I was going to make another post making the case for Ubisoft to seriously consider a remaster of Ghost Recon and Ghost Recon 2, but I think it would be fitting to reply here. I'm going to try and not get on to random rambles about different things in the games industry but there is a point nevertheless.
I don't necessarily think Ubisoft is incapable, I think that may be a bit strong. However, I'm not going to sit here and defend them. Ubisoft has peaks and trophs of being in the limelight for the right reasons, and being in the limelight for the wrong reasons.
They're now in that troph, with the overwhelming failure of Breakpoint, and with the accusations of rampant sexisim being levied against them. It's a personal opinion here, and I'm not expecting Ubisoft to take any of my word for it. But it seems they're in the same rut they were in after GR:FS didn't do so great. They did the right thing there and walked away for a few years to knuckle down. We god Wildlands which was so close in a lot of ways.
I thing VG24/7 hit the nail on the head here by affirming that the Ghost Recon franchise has a fundamental identity problem. Ubisoft seems to love saying 'We're taking the game back to its roots' but most of the time its little more than a reference in dialogue (See: every name drop in GRFS). It seems almost as if there is a fundamental trauma, almost, preventing Ubi actually taking the Clancyverse back to what it used to be. And to that, Ubisoft, I say, we're not stupid, we're not buying the 'back to roots' story anymore.
As I, and the rest of this community who have pitched in their ideas in the Story thread I have up here at the moment. There is also a fundamental issue with the storyline, it's less a line and more of a scribble. Which is most likely directly feeding into that identity problem. how are you supposed to know the identity of the game you're developing if you haven't built the foundational lore?
So Ghost Recon has an identity crisis. How do they solve that? Doubling down on the path they're on isn't the answer.
I know what I'm about to say is not alike in any sense, but some things can be pulled from the experience nevertheless. 2018 was a really rough year for me, I was for all intents and purposes pretty broken as a person and I was dealing with a mound of repressed memories and pretty severe trauma, it was one of the lowest points in my life. My boss, a very wise and respected man, told me, the best thing to do to start myself onto the track of wellness was to go 'back to basics.' Do the most basic things just to keep yourself going. Find what makes you tick and go from there. It wasn't a magic wand that fixed everything. But it helped me pick myself up and move onto a path of managing it.
Ubisoft needs to do the same. Slow the hell down, get the finger back on the pulse, and patch the wounds.
There's been a recent resurgence in the tactical shooter genre, Squad, Insurgency, Ground Branch, Arma (even though it's technically a military sandbox), hell even CoD:MW2019 had hardcore modes that fans absolutely loved and kicked off when it was removed temporarily.
There's also been a trend for the past few years of remastering and rebooting. And they seem to have done this relatively smoothly with Assassin's Creed already. I mean, hell, look at TES:V, how many times has it been remastered and re-released now? and this, this right here sets the precedent. Why are Bethesda re-releasing and remastering TES:V?
They're biding their time. Massively open world games like the Elder Scrolls series are not easy nor quick to make. Ubisoft knows this. It's common knowledge that Skyrim's engine is as old as time itself at this point. But we know TES:VI is coming and has probably been in development for a very long time.
So, Ubisoft are sitting on a gold mine here. They would be blind to not see the influence Ghost Recon 1 has had on games such as Ground Branch, especially seeing as Ghost Recon's own lead artist is project lead and a Ghost Recon 1 modder worked on the game for 3 years. Arma has been a hotspot for former Ghost Recon 1 lovers and fans since 2007, and Arma 3 has been their most popular title yet. I am constantly bumping into fans of Ghost Recon 1 & 2 (mostly 1 because 2 wasn't on PC) in these communities. We have conversations about anything from how Ghost Recon's gameplay was revolutionary in a majority of aspects, to how Burke has won 'best ass of Ghost Recon' for 16 years running. I'm not kidding, I have the discord conversations to prove, and this was a conversation that started long before Ghost Recon 2's release, too.
Anyway, crass humour aside here. We've established three things here. Ubisoft needs to figure out what Ghost Recon's identity is, Tactical shooters are facing a resurgence, and remastering and re-releasing games is a great way of biding your time and continuing to make money while you figure out what you're doing for the next title.
What can Ubisoft do, to bide their time, assist them with finding Ghost Recon's Identity again, and also still gain them money?
Remaster Ghost Recon, and Remaster Ghost Recon 2.
Ghost Recon 1 remastered, done right with modding, is, I'd wager, about 2 years of time bought, you have the expansion packs right there.
Ghost Recon 2 remastered, done right, on PC, with modding is a further 2, maybe 3 years.
They can do it on Unreal Engine if they're concerned about releasing tools for Anvil.
It'll allow Ubisoft to finally gauge a response as to what Ghost Recon's identity is. Rather than just saying "we're going back to the game's roots" they are. In the most literal sense possible.
Moreover, they can tap into the community of the old guard along its development. We're right here, I know if Ubisoft were to approach me and ask me for help fixing up their lore, I'd do it in a heartbeat, and I'd do it for the love of the game and the love of the players. We're a fountain of knowledge on what made this game so great and we know what can be improved upon, because we've been exposed to it for nearly 20 years now.
So, remastering Ghost Recon and Ghost Recon 2 gives them 4-5 years where they're simply going back to basics. They're not having to figure out anything extra than grafting the games onto a new engine, redoing the art (which is based off of real stuff and can probably be photogrammatrized to speed up production I will quite happily let them borrow my RAVs for this cause.) and fixing up the core gameplay features that need fixing. Boiler plating it onto unreal engine means all they have to do is incorporate modding capability and some documentation where needed. The rest of the tools are provided by Epic or external vendors (autodesk etc), no overhead there.
Within that 4-5 years of bought time they can bring in some senior members of the production team on Ghost Recon's series. They can analyze feedback from the community, even discuss with community members. Then they can discuss as a group, what the foundational identity of Ghost Recon is and work to that identity moving forward and develop a game that conforms to this vision.
Anyway I realise this is a wall of text, thank you for coming to my TED talk.