Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter has burned its way into our collective retinas for quite some time now and with a staggered release spread across Xbox 360, PC, PS2 and Xbox set for next month, its so close now we can almost smell the gun oil and hear the predator drones flying overhead.
Boasting some of the most eye-popping graphical candy we've seen in all our long campaigning years, GRAW as it's been affectionately acronymed is providing a welcome spearhead for the squad-based shooter and being tech lovers, it's the PC and especially Xbox 360 versions which have really got us lock 'n loading.
High time then we went on patrol with Adrian J Fernandez-Lacey (crazy name, crazeee good guy) senior co-ordinator on GRAW to learn about the subtle but significant differences between the PC and 360 versions of the game, why Mexico City provided such an appropriate and intriguing backdrop for the action and how all-action cinematic titles like Traffic provided the inspiration for the look and feel of the game... plus a first enigmatic hint on the dramatic plot twist which transforms the Ghosts' end game.
Ghosts atten'hut and report for duty!
Which new feature you've added to Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter would you say is the most groundbreaking?
Adrian J Fernandez-Lacey: I'd say the biggest new feature we've developed is the heads-up display. Basically what we've done is we've integrated the cross-com which is a real-time window on the left-hand side which allows you to see your players as well as your support units such as support drones, tanks, strikers, Apache helicopters, Blackhawks - and you see what they're seeing in real-time without actually losing what your seeing when you're playing the game. So if you're playing the game your window will come up and you're see what they're seeing in real-time and you'll be able to give them orders in that cross-com window. What we've tried to do is keep the player fully immersed at all times within the action.
Could you tell us a bit about the story behind the game??
Adrian J Fernandez-Lacey: We put a lot of time in to the story and I'll give you the brief version; basically the Ghosts are in Mexico because rebels are selling a communication device to a Mexican paramilitary group, and what happens is they realise that Mexicans are trying to hide this equipment. We've based it around that basic scenario because we want to make communication the forefront of the story in order to link in the cross-com.
At the same time in Mexico you have the Mexican president, the Canadian prime minister and the US president trying to sign a deal called the North American Joint Security Agreement. The agreement is to stop the illegal trade of communication, drugs, people - so basically trying to secure the three North American countries which Mexico is actually part of. While they're on the spot there's then a revolution while the US president is in Mexico City, while they're signing the agreement to Mexican paramilitary group attack.
So it's the Ghosts to the rescue?
Adrian J Fernandez-Lacey: You're the only team on the ground, you're the Ghosts - they're a highly trained special forces unit so it's logical that they're on the battlefield, it's not the whole American army it's a special forces unit that's on the ground. You're given orders to go and secure the president, and throughout the story you're given various objectives to secure the VIPs. You're then lead throughout Mexico City and you have to get from point A to point B, and you'll have certain objectives like 'destroy convoys' or 'take out roadblocks'. There's a real plot twist at the end but I'm not going to reveal it just like that.