Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon®

Heroes Unleashed is a mod for the original Ghost Recon that promises to turn it into "the most hardcore military shooter simulation ever made." Developer Apex Mods began working on it in 2002 and now, in 2018, version 1.0 is finally ready to go. 

I haven't played the mod myself, so I can't comment on how successful it is in achieving its goals. But Apex Mods certainly sounds committed to the job. "The direction the series took after original Ghost Recon just saddens me, and that goes for all sequels, including the latest," he said in a Mod DB interview.   

"What had started out as the epitome of a deeply engrossing gaming experience in realistic squad-based infantry combat, has turned into a shallow slugfest of superficial Hollywood action and eye candy, all for the sake of mass market appeal, all to satisfy casual gamers with the attention span of a fruit fly." 

It's interesting to hear someone refer to Ghost Recon fans as "casual," and Apex Mods acknowledged that Heroes Unleashed can be "frustratingly difficult" at times. But that's also the source of the entertainment, as "unfettered realism paired with deliberate tactical gameplay" leads to a degree of immersion that, in their view, simply cannot be achieved through less-demanding simulations.   

That commitment to fidelity is also why it took 16 years to make the thing. The weapon simulation alone "took years worth of work hours and countless iterations," and takes into account weights, dimensions, ballistics tables, and other data for every weapon in the game. And despite the 1.0 milestone, there's apparently still more to come, as Apex Mods has "enough on my worksheet for another two decades." 

"Ghost Recon has a loyal die-hard following keeping it alive. Among tactical realism and MilSim fans the game enjoys cult status, and many consider it to be the best tactical shooter ever devised. You can always find active servers online, and there are still regular events like tournaments scheduled, although it's naturally a far cry from Ghost Recon's prime, when it dominated competitive online gaming," they said.

"Of course, I hope that Ghost Recon: Heroes Unleashed will help grow the community of true tactical shooter fans, but the tough challenge of unforgiving realism obviously isn't for everyone." 

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory® - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Tom Francis)

What Works And Why is a monthly column where Gunpoint and Heat Signature designer Tom Francis digs into the design of a game or mechanic and analyses what makes it good.>

Games about one player character against hundreds of enemies generally have to give you some kind of unfair advantage. In action games, it’s usually resilience: getting shot in Call of Duty covers you in jam for 3 seconds but leaves you otherwise unharmed, gunshots in Wolfenstein can be fixed with chicken dinners, and in Doom 2016 punching a demon feels so good it physically mends you.

Stealth games need a different solution, because the fun part is generally over by the time you get shot. That’s good – they don’t need jam vision or dinner magic. Instead they need a crutch that helps you before things get that bad. And in games about hiding from everyone, that’s usually intelligence. Information is power. To evade improbable odds, you need to know more than you reasonably should.

(more…)

PC Gamer

Ghost Recon Phantoms, the free-to-play online shooter that debuted in 2012 as Ghost Recon Online, is closing for good on December 1. The decision was made following a slow but steady decline in users over the past couple of years that left its average concurrent player count for the last 30 days at just a little over 800.

After more than four years of battles, fights, deaths and a lot of fun, we have made the difficult decision to close Ghost Recon Phantoms. It s a tough day for our studio and indeed the team, some of whom have been working on this project since its inception some 7 years ago, Ubisoft wrote in the closure announcement.

GR Phantoms has been a tremendous undertaking and we really relished the opportunity to bring to you a different take on the GR franchise. We are proud of what we have achieved but of course, a game like this would be nothing without its community. We d like to sincerely thank you for your support, enthusiasm, patience and above all, your loyalty. For the hours played, the fun in your company, the never ending deaths at Balaklava Sub-Pen, the fights to control Tomsk-9, the sounds of shotguns and the fear of the P90 SD WAR, we are grateful.

The message doesn't mention why the plug is being pulled, but Ubisoft said in the shutdown FAQ that Ghost Recon Phantoms was not as successful as we had hoped for.

A game always has different factors that influence its success, internally as well as externally. We can't pinpoint one or more reasons that easily, it says. In the end the game reached the last cycle of its development. As for a possible follow-up, Ubisoft said that Phantoms has been developed as far as we could take it, and a sequel or successor of any sort is unlikely to happen.

Ghost Recon Phantoms, and the in-game shop, will remain online until December 1, but Ghost Coins will no longer be available for purchase. There will also be no refunds offered on leftover virtual currency, or conversion of that currency to a different game, so if you've got it, you might as well spend it.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is one of the very finest stealth games, our Adam will tell you. Should you agree, or simply be curious about that bold declaration, you might want to watch its creative director Clint Hocking revisiting the game 11 years after release. He’s got together with Chaos Theory level designer Mathieu Berube to play through its Bank level and chat about the game, and the two very kindly recorded it for us all to see. Observe:

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Electronic Arts has given up on its attempt to trademark the word ghost, which caused something of an uproar when it came to light in January.

EA wanted to trademark the word for its Ghost Games studio, the maker of the new Need for Speed game, while Ubisoft, publisher of the Ghost Recon games, not so spookily opposed the move. But in a filing dated February 24, EA formally withdrew the application, without prejudice, with Opposer's [Ubisoft's] consent.  

As NeoGAF points out, the withdrawal filing only applies to serial number 86568854, for Computer game software; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; Video game software. A second application, under serial number 86568852, for Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet, remains in place but will presumably be withdrawn soon as well.

No specific reasons for the withdrawal of the application were given, but an EA rep indicated that the matter has been concluded to everyone's satisfaction. "We now have an agreement with Ubisoft to carry on with our respective trademarks," he said. "Nothing will change with respect to our use of the Ghost Games studio name."

PC Gamer

Ubisoft and Electronic Arts appear to be caught up in a low-level but interesting beef over a trademark filing for the word ghost. Back in March 2015, EA applied to trademark the term for its Ghost Games studio, currently working on Need for Speed, relating to entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game [and] provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet." Ubisoft, naturally, is against the idea.

Ubisoft first published opposition to the trademark application in August 2015, but the legal action was only filed on January 29. In it, Ubi's lawyers point out that the publisher has been using the Ghost Recon mark since November 13, 2001, long before Applicant [EA] filed the Applications on March 18, 2015 and long before Applicant's November 19, 2013 claimed date of first use. Furthermore, the goods and services covered by the trademark—the providing an on-line computer game and so forth—are identical and highly related to the goods and services offered by Opposers [Ubisoft] in connection with the Ghost Recon marks.

Applicant's Mark so resembles Opposer's Ghost Recon marks alleged herein as to be likely, when used in connection with the goods and services identified in the Applications, to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive, the opposition filing states. Consumers are likely to believe, mistakenly, that the goods and services Applicant offers under Applicant's Mark are provided, sponsored, endorsed, or approved by Opposers, or are in some way affiliated, connected, or associated with Opposers, all to the detriment of Opposers.

This is actually the second bit of trademark trouble EA has run into recently; in January is came to light that it had abandoned a trademark filing for the upcoming puzzle platformer Unravel, because of a conflict with a children's tabletop game called Beary's Unravel Games. Despite not being granted that trademark, EA said Unravel's title will not change, and I suspect that Ghost Games will remain so named regardless of how this all works out. EA has until March 9 to file its answer to the opposition.

Thanks, NeoGAF.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Humble Bundles normally pass me by these days, but this week’s Humble Tom Clancy Bundle, is worth a second look. For whatever fee you fancy you can get Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Rainbow Six 3, Rainbow Six Vegas, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Ghost Recon and access to the multiplayer beta for Rainbow Six Siege. Pay over the average of $8.09 ( 5.29) however and you also get Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Splinter Cell, and Splinter Cell Conviction.

Less Patriot Games, more Pay-What-You-Want Games, eh? Eh?

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

620px

Clint Hocking has been cursed by a witch and is now doomed to travel the games industry, joining new developers and then leaving before releasing a single game. In the last five years, the Far Cry 2 designer has joined and left LucasArts, joined and left Valve, and as of yesterday, joined and left Amazon Games Studios.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Kirk McKeand)

Sometimes you need a hand to hold, so we ve compiled a list of the 25 best co-op games to play on PC with a headset-wearing friend or a muted stranger.

Whether solving puzzles, sneaking, shooting zombies or stabbing mythical creatures in the face, the existence of another player adds an element of unpredictability. The reality of your co-op partner constantly alerting the guards is drowned out by the experience in your head – the synchronised stealth takedowns, the perfectly executed plan – but both success and failure are more compelling when you can take credit for the former and blame someone else for the latter.

There is a co-op game for every duo and our selection includes a variety of the most bestest. Don t worry if your favourite co-op game doesn t feature – it just means you re wrong. All mortals are, on occasion. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Gathering together the best shooters is no easy task, but if you’re looking for a new PC FPS to play, look no further.

Your favourite game is at number 51.

… [visit site to read more]

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