Ghost Recon Breakpoint executive producer Nouredine Abboud speaks with GamingBolt about Ubisoft’s latest open world title.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon has changed beyond recognition. Though still adhering to its tactical military shooter routes, the series went full open world in 2017 with Ghost Recon Wildlands, and now, with Breakpoint, it’s changing even more. Adding loot shooter elements, RPG progression mechanics, and – for the first time in the series’ history – a fictional setting, Breakpoint is attempting to try something series fans have never been before. In anticipation of the game’s launch, we recently sent across some of our most burning questions about the game to its developers, hoping to pick their brains about the changes it makes over its predecessor and find out what plans they have for the game following its launch in the immediate future. You can read our interview with Ghost Recon Breakpoint executive producer Nouredine Abboud below.
"While Auroa is a fictional location, it has real world inspirations. The ambition of the team was to combine realism with a bit of the fantastical when building the game world. Auroa is heavily inspired by islands in the Pacific Ocean and their dramatic terrain, which we used to create a dynamic new world to explore."
Breakpoint represents a shift away from Wildlands and its more realistic tone, moving away to a fictional setting and introducing all the Skell Tech AI-related elements- was it a conscious decision to veer more into fiction territory?
While Auroa is a fictional location, it has real world inspirations. The ambition of the team was to combine realism with a bit of the fantastical when building the game world. Auroa is heavily inspired by islands in the Pacific Ocean and their dramatic terrain, which we used to create a dynamic new world to explore.
Building this world also gave us the opportunity to create something entirely unique, in which Skell Technology’s high-tech buildings create a stark contrast with the untamed nature of the island. Also, creating a fictional location allows us the flexibility to grow and expand the archipelago with post-launch content.
With things such as character classes and loot, it definitely feels like Ghost Recon is leaning into RPG mechanics quite a bit, similar to something like The Division. How heavily does the game emphasize those elements- is it still very much an action title with RPG elements, or are those elements an integral part of the playing experience?
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a skill-based military shooter – this is the core identity upon which the rest of the game has been built. All of the player customization elements included in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint are there to add depth to the military shooter gameplay, while staying true to the spec ops experience.
Our vision is to create a system that encourages players to try out different types of weapons and create a large amount of variety when it comes to gameplay opportunities. Freedom of choice is tantamount to the Ghost Recon experience, and we hope players will see how that is reflected in the new features of the game!
How big is the open world this time around, and most importantly, how dense will it compared to Wildlands?
The main island of Auroa is, by itself, about as big as our recreation of Bolivia in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. But we have made a special focus on making sure the world feels more populated and denser than before, through many different camps, settlements and wild locations, but as well through the activities of the characters of the world. Additionally, Auroa is a living world that will grow, new islands will become available to explore as post-launch content comes to the game.
Can you tell us about the game’s progression system?
Ghost Recon Breakpoint offers players Shared Progression and one of the most important additions is that players will be able to create and customize their Ghost, keeping their gear, skills and weapons for the entire experience, through PVE and PVP, which is included at launch.
The main story of the game can be played entirely in solo and co-op, with the same system of shared progression as in Wildlands: players will never lose their progression in the game and will progress all together.
"In Ghost Recon Breakpoint, we have introduced new military survival features that will deepen the stealth experience for the players."
What improvements have you made to the game’s combat?
The team got great feedback from the community on the combat system introduced in Ghost Recon Wildlands, allowing players to switch seamlessly between third person and first person shooting at the push of a button. We made sure to build on this foundation and improve the sensations through sound, animations and weapon diversity and impact.
The injury system also adds a new layer on top of the combat, requiring players to be careful of their condition and strategize their next move based on their current state!
What improvements have you made to the game’s tactical and stealth elements?
In Ghost Recon Breakpoint, we have introduced new military survival features that will deepen the stealth experience for the players. The Prone Camo, for instance, allows players to blend in with the environment and hide in their surroundings on multiple surfaces, such as mud, snow or sand.
The ability to carry bodies is another feature with great impact on the stealth gameplay, as players will be able to move their enemies around to avoid detection, or get their friends to safety before reviving them.
Finally, new specialization classes allow players to fine-tune their gameplay to their liking.
How emphasized are the survival mechanics going to be in Breakpoint?
With Ghost Recon Breakpoint, we want to provide a fresh and exciting military experience to our players. You are stranded behind enemy lines and with your new military skills, including prone camo, the bivouac, carry buddy, the injury system, terrain adaptation and new classes.
Players will still be able to select their difficulty level at any time during their experience, which will impact the severity of the survival mechanics, including health regeneration and injury impact, for example.
It definitely feels like Breakpoint is a game best played co-operatively, but for those who’re looking for a solo experience, would they be missing out on things if they choose to play solo?
A lot of work is being done by our design team to make sure that players can enjoy their experience in Ghost Recon Breakpoint no matter how they play: solo or in co-op. Just like in Ghost Recon Wildlands, we have various difficulty sliders that allow us to fine-tune gameplay for that purpose.
We are also happy to report that AI Teammates will be available in Ghost Recon Breakpoint during post-launch!
Breakpoint doesn’t give you AI companions when playing solo, but instead gives you a companion drone- can you speak about why this is the case? How much does it affect the moment-to-moment playing experience?
The SyncShot drone is a feature that can be used both in Solo and Co-Op, providing new opportunities for every type of players. The adventure and the gameplay have been tuned to ensure that the experience feels fair and fun no matter how you play, and several elements of the game are adjusted depending on how players approach the game.
"Following the feedback the team got on Ghost Recon Wildlands, we saw that the community wanted to face strong challenges throughout the post-launch content for the game."
How expansive are the dialogue choices in the game? Do they have any impact on the narrative and the way it plays out?
The dialog choices in Breakpoint are there to create a deeper bond between the player and their character, allowing them to roleplay the answer that fits their personality best. The different choices do not have an extended impact on the narrative however, outside of the cut scenes in which they are made.
Given the addition of raids, it looks like you plan on supporting Breakpoint following its launch for some time- what kind of content can we expect to see on that front? How substantial is it going to be?
We have already announced our plans for Episode 1, starting from launch and including the very first Raid in a Ghost Recon game, as well as a special Live Event featuring the one and only Terminator!
This is only the beginning though, as we have 2 more episodes coming to Ghost Recon Breakpoint during Year 1, each with new story content to discover, PVP updates to play, and new exciting partnerships to discover.
Speaking of raids, what led to the decision to add raids to a Ghost Recon game?
Following the feedback the team got on Ghost Recon Wildlands, we saw that the community wanted to face strong challenges throughout the post-launch content for the game. Featuring a Raid is a natural answer to that expectation, and we’re very excited to see players’ reactions to it when it goes live.
Will you support matchmaking for raids?
We will have more information to share about this topic at a later date.