In depth on weapons authenticity with the Lead Game Designer

09/10/2015 06:00 PM

The weapons in Ghost Recon Wildlands are some of the most important pieces of the overall puzzle. Today we are excited to share with you an interview with Dominic Butler, Lead Game Designer for Ghost Recon Wildlands. He gives us some insight into the process that went into making sure that the weapons in game are as authentic as possible.


Introduce yourself! Let us know a little about you and the work you do on Ghost Recon Wildlands.

Dominic: Hi, my name is Dominic Butler and I am the Lead Game Designer on Ghost Recon Wildlands. I manage a team of designers here in Paris as well as managing the design topics in our partner studios in Romania, Italy and the UK. Working closely with all the other departments (Programming, Art, Animation, Sound, etc.), our job is to "bring to life" the vision outlined by our Creative Directors.

When you were researching the weapons that would be featured in Ghost Recon Wildlands, what were you looking for in terms of weapons the Ghosts would use? The Cartel?

Dominic: Ghost Recon Wildlands is the latest in a long line of Ghost Recon games and a big part of that heritage is authenticity. Our fans have come to expect this from the Tom Clancy franchise and this game is no different. As such, we and Ubi Authenticity (out of Red Storm Entertainment in the US) have worked long and hard with authenticity advisors to ensure not only that the weapons look and feel appropriate, but also that they are relevant to time and geographical constraints. For example, our game is set in Bolivia a few years from now – this means that we collected the real data about the kind of weaponry available to local militia/police forces as well as those favored by Mexican drug cartels. When we add to this the fact that our weapons are customizable with real (market available) parts and upgrades, this lets us offer players the chance to adapt their weapons to further support their playstyle.
In terms of weapons an Army Special Operations team like the Ghosts would use, we have a choice selection of guns used by the US military but it's important to remember - the Ghosts are the best in their class, they are trained to use any weapon they find as if it were their first choice.

When designing the ballistics for Ghost Recon Wildlands, how did your research with actual firearms impact the choices you made?

Dominic: Again we begin this process from the point of view of authenticity. The real challenge for us on the topic of ballistics is where we set ourselves in the realism spectrum. We have tons of real world data already collected (for our previous titles) and an engine that can accurately simulate this, the next step was to see how far we wanted to take it. Ghost Recon has a huge, loyal fanbase who regularly give us feedback on what they want to see from their combat experience in game and it was using this and our own data that we set our ballistics to be accurate without being overly punishing. Players want to feel meaningful differences between weapons (even in the same class) and so we have stayed true to the brand and have a system that is much closer to simulation than arcade while making sure players are not spending too much time managing their firearms. This informed our ballistics models e.g. realistic propulsion, bullet drop-off, etc. and as a consequence things like engagement distances, effective ranges, and our damage models. This has ensured that the game is quickly accessible and that choices and trade-offs are made based on the situation the player is facing.

For more information on Authenticity, make sure to watch our video! Also, don’t forget to join in on the conversations on our Official Forums and our subreddit!

The Ghost Recon dev team


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