Ghost Recon Frontline Should Build on The Division’s Dark Zone

Ghost Recon Frontline Should Build on The Division’s Dark Zone

With the recent news that Ubisoft has decided to postpone the closed test for Ghost Recon Frontline, fans will be hoping feedback is trickling back to the developer following the game announcement.

Rumours are circling that negative feedback received following this announcement contributed to the development team holding off on a closed test.

I, for one, am hoping this causes the devs to take a look at the market and the impact they’re looking for this entry into the Tom Clancy universe to have.

A Battle Royale of Battle Royales

The battle royale genre has become an all too quickly crowded space. Competitors are constantly jostling for the attention of the community whilst trying to add new twists.

However, it seems like Ghost Recon Frontline is just jumping into an area that is all too familiar. And with not enough of their own lauded gameplay elements along for the ride.

Going first-person seems like they’re abandoning a somewhat-overlooked battle royale genre convention but is ripe for the Ubisoft formula. That is, of course, if they can get it right.

I’m talking about adapting the fantastic Dark Zone from The Division series and incorporating this into a battle royale setting.

The Dark Zone Effect

Ignoring the Dark Zone feels like Ubisoft overlooking one of its own strengths. There isn’t yet – to my knowledge – a battle royale using third-person cover gameplay. Correct me if I’m wrong, please.

True tactical third-person cover gameplay, akin to the Survival game mode from the original Division, where the contaminated cloud closes in on a wintery New York with NPC enemies, in a full PvPvE battle royale. Is this not, at least, carving their own niche rather than a half-hearted FPS?

You could consider the bare bones already there, thanks to Survival and, to a degree, the Summit. Perhaps the only way for me to state my case properly is to outline what they have and what they can alter.

In the trailer for Ghost Recon Frontline, they show objective-based gameplay that could easily be adapted into another setting, and possibly even the ability to aim in first person which was implemented in Wildlands and Breakpoint.

It just seems an odd choice. A choice that they should just use a first-person view when none of their recent games ended up sticking to this formula. Maybe one made by an executive rather than a developer.

It can be difficult trying to pick out differences between this and Call of Duty: Warzone. And I’ve watched the trailer a couple of times. It feels reskinned and lazy. Lazy in a way that doesn’t show off what Ubisoft and its dev teams actually do best.

YouTube player

What Survival Taught Us

When the Survival DLC was introduced, it really felt like the combination of true survival mechanics in a compressed space. However, it has been shipped out in a shorter game time than contemporaries like Rust or Arma.

Players are dropped into a blizzard-covered version of the game’s map. This new version of the map features altered areas, and players are dropped without any equipment. As such, players are tasked with finding clothes to keep warm, food and drink to sustain them, and weapons and armour to defend themselves. To make matters more interesting, you can use these newfound items to take on rival players or AI-controlled factions.

By stripping players of all their hard-earned gear, it reset everyone back to an even start. The only advantage one can have is a player’s ability to scavenge and their decision-making skills.

Before everyone starts shouting at me about The Division Heartland, that is looking to be a full survival experience and not battle royale related. (Though leaked rumours reference a game mode called “Storm” which could be a PvPvE experience).

This was another strange decision as it is essentially splitting modes into separate titles within the Tom Clancy universe. A more concise idea could have been to keep them all within a central hub area. The hub area could be outfitted with modes selected within one downloadable game.

Credit: Ubisoft

But back to Survival, like Ghost Recon Frontline, you were tasked with extraction via helicopter.

First, though, you had to craft the flare gun needed to call it in or steal a seat in a helicopter called in by another agent with four spots available.

Not forgetting the deadly Hunters that roam the Dark Zone, AI-controlled imitations of player agents, adding a PvP/boss like twist to encountering them.

Implementing The Divisions technology, i.e. seeker mines, turrets, and support stations may be tricky but there’s always space to try and adjust their impact so there is no clear meta.

There is so much to unpack here that was essentially ditched from The Division 2, in favour of trying differing game modes and new ideas, with some not having the same effect or offering this type of gameplay.

That’s the end of my waffling, though. I am hungry, and waffles would be great right now.

Credit: Ubisoft

Less Waffle More Conclusions

In summary, I’m hoping this delay is more of a rethink and rebuild with Ubisoft playing to its strengths, instead of copying its mate’s homework and changing the name because Ubisoft hasn’t really revised enough to pass.

Picture it [*raising my hands up, whilst staring into the distance*]:
The original NYC Dark Zone in winter, with Survival and battle royale elements combining to make something unique, filling my need for a third person cover shooter with real tactical gameplay, as opposed to watching people running around with a MAC-10 jumping and sliding *massive eye roll*.
Picture a cloud of the Green Poison rolling in, pushing everyone to the randomly chosen extraction zone, incorporating vertical traversal of the buildings in a sprawling desolate city, adding more options to make your way through the ruins and adding a different element to firefights.
All of which culminates in players trying to be extracted under fire from enemy teams and Hunters, with only one team being able to use the flare gun and grab those four seats on the chopper unless another squad swoops in.
End pitch.

More than likely, Ghost Recon Frontline will barely change, and The Division Heartland might be more interesting, offering players a tweaked Division experience. But I can dream, and probably will until someone makes the game I’ve just badly described.

ABG Opinion