It's a mix between systemic and scripted because a purely systemic AI will only work 90% of the time." The AI adapts and improvises when it has to, finding its way to the next 'rail' laid down for it by a designer, which always puts it in the right place for the right situation. It's an adaptive AI but one guided by the hands of Ubisoft's team, building hundreds of ideal paths months earlier in their Parisian studios.
"And it's invisible," Couzian goes on. "For the player there are no scripted sections where you cannot control the team mates." That becomes crucial when one enemy with a LMG gets a bead on our Ghost Lead; as bullets zing off our flimsy cover the camera closes in and we're locked down until a second Ghost moves to flank and bail us out.
"We spent a lot of time on the suppression mechanic," says Oriola. "We wanted cover to be collaborative so when you're behind cover and under heavy fire, the camera moves closer to you and restricts your vision, there's a lot of shaking, your movement is impaired, your aiming not as precise. Basically you're crippled behind your cover - and you - need to rely on your team to help you escape."
Finally, two HIND helicopters present a challenge even the Ghosts can't handle, but a cruise missile is launched from a battleship off the coast. They hold their position for the minute or two the missile takes to arrive, and when it's less than a kilometre away our Ghost Lead takes manual control, guiding the shot and blowing both choppers right out of the sky.
It's an impressive demo but it's still early days, with all the glitches and handling problems you'd expect of something so young. The guns feel a little soft, the controls aren't perfectly intuitive, and game-defining features are missing. Right now the streets are deserted, but "there will be a lot of civilians throughout the world," says Couzian.
"That's something missing in GRAW1 and GRAW2 - all the streets will be crowded with people so you have to deal with the civilians. We wanted the same when we were working on GRAW, but we did not have the technology to do it. Now we've been able to create a real world.
"You won't kill civilians," he continues, "but they will break your line of fire, so if you're aiming at them and pull the trigger, you tell them to get out of the way. You'll scream 'MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! Get away!' so they're free of your line of fire. They will have their own activity - walking and trading and so on. They will live their lives, even if they are surprised to see Special Forces. And then when you shoot, they will scatter."
The campaign and its four-player co-op is developed in Paris with testing support from the HAWX team in Bucharest, while the core multiplayer mode is made in the US under the care of Clancy veterans Red Storm.
"We really want the player to cooperate in the game," says Oriola, "whether in the campaign or multiplayer. It's a main focus. The idea is to give the player the tools to co-ordinate with their friends. So for that we have a dedicated button on RB."
Hold the Mark button down you'll open a radial menu listing objective waypoints and all your team mates. Select one, and you'll be given a path directly to their location, and your intended destination is relayed to your team's own displays. "Even if you don't know the map, it's a tool to take you directly to where the action is," says Oriola. "If I'm following you using that tool, you'll know that I'm following you and you'll know I have your back or that help is on the way."
Useful intel will earn players XP just as easily as a well-aimed shot, but the AR system can be turned against your team. An EMP hit kills your entire HUD, and a close-range takedown online is a chance to hack into the opposing team's network, revealing everyone's location for thirty seconds. "It's the power play moment," says Oriola, laughing.