Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter marks the first, full return of Ubisoft's squad-based tactical shooter series to PC since the original Ghost Recon game graced the platform back in 2001. It's been a long, long wait for PC gamers who, expansions aside, have had to wallow in misery while watching console platforms being exclusively embraced by the GR love, but finally the situation has been remedied. Ubisoft's PC version of GRAW is currently undergoing last-minute briefing in preparation for its imminent May operation.
GRAW is set in the near-future with everyone's favourite elite Special Forces squad - apart from Team Rainbow - sent into Mexico City to regain control of a metropolis in upheaval. You get to play squad leader Captain Scott Mitchell and lead the Ghosts and Special Forces allies on operations that involve recovering stolen nuclear codes, eliminating renegade soldiers as saving the President of the US of A. Handily, the team is backed up by the kick-ass Integrated Warfighter System (IWS), military technology that integrates an advance weapons system with satellite communication devices and enhanced survivability. IWS transforms an individual soldier into lethal killing machine and it's given to the Ghosts to put this new tech to the test on the battlefield.
Ubisoft has constantly assured the PC gaming fraternity that it's taken pains to ensure that the PC version of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter is tailored specifically to the platform, promising the likes of greater tactical depth - in comparison to GRAW on console - which will appeal to the more hardcore audience. Great stuff, we're sure that audience will agree, and to discover more about GRAW PC we interrogated the game's producer and military expert Bo Andersson. So, erm, over to Mr. Andersson...
You said that the PC version was more tactically deep with the control of individual players - is there any way it's more tactically involving?
Bo Andersson: The enemies are more vicious - they work in groups, and they work dynamically - so if you change the environment, like if you blow up a gas tank or move a car, they'll recognise this and change their tactical approach. So they'll use covers, sit as tight as possible, lean out, and if you shoot at them, they'll pull away.
Any other key differences?
Bo Andersson: The sizes of the world - it's two to three times as big as the [Xbox] 360 version.
Still just in Mexico City, though?
Bo Andersson: Yes, but bigger. What we did is, we gave you the opportunity to approach an objective in several different ways. Like, a roadblock - you don't have to just one way to solve it. You have blocks of the city, and objectives in these blocks where it's up to you how to solve it.
Co-op mode - how many people does it support?
Bo Andersson: The full squad, four players. You don't play through special maps - you can play through the full single-player campaign as a squad with your friends.
It was hinted at that there might be a development kit - will there be the option for players to make their own maps and mods?
Bo Andersson: There's an editor, and yes, we're going to open up a few XMLs for mods.
What would you say your favourite game feature in GRAW is?
Bo Andersson: I like the tactical map. It's a satellite view that lets you see the whole battlefield in 3D. So it's not a drawn map, it's the real thing. You can zoom in and out, and see your team in the area. It makes a great spying tool, and you can set up flags and chain orders. So if you want to plan an ambush, or retreat, you can move your guys around and set them up with cover or attack orders.
Finally, what's been your favourite moment in the game?
Bo Andersson: The general one, where you actually sneak up on an enemy, he recognises you, and you can send your team mates around individually to flank him. They come in around the sides, and you squeeze the guy out of cover. It's great that I'm able to use those kind of tactics without them being scripted, and having the genuine feeling of commanding a small unit.
You have the ability to trust your team mates - usually you have to baby sit your squad members, but finally you can trust them.