roaming? What does that added freedom offer players that they wouldn’t get in a more linear Sniper Ghost Warrior title?
The move into open world gameplay was motivated by the players’ desire to choose their own approaches to missions, and doing their own reconnaissance beforehand. They wanted more freedom in completing the objectives and choosing where to snipe from, and we wanted to give them that.
The implementation of intel-gathering missions to discover your objectives is intriguing. How does this help encourage players to explore the open world and see what it has in store?
Scout snipers are often given assignments not directly revolving around sharp shooting, sometimes they will be sent to an enemy location to gather intel, and so some of the missions will be centered on that. Intel-gathering is also an integral part of the core gameplay, because players will be encouraged to use their drone to see what a particular outpost has in store for them before carrying out an attack. They can also tap into security camera feeds to find their targets, or interrogate enemies to find the locations of their marks, enemy placement, or loot crates.
Furthermore, what can you tell us about the new movement system and Scout Mode? How do they strike a balance between holding the player’s hand (such as pointing out sniping spots) and encouraging experimentation?
Scout mode lets you see what a skilled scout sniper like Jon North would see when looking at their environment. It will pick up enemies, objects used for sabotage, loot, and the ledges that can be climbed. The climbing (called Extreme Navigation in the game) will allow players to take advantage of the verticality on enemy outposts – if you’re trying to get to a better sniping position, you can choose your own path – climb a building, use a zip-line from a different spot, or crawl through the sewer drain and emerge behind your enemies.
"We want to make landing a good shot more rewarding, so players will have to check the distance, set their scopes to the target’s distance, use breath control, and only then pull the trigger."
We’re particularly interested in the war crimes side missions. What kinds of missions can we expect to see?
Every side mission is tailor-made to be as diverse and fun as possible. We’re not using any templates for the side missions where we want the players to go to a location again and clear all enemies again. Rather we want them to explore new story arcs with custom locations, objectives, and narrative. There is also a list of wanted war criminals that the players will neutralize for additional rewards.
Can all the missions in the game be completed using a variety of techniques? Is the player required to operate in stealth for one and go guns blazing for another?
There are a few missions in the game that will require a certain approach, such as overwatch missions that are a nod to the series fans, where players will provide sniper support to other operatives, but the core gameplay will just give the players an objective and let them deal with it themselves.
What additions have you made to the game’s long-range sniping along with keeping wind distance, gravity and whatnot in mind? How does short-range combat work in comparison?
The first thing that the players will notice is the lack of a red dot indicating where the bullet will land exactly. We decided that it took all the skill out of sniper gameplay and made the wind, gravity, and whatnot meaningless. We want to make landing a good shot more rewarding, so players will have to check the distance, set their scopes to the target’s distance, use breath control, and only then pull the trigger. Short-range combat is also not a straightforward thing, because depending on the situation you might want to stay silent or go guns-blazing. The suppressors on your guns will degrade with each shot, so you will have to make each bullet count.
How important is vehicular travel in the game? Are there any stealth-driving mechanics thrown in to help players avoid detection on the road? Is it possible to commandeer other vehicles in-game?
Players will always have their vehicle at their disposal. Even when using fast travel, the car will travel with them. Getting to the mission areas, finding new fast travel spots, or looking for points of interest in the world will all benefit greatly from driving the car, but sometimes you will have to ditch it and do some climbing or zip-lining to get to the more isolated spots. Vehicles driving around in the world cannot be commandeered, but at certain times in the game players will be put behind the wheel of a different vehicle.
"We’re confident we can deliver on the expectations that surround this game."
What kinds of weapons can players look forward? What new tools and gadgets have been added to the mix?
For the first time in the series, we’ve added a secondary weapon slot in addition to the sniper rifle and a pistol, so there will be loads of different sniper rifles, assault rifles, shotguns, LMGs, pistols, and bows to choose from, depending on the players preferred approach. Another new addition is the Drone, which will let players do proper recon before heading into enemy territory. The weapons and the Drone can be modified to suit the players even better.
With such a huge scale compared to its predecessor, how are you ensuring that Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 can live up to its full potential?
It’s surely an ambitious project, but the team has a ton of experience working with CryEngine, and the team’s size has also grown since the previous titles, so we’re confident we can deliver on the expectations that surround this game.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is launching during an interesting period. You have a number of platforms that you need to take care which also includes the PlayStation 4 Pro. How much of a challenge is it to handle multiple platforms?
Working on multiple platforms adds complexity to the whole development as we need to properly address all the supported systems. On the other hand, current gen of consoles is easier to handle overall and despite the differences, platforms have a lot in common, so with the proper planning we are able to overcome this challenge.
Will Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 run at 1080p and 60fps on both the base PS4 and Xbox One?
We are aligning to the market standards and balance performance and quality very carefully in order to deliver the best possible gaming experience. This is why players can at least expect the 30 FPS at 1080p on the PS4 as well as 30 FPS at 900p on the Xbox One.
Do you think the PS4 Pro GPU is powerful enough to render Ghost Warrior 3 in native 4K? Or are you planning to use any custom techniques such as checkerboard rendering?
For the initial release we don’t plan to render Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 in native 4K.