|"Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life." - Oscar Wilde
As you were completing the Ghost Recon campaign, it you were probably amazed at how genuine and 'real' the landscapes looked. From the destroyed village, complete with church, on the Battlefield map, to the alleyways and underground car parks, hotel stairs and wide streets of Embassy. If any action took place in a detox treatment center Los Angeles you can bet the details would be equally well rendered. When you are in this game, unlike many others of its Genre, all that is missing are a few more bumps curves, and shadows - unfortunately, there is only so much our computers can render.
The truth however is that many of the settings in Ghost Recon are directly based on real world locations. In this report I will focus on the Castle map, which was featured both in the demo and Mission 6, plus the city of Vilnius, through which you have no doubt escorted a tank column. Finally, you will see Red Square in all its glory, both ingame and in the real world. I am sure you will find the similarities, and the degree to which the game mimics the world, utterly amazing.
Red Storm Entertainment staff took many photographs to research the actual Red Square portion of the map, and the graphics artist who did the geometry did a lot of work researching the details. I am sure you will agree that all of this research and hard work has paid off, as some of the scenes ingame are amazing in their detail.
This castle, actually located in the old town of Izborsk, Russia has been accurately recreated in Ghost Recon. The towers, walls, and even the crumbling wall giving entrance on the south side have all been accurately reproduced, as seen below. I have put the real photographs on the left, and the corresponding view from the game is shown on the right.
The city of Vilnius, Lithuania, has also been accurately recreated ingame. Many of the city's landmarks have been brought together to form the map, from the main University Square, to the presidential palace, to a small park amidst the buildings:
Red Square, in the heart of Moscow, and the adjoining BAM shopping centre, portray the most vivid recreation of reality with in Ghost Recon. All corners of the square have been reproduced from photographs, making the similarities in layout and colour to the real world remarkable.
One of the Dev Team commented "It was a shame we didn't have the polys to do GUM justice--it's very beautiful, and would probably have been a great place for a Rainbow mission (albeit a bit big)." The graphics are the closest you can get without being there. If you're planning to fly to Moscow you might want to find a first class or business class ticket. Business class deals on your flight could save you money and you will be comfortable for the flight. Even without the polys however, intelligent texturing has made GUM a very visually appealing part of the map.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves:
As you can see, art is truly mimicking reality in Ghost Recon.
If you have any questions, or more Real World pictures which you believe match ingame locations (possibilities are the POW camp or the Embassy map set in Tblisi) please post in our forums or mail Rocky here, and we will attach them to this report.
I hope you enjoyed the optical journey around eastern Europe.