Ubisoft has released a new documentary styled trailer for Ghost Recon Future Soldier along with a Q&A about Future Soldier’s plot. The trailer features the team leader of the Ghosts talking about his duty as a soldier and the tactics of the Ghosts to conquer their enemies. Ghost Recon Future Soldier is out May 22 in North America, May 25th in the UK, and May 24th for the rest of the world.
Last time, it was 2014 in Mexico, where do we pick up in GRFS? What year?
That is classified information, so if I told you, I’d have to kill you 😉 Actually, we don’t talk about a specific year. Instead, we always say that Ghost Recon happens tomorrow –not the day after tomorrow – but tomorrow, with gear and tech and conflicts that are plausible to imagine. We can say that the story and missions of GRFS take place after GRAW2 and the events in Mexico, but if you’re looking to set your calendar, we can’t help you..
Will we see Scott Mitchell in GRFS?
Yes, Scott Mitchell plays a key role in the game, but he is not part of the active/playable squad. As we’ve progressed into the future, Scott’s role with the Ghosts has evolved. He’s been promoted to Major, and serves as your key source of mission briefing and intel from HQ. He’s the leader of the entire Ghost unit, but no longer in the field. With the physical demands of the Ghosts, you have a short window of active duty. You can’t be too young, or too old. However, Mitchell’s knowledge and experience are so valuable that he will always be a part of the Ghosts. He’s a legend, and you don’t just let legends walk away.
Any connection to other Clancy titles (ex: GRAW/HAWX/End War)?
We’ve never wanted people to feel like they had to play every moment of every Clancy game to understand any of them (though it would be great if they did J ) And no, there’s no big, formal link between the games, but if you look closely, you might see a few connections. As to whether we’re building something bigger, well, time will tell…
Can we expect any other cameos from the past?
Not beyond the presence of Scott Mitchell. We’re starting fresh with a new group of Ghosts, who are going to make their own legends.
How are the Ghosts different from other soldiers you’d find in other games?
These are not your average soldiers. In other games you may see a lot of “America Saves the Day” or “heroes” going in guns blazing into battle. The Ghosts are modelled after real-world Spec Ops, but we gave them the technology and weapons of the near future. As with DEVGRU or Delta Force, selection is based on rigorous testing which puts more focus on mental abilities and toughness than physical (although the physical bar is quite high). Very few soldiers are selected, so it’s a great opportunity for players to see how the most elite soldiers operate rather than just getting the Hollywood version of the story. We think the “Ghost” name is perfect for this type of soldier’s approach, as they would prefer that their mission is completed with nobody noticing. Generally, this elite group of soldiers likes to blend in, quietly take in their surroundings and learn about the people and situations they have come into contact with. To do this they use well-honed language skills and regional cultural training, so they can act like something other than a normal heavy-handed American. They are soldiers with a well-developed sense of proportionality, knowing just how much energy to apply to a given situation, and exactly when to do so.
What will we learn about this group of Ghosts?
We want to tell the story behind the monocle, to show how these guys are different. It’s actually a chance for us to tell a story of the guys we’ve worked with and admired in the Special Forces. If you’ve ever met someone or have a family member in the Special Forces or the SEALs, you know they are different from most people, both physically and mentally. That said, they’re not all clones, and they’re maybe not what you’d expect. Spec Ops warriors can include a wide range of personalities and background, which is something we’ve tried to show with the Ghosts. First off, these guys are smart and not afraid to speak their mind. They want to get the job done and get it done efficiently. At the same time, they know how to have fun, pull pranks, and joke around with each other. I can guarantee you that a night out with real operators is an entertaining one, and that’s what we’ve tried to capture with the Ghosts. That said, these guys want to be Ghosts, and this is what they were born to do. It’s almost hard for them to function in normal society because of what they know and what they’ve seen. This is where they belong, and they’re in it together.
Do you think these guys are born a certain way or is it all in the training?
While the training is elite and very important, I really do think that some of it is how you are wired. The testing that you go through is intense and exhaustive; some soldiers just can’t pass whether it be the physical or mental part. One Delta Force operator once commented “We can train anyone to fight the way we fight. But we can’t teach you to think the way we think.” He was talking about how they found recruits from all different disciplines, not just from infantry, and that mindset, adaptability, and innovative thinking are more important than how well you can pull a trigger. If you think about that, it really sums up what we’re going for with the Ghosts, that these guys can come from anywhere and what really matters is how they’re wired. So, no, not everyone could be a Ghost!
What is the conflict that the Ghosts must resolve?
An energy crisis within Russia kicks an aggressively nationalist faction called the Raven’s Rock Druzhina into action. These guys are proud Russian nationalists, and their main goal is not international domination, but rather to restore Russia to what they see as its rightful prosperity and strength. They don’t want WW3; they want what they see as their rightful due, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes – from sponsoring brushfire wars to acts that are almost literally unthinkable – to get it. Raven’s Rock is made up of high-powered individuals from across all aspects of Russian society – petrobillionaires, military officers, mafia kingpins and more. They use their power and influence to support a clandestine “Shadow War”, projecting Russian power into oil-rich areas in order to destabilize them and allow Russian interests to take them over. While their efforts are focused on Russia, their connections extend well beyond its borders, and it’s this that inevitably brings them into conflict with the Ghosts.
What is RR’s motivation?
Raven’s Rock sees themselves as patriotic. Even their name comes from the Russian heroic tradition; Raven’s Rock was where the legendary general Alexander Nevsky anchored his troops against invaders in one of the most famous battles in the country’s history. And these people are united in their belief that Russia should move aggressively to protect its own interests. They’re used to taking what they want, and they want their country to be the same way. And as the storyline progresses, they’re willing to go further and further to achieve their goals – even if that means tipping Russia into war.
What is the connection between the film and this story?
The film is a prequel to the game. It allows us to tell a deeper story about the background of the events in GRFS, and it. It also gives us more insight into the life of the Ghosts. The story follows a group of Ghosts (some who will appear in GRFS) that are on a different mission tracking down a dangerous arms dealer who presents a nuclear threat. During this mission they discover that this man has connections to a larger smuggling ring with mysterious intentions and demands. It sets up the conflict you will be facing in GRFS in a much more engaging and dramatic way than your average cut scene.
In what ways does Raven’s Rock present a challenge to the Ghosts?
They’re smart, they’re connected, and they’re willing to go as far as they have to in order to achieve their objectives. They’re not predictable and they’re not old-school. They take calculated risks, and they’re willing to make big statements so the world will take notice of their efforts to bring Russia back to prominence. Because of their diverse backgrounds, they have access to immense resources. They’re behind major smuggling rings and can take advantage of the latest weapons, vehicles and gear. They even have access to members of an elite Russian military unit that rivals the skills and technology of the Ghosts, called the Bodark. The Bodark’s members are drawn from the top special forces operatives in the Russian military, and they’re equipped with the most advanced military technology and weaponry that the Russians have.
Why Russia at the focus in Ghost Recon Future Soldier?
When we’re creating storylines for Ghost Recon, we’re always looking to tell the story that you’d believe if you saw it on the news tomorrow. We do extensive research, and we always strive to walk the line between what actually happens out there in the world and what feels believable. (Some of the stuff we run across when we’re looking for story inspiration may be real, but there’s no way anyone would believe it. Truth really is stranger than fiction.)
So for the storyline for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, we found a lot of great inspiration in recent current events, and those kept leading us back to the idea of a resurgent Russia. Its size, its power, its renewed commitment to the military – all of these, mixed with more historical events that we could mine like the August Putsch and Cold War proxy warfare – gave us the elements of a great story. It’s easy to think, “oh, just make Russians the bad guys”, but that’s a cop-out. What we were looking to do instead was create a believable, dangerous opponent for the Ghosts – not a generic “bad guy” – and everything we looked at led us here.
So, we’re going to shoot a bunch of Russians again?
I think one thing we’re all aware of these days is that war is never a simple equation of us versus them, and the story in GRFS reflects that reality. Nobody thinks of themselves as the “bad guys”, and one of the key aspects of the GRFS storyline is its treatment of “the enemy”. A faction within Russia is using its power and influence in a dangerous way, but it doesn’t mean that All Russians are the Bad Guys, or that the enemies the Ghosts are up against are just evil cartoons. The guys on the opposite side have objectives, they have motivations, and they’re aggressively pursuing those goals, as opposed to just waking up one morning and deciding to go out there with guns for no good reason. That doesn’t mean we – or the player – might agree with what they’re doing, but it does mean that there are very specific reasons that you’re up against these specific guys, in this specific time and place, and for this specific reason.
I know it’s easy for people to just say, “oh, we’re shooting Russians again, and it’s the same old, same old”. But if you take the time to move through the campaign, I think you’ll be surprised – over why you’re fighting, who you’re up against and where, and who your allies in this struggle might be. The one thing we really tried hard to stay away from was another “America Saves The World Again” story. That’s not what the Ghosts are about.
What other locations will we visit?
It’s very much a global storyline. You’ll be moving from South America to sub-Saharan Africa, to the Arctic and the heart of Russia. . However, as game designers, we’re excited not only about the variety of global locations, but also the variety of maps you will play. In any given location you could play inside/outside, in the countryside, in a crowded city, in a small village, or in a variety of enemy bases and camps. Our goal is to make sure that the play environment will change frequently, whether we’re giving you new terrain, new places to explore, or even new weather.
Tell me about interactions with civilians/NPCs?
War doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It touches civilian populations, whether directly or indirectly, and glossing over that really does a disservice to our subject matter. And that especially holds true for operators like the Ghosts, who aren’t on the big battlefields, but who are behind the lines and often going into what are civilian environments to get the job done. As a result the campaign, both from a story standpoint and a mission design one, frequently touches on the human elements of conflict. In several missions, the Ghosts have to carry out their missions in the midst of civilians, finding ways to accomplish their objectives without putting innocent lives in harm’s way. The Ghosts are frequently tasked with recovering people, whether they are friend, foe, or a mix of both. Sometimes the team has to rely on civilians who are willing to help them even at great risk to themselves.
Are the missions based on real life?
We’ve always tried to show respect for the real-world operations done by the guys who have inspired the Ghosts. The truer to that experience that we can make the game, the better. So while we may not have pulled missions directly from real life, we hope that what we’re presenting is true to the spirit and the letter of the way the real world operations play out.
Tell me about your intentions with creating this new group of Ghosts?
We really wanted to capture the sense of the Ghosts as a cohesive unit, and to give players a glimpse of what it might be like to be part of a highly-skilled team that’s been through the best and the worst of war and life together. Since you can play the campaign online with 3 friends, each of the 4 characters is equally important. And we wanted to make sure that we developed characters that weren’t just stereotypes, clones, or reduced to the role of whatever weapon they happened to be carrying. Bringing in new characters gave us the chance to start fresh with players.
We’re also very fortunate to have a group of advisors that volunteer their time to help us get a better understanding of what it’s like to live the life of a special operator. One of our top goals was to honour the men and women who do the business for real, and to create characters that represent the high quality of character that we continually see in our advisors, characters that a real-deal operator could see and think, “Yeah, I could see that guy being in my unit.”
How is this group of soldiers different from soldiers you might find in other games?
A lot of games seem to either treat their soldiers as over-the-top caricatures, or as emotionless super-soldiers who do whatever their told without ever wondering why. The Ghosts are neither. They are elite soldiers with elite tools and technology. They work as a team and these guys don’t just shoot randomly, they make every shot count. For example, the “Tag ‘em and Bag ‘em” feature demonstrates the elite abilities and intel-gathering to focus on “targets” and execute single synchronized shots. Additionally, throughout the campaign, you’ll see how the Ghosts drive the action of the story and how they’re often the ones deciding how they’re going to get the job done. What they do in one mission sets the stage for the next – and causes their enemies to react. They have an impact on the world. And more than that, you’ll get to see them out of combat, and get a glimpse of their humanity.
The other big differentiator is that we consider the unit to be as much of a character as any one of the Ghosts. Often other games have one hero, with a lot of supporting cannon fodder. In GRFS, any of the Ghosts could be the star, and it’s how these guys work together that makes them so unique.
Do they know each other well, or are they a newly formed group?
Three of the Ghosts have been working together for a long time. Only Kozak is new to the unit, but he’s anything but a rookie. No one gets to be a Ghost by mistake, and the rest of the squad accepts Kozak as one of their own, even if he doesn’t have all the shared stories yet. There’s going to be plenty of time for them to make new ones together.
What is it like for Kozak, the newest member of the team?
Kozak is highly-capable and battle-tested, but he still has to find his place in the team. He knows he doesn’t have to prove himself; he earned the insignia, and that proves everything it needs to. But he doesn’t have the same easy camaraderie that comes with having been through hell and back together like the others do.
Describe the dynamic of how they work together.
They’re all 100% Ghosts; smart, highly-skilled, professional. But they’re not clones. They’ve all got different ways of doing things, and none of them are afraid to express their opinion. They might disagree on how to get something done, but all of their arguing happens before the mission. Once the job starts, they act as one, no questions asked. Captain Ferguson is Ghost Lead and his authority is utterly respected, but he knows the quality of his men and isn’t afraid to let one of them take point if the situation calls for it.
How is the story told in the game?
We use multiple avenues to tell the story, through a mix of mission briefings, cinematics, and scripted action sequences. But the best way to stay engaged with the storyline is to be part of the squad and listen to what the Ghosts have to say. None of them are afraid to speak what’s on their mind, and you can pick up a lot of insight from how the guys feel about what they’re doing and why.
Do you expect this group to be around for a while?
We certainly hope so, but given the extremely demanding lifestyle and the high-risk missions that the Ghosts undertake, it’s hard to know what might happen. And of course, we’ll have to see how the fans respond to the team.