Ghost Recon 2 Xbox Interview
Interview : Christian Allen
GR2 Game Designer
Red Storm Entertainment
The staff of Ghostrecon.net wish to extend their appreciation and thanks to Christian Allen for sitting down and answering a few question for us. Taking the time out to answer the questions of the hardcore Ghost Recon fanbase shows some of the commitment Red Storm have towards making Ghost Recon 2 a success and we thank them for their efforts!
Q: Will there be any sort of map that
we will be able to pull up since commands are now done on
A: Yes. We have what we call the “Reference
Map”, which is used for, well, reference. Because commands
are given in-action, there is no need to bring it up to order
your teammates, so it is mainly to keep you aware of where
you are, and to help you formulate plans of attack on objectives.
We have also implemented a grid system on the reference map,
to help with team communication for multiplayer by providing
a standard location reference.
Q: Will ballistics be modeled allowing
a damage system based on the caliber of the round?
A: Yes, each round has a set amount of energy
that is used to determine the lethality of the shot. Each
weapon is calculated individually, so that allows us to adjust
the muzzle velocity, based on the barrel length and other
Q: Can you pick up/swap any piece of
equipment, or just primary weapons? Can you pick up a fallen
teammates weapon, or just enemies?
A: You swap out your primary and secondary
weapon when you do pickups. You can pick up teammates weapons.
Q: Due to the limited amount of soldiers,
do dead ones come back to life for the next mission?
A: We consider downed soldiers as “incapacitated,”
and they will return later in the campaign, though not for
the next mission (there is a period of recuperation). This
was mainly a resource issue, as otherwise you could end up
with a team of “generic” soldiers after the second
mission. This allows us to add much more personality to the
characters in the game, as well as concentrate a lot more
on making the Ghosts more detailed then they have ever been.
Q: How much realism is the Dev team
A: As much as we can, as long as the gameplay
is still fun (it may be fun to break your ankle in a gopher
hole, but it doesn’t make for good gameplay). We focused
a lot on the little details, from how you can clamber over
small obstacles, to the Ghosts wearing the appropriate gear
for their role. The new combat model for the AI also adds
a lot to the realism, as enemy soldiers now engage you realistically
based on their training. There is a big gap in how effective
they are compared to you and your Ghosts (until you run into
their elite troops and snipers).
Q: With the inclusion of the Havok2
physics engine will a large amount of territory (buildings,
cars, walls etc.) be destructible or will it be limited to
mission specific objects/objectives?
A: We are planning to make as many things destructible
as we can, based on performance restrictions, including several
mission specific objects like a tower, bridges, roadways,
etc. The biggest impact of Havok2 is on the characters and
vehicles in the game. When the characters transition from
their death animations and react with the environment, it
Q: With the introduction of helicopters
and cinematics in Island Thunder it was discovered that helicopters
would not work online and cinematics would crash a dedicated
server. Have these issues been fixed, and will we see helicopters
in online games?
A: That and more! Helicopters have been totally
revamped, and the new AI system our engineers developed is
awesome. Instead of vehicles (including helicopters) always
having to follow a set path, there is an engagement AI that
is simply turned on by the scripters. The vehicles can then
hunt you through the level, moving around objects and engaging
you. Helos will make strafing runs, and they pitch and yaw
realistically as they move through the space. Vehicle implementation
has come a long way, even since E3!
A: All of the weapons are modeled in the most modern way, with current red dot, holo sights, and other attachments on the rifles.
Q: How will reticules be modeled in the game?
Will Aimpoint, Holo, and or Reflex sights be modeled? The most prominent sight utilized by Special Forces, and all SOF during night operations is the AN/PEQ2A. This has never been featured in any game. Will this be modeled?
Q: Initial media has shown night vision
in the OTS mode as “full screen”. Will this be
the case for the final version? Also will NVG’s be modeled
on the characters a la RvS (i.e. when NVGs are used will they
appear on the character model)?
A: Yes, Night Vision in OTS is full screen.
We played with different implementations of this, and this
is the one that worked the best. For the night mission, the
Ghosts will be equipped with NVS equipment that you can see
on the character model.
Q: The GR1 kits were severely limited.
For example, if a player chose extra ammo, he could not have
grenades. Have the player load-outs been expanded to allow
for more items, that is, a more realistic load along the lines
of what a Special Forces Operator would carry?
A: We opened up the kit selection to give the
player more options. You now have four kit slots, which you
can fill with a Primary Weapon, Secondary Weapon, Explosives
(grenades, claymores, etc.), and a MAAWS launcher or mission
specific equipment. For each mission, we give you intelligent
defaults, so you can jump right into the action, or, if you
like, you can choose your own load out.
Q: There has been some discussion on
the GR.net boards concerning ammo counts and magazines. Will
the game track rounds left in individual magazines a la GR1,
or will the magazines always be full if there is at least
the appropriate number of rounds remaining?
A: For the Xbox version, we are displaying
the remaining ammo, and reloading tops fills out of this number.
This was mainly an interface issue, to keep things clean and
simple. Our goal was to focus you on the action, not the ammo
Q: Is friendly fire on in Single Play? Some recent titles in the name of action have removed this, arguably to the detriment of the game.
A: Definitely. Fire discipline is part of the real world, and making your troops immune to your fire would only encourage players to shoot indiscriminately in an unrealistic fashion.
Q: Will there be random mission incidents
in the game? An example is one time the player makes his way
to a position to call an air strike and the support rolls
in and hits the target. The second time in the same mission,
the supporting air is downed by anti-aircraft fire and the
player must utilize alternative means to destroy the target?
A: We are exploring different dynamic objectives
and random elements in missions. We want to add replayability,
without ruining the learning curve too much.
Q: Will flashbangs, claymores, smoke
grenades etc. be modeled in the game?
A: Right now we have grenades, claymores, and
satchel charges. Flashbangs were not found to be useful in
the GR2 outdoor settings, and smoke grenades were not included
for performance issues (especially in MP).
Q: When attending to wounds, to what
degree is healing provided in the game?
A: The Medic system enables you to get a soldier
back up from near death into fighting condition. Their aim,
etc., is still affected by the wound, but it keeps them from
dying (if medic is not performed, the soldier will bleed out
and you will lose him from the mission).
Q: Will the PAS-13 Heavy or PAS 13 Light
Thermal Scopes be modeled in the game? If so will they represent
a realistic picture (black and white) rather than the Hollywood
Predator vision model normally seen in titles like R63 and
A: We decided to stick to standard EVNG night
vision for the game, rather than try and wedge every possible
vision mode in.
Q: Will proper unit designation of the Ghosts be portrayed?
A: We chose to go a little more generic with the unit designation of the Ghosts, they are portrayed as an element of the 5th SOG. We did not want to choose a very specific unit, as we did not feel that would be appropriate.
Q: Are there plans for uniform selection
in either MP or SP?
A: In MP there is a planned uniform selection
system where the server can choose uniform “sets”,
and then the players can choose from within that set.
Q: Is there a possibility of weapons
jams for both the player as well as friendly and enemy NPCs?
A: It is in there for the enemy NPC’s,
we call it a weapon “fumble”. Every once and a
while, you can see one of the regular army enemies have a
weapon jam and move to clear his weapon. We decided for gameplay
reasons not to cause weapon jams for the player.
With each new thing we learn about Ghost Recon
looks more and more like Red Storm has stayed true to its
roots. Thanks again to Christian Allen for the interview.
Also thanks to Sartillies,
HatchetForce, NYR and various GhostRecon.net
Forum members for putting this list of questions together for the interview!