At Ubisoft's Red Storm Entertainment offices last week, Game Rant had the opportunity to toy around with some of the features built into the Ghost Recon Network.
We first heard the team "Ghost Recon Network" when Ubisoft registered the domains back in February and today, they've officially announced the system with details on what it's all about. Think Call of Duty Elite, but where players can customize weapons and squads outside of the game.
In essence, the Ghost Recon Network is a multi-faceted system which includes the game itself, a website hub and mobile apps that all work in synchronicity, and all help add to the player experience with in-game rewards and more.
In addition to stat-tracking, leaderboards, social networking, heat maps, etc. which are coming standard with most major shooter franchises, the Ghost Recon Network promotes teamwork and lets squads adjust on the fly, outside of the game.
"Starting with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, all of the stats and in-game achievements you do will be tracked and will be part of the Ghost Recon Network. With Ghost Recon: Future Soldier we are also offering the ability to manage your squad outside of the game itself, so you'll be able promote, demote, kick members, invite new ones, see any outstanding squad invitations you have, and view all the stats and leaderboards related to them."
- Customize and share in-game weapons on the go
- Use GunSmith mobile to customize weapons down to their inner parts in 3D and sync them to consoles.
- Publish weapons to the GunSmith Gallery and browse guns posted by the Ghost Recon Network community.
- Access personal player performance on Ghost Recon: Future Soldier & upcoming Ghost Recon games and compare stats on leaderboards.
- Receive challenges, friend activity reports and community updates via the website or push notifications on smartphones and tablets.
- Download the free Ghost Recon Network app at launch to unlock additional attachment credits in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
- Earn weapons and weapon skins in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier by playing other Ghost Recon games or interacting with other Ghost Recon experiences.
- Study detailed game information and heatmaps to prepare for the next battle.
- Build and manage your squad, add recruits and search for competing squads.
- Free Mode: All weapons and attachments unlocked to view and play around.
- Edit Mode: Open character profiles from in-game and look at unlocked weapons/attachments and actually edit them through the app which will be synced up to the game.
With GunSmith representing one of the coolest and unique features shipping with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, we jumped at the opportunity to test it out on the browser and mobile devices. We had already used it extensively with controllers and Kinect on the Xbox 360, but we wondered if the same detail and experience transfer over onto touchscreens or with a mouse through the browser. The answer is yes.
GunSmith through the Ghost Recon Network comes with two modes:
Outside of the control input and how pieces are selected, the GunSmith feature, accessible anywhere through the Ghost Recon Network, is virtually identically to the in-game system. The difference is that instead of sliding through parts, players can drag their fingers across the touch screen (or holding down click while moving the mouse) and rotate the weapons to view them from any angle. Simple double-click/tap a part and you can cycle through components. It's quick and seamless and if you're in edit mode, that build will be accessible next time Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is turned on.
Customize weapons with GunSmith, designed almost identical to the in-game system with full 3D renderings of weapons and parts. This is synchronized player profiles in-game and can be accessed the next time you turn on the game. We tested GunSmith on the PC as well as a tablet and iPhone and it works smooth and looks good. The apps and website will be available upon the launch of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier in May and many of the features will be available with the Future Soldier beta on April 19th.
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An interesting bit to come from the presentation is the emphasis that all future Ghost Recon titles will make use of this network, meaning yes, more Ghost Recon titles are coming and it won't be another five-year wait.
"In addition to the stats that are going to available for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, we also have an overall profile called the 'Ghost Dossier' which will track stats from each individual game and create a cumulative profile for yourself. This profile will have what is called the 'Security Clearance' which works as a character progressions system for your progress in the Ghost Recon universe. You will be able to increase your rank on it based on titles that are associated with the network, along with earning specific medals for the dossier itself."
We also have the tour of duty map which will track your progress and the missions you've completed across all Ghost Recon titles, starting with Future Soldier. So you'll be able to look at this interactive map, pick out locations and see not only story information about that specific mission, but also your overall performance in it."
Last but not least, the Ghost Recon Network allows players to earn in-game rewards, from additional weapons, weapon skins/mods and attachment points for doing various things. There will even be some loyalty rewards for players who've played previous Ubisoft games including Splinter Cell: Conviction. Codes can be awarded for things like watching the Ghost Recon Alpha film which players may input through their profile on the Ghost Recon Network website and it'll unlock an additional gun in-game.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier releases May 22, 2012 in North America, and May 24, 2012 in Europe, for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The PC version releases June 12.
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