The next Ghost Recon game, Breakpoint, was revealed via a live stream last night and will be dropping on 4 October, with a private beta in the run up to release. We were able to get a closer look at the game when we attended its London-based premier.
Anyone who played 2017’s Wildlands will already be familiar with what modern Ghost Recon has become, but there are still a few notable changes here.
Levels look well put together, with weather effects really adding to the isolated aesthetic, and there's a clear graphical step up between what's already being shown of Breakpoint and the likes of Ubisoft’s recent The Division 2. Being a vertical slice of an alpha-state game, we’ll see whether the level of quality is maintained across the board come October.
There's an emphasis on survival as you battle the elements in the game’s remote island setting of Auroa, which boasts impressively muddy jungle terrain. That dirt presented opportunity to show off a new feature, dubbed “Prone Cammo”, where you lie motionless in the muck as patrolling enemies move by unawares.
During the reveal we saw the player character taking time to bandage up serious wounds, so as to not fall victim to a gameplay handicap, plus there was mention of other common survival mechanics like keeping your character fed and watered as well.
Your personal drone - which makes a return after proving very helpful in Wildlands - won't be the only surveillance technology at play in Breakpoint, since the baddies are backed by business tycoon Jace Skell, who's tech company has led to a rise in militarised drones and autonomous vehicles, some of which you'll encounter as you explore.
In a franchise first, characters subscribe to specific class archetypes, all of which include special skills, items and progression which are carried between solo, co-op and even PvP play.
In one sequence, we saw a Ghost deploy a class-specific smokescreen ability which gave them cover to revive a downed ally. There’ll be four classes at launch and more to come at a later date, so we’ll have to wait and see exactly how involved their unique specialisations prove to be.
A fair amount of melee stealth takedowns were on show, some of which involved extended hand-to-hand combat, resulting from the fact that your foes are no longer mere grunts. It’ll be interesting to see how these control, since there weren’t any visible on-screen QTE prompts.
Ubisoft apparently received and implemented a lot of community feedback during the development of Breakpoint, based on players’ experiences with Wildlands, leading to features including a more involved story and even branching dialogue options.
Not only that, but there’s also more character, weapon and vehicle customisation on offer, all of which should come in handy since it sounds like you'll need every tool at your disposal to counter the beefier enemy AI.
Finally, there was a hint at the sort of post-launch support we can expect (besides the aforementioned new classes), as four weeks after launch Breakpoint is scheduled to receive the first raid ever seen in a Ghost Recon title. It wasn’t said whether the raid add-on will be free or premium.
While we only saw some hands-off gameplay at the reveal event, Breakpoint’s Community Developer team were clearly very excited to show off what they've been working on and first impressions for those in attendance were certainly positive. Let's hope the next few months provide the team ample time to put the final polish on, without subjecting 1,000+ developers to any crippling levels of crunch.