Ghost Recon Wildlands open world literally blew my mind when I first saw it at E3. The graphics alone are something to drool over. I don’t know about you but my first impression of Wildlands was a mix of Grand Theft Auto and Rainbow Six.
Game development isn’t easy and when creating a massive open-world like the one we saw in Ghost Recon: Wildlands, the effort is almost quadrupled. Ubisoft is one of the renowned developers we have in our industry and it understands that such games at this scale can’t be created by sitting behind a computer for 2-3 years.
If you do that, it could impact impression in a very negative way, and impression is key. Ubisoft VP of Editorial Tommy Francois explained the process of creating an impressive open world.
It needs to start with our own immersion. How do we do this? We go smell the grass. We have to get out from behind our computers.
Francois presented the example of Far Cry 4. He explained that visiting Nepal helped the team get a better grip on its culture, people, environment. Their experiences translated into the beautiful environment of Kyrat.
Similar attention also went into creating The Division and its representation of New York City. Central Park, underground routes, helped them get the finer details right to develop an immersive and accurate portrayal of New York.
So when creating Ghost Recon Wildlands Open world, they made sure they get the details right to avoid “cultural snafus.” Wildlands is set in Bolivia where you will take control of a team of elite soldiers. Ubisoft sent a team to Bolivia and in addition to understanding their culture, they trained with “an elite unit in the Bolivian army.”
The training session lasted for a week in Bolivian jungle. Nerds carrying actual firearm? I wouldn’t want to be around for that. Ubisoft’s team participated in burning cocaine labs and understood the relevance of cocoa leaf in Bolivia.