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Interviews

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2

Jon Blyth slips on his BuddyCam to look through the eyes of GRAW2's designer Lars Bonde...

Did you feel the first GRAW suffered because people didn't realise it wasn't just a 360 port?

"Maybe. They could have decided to make a port for the first game, but we felt it was important to give the PC player a different experience - with different locations and different gameplay. Getting that across was a matter of communication. I talk with a lot of communities from different countries, and I'm a dedicated player of these games myself. I meet a lot of people who tell me they appreciate the unique PC version, but a lot of people who thought it was just a port. There's a superficially similar look, so if you don't end up playing both versions, it's easy to miss the differences."

Zoom

Some people had complaints about the AI of the first game. What were they, and how are you dealing with them?

"Well, first we needed a new way to create paths for the AI to use. We made sure that we had a bunch of cover-points for the AI to use, and reloaded the AI to make sure they'd utilise all of that. In the first game, they'd see a path, and if there was anything in the way, they'd just move around it. Now they really know their way around the universe; they see the points between themselves and their goal.

"Assault and Recon modes are designed to address some of the issues, too; every command you give will be treated differently, depending on what mode your squad are in. Plus, you have the BuddyCam with the CrossCom 2.0, which gives you far more direct access to the paths of your squad. You won't be just using the tactical map to plan their paths."

GRAW was set solely in Mexico City. What new locations can we expect?

"First, the big difference is that the threat has moved - it's not just on the Mexican side of the border, it's getting closer to the US. Those are different environments. It's no longer just urban environments either - we've got downtown as well as out-of-town rural areas."

I've met Bo Andersson (Grin's CEO with two years military experience) before - what other military experience did you have in making Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2?

"The atmosphere we have at Grin is really dedicated in this way. Take one of our weapons designers: he's really an ex-military guy, and he makes these exceptional models - he really cares about this stuff. And we've got Bo, as well as other ex-military people too. (Grin's first software releases were military simulators.)

"We worked quite closely with the US military too, to get some insight into the latest technology and what would be realistic. The latest weapons, the digital camo and so on. These are people who know how it all works, and how people would actually move with all this equipment on."

Zoom

The new multiplayer for GRAW2 sounds interesting - what have you done there?

"The Recon vs Assault multiplayer is special to Advanced Warfighter 2. It takes the two play modes in the single-player game and splits them into opposing teams. You have the Mexican assault team, whose speciality is their strong firepower - grenades, sub-machine guns, plus they have unlimited supplies and unlimited respawn. On the other side you have the US Recon team, who have access to all the nice features you get in the single-player. They can also tag enemies so they appear on their team-mate's display, plus they get the CrossCom and stealthy weapons too. But they don't respawn; if they die, they can only help by tagging enemies from their BuddyCam."

So this is your first game... How are you finding it?

"It's a great experience and they're a great bunch of guys. I really like the idea that people can be passionate about games and be a part of the things they love. Like me - I played Ghost Recon massively when it came out and became part of the community. Now, years later I'm here, a part of the Advanced Warfighter 2 team. It's amazing."

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