In recent years, many Ubisoft games have featured narratives that are seemingly an afterthought. Yes, a few UbiArt titles include complex stories and characters; the same can be said of Far Cry 3 and the last two Assassin’s Creed entries. However, Ubisoft’s once stated apolitical bent, which appears to come in degrees, arguably hindered depth in the likes of Far Cry 5 and The Division 2. Some players would argue the same is true for Ghost Recon: Wildlands. According to a Wildlands‘ writer, Lewis Manalo, the story isn’t superficial. Still, the upcoming Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will have something on offer for those in search of “deep themes and complex character development.”
Manalo wrote a column for GamesIndustry.biz, reflecting on his experience with Wildlands. Apparently, critics weren’t kind to his work and that of his colleagues. The narrative and its purpose were mischaracterized by reviewers who weren’t privy to the experience in combat and foreign affairs that some members of the writing team possess. Despite this, many Wildlands fans picked up on the story’s nuances and complexities. Those fans taught Manalo a lesson he’s carried with him while developing Breakpoint’s narrative–“Don’t underestimate your audience.”
In his post, Manalo made note of one example that proves at least some of the audience thought beyond the veneer of a co-op shooter: “There’s quite a long thread on Steam called ‘Is this game supposed to be satire?’ The narrative team had something to say, and though it may not be heard by all the millions of people who play the game, we have reached at least a few of them.”
Players who engage with the product in such a way have Manalo confident that developing a deeper story for Breakpoint is the right call.
After my work on Ghost Recon: Wildlands, I was given the opportunity to be lead writer on Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, and with more cinematics and dialogue choices, Breakpoint will prove to be a different kind of narrative experience than that of Wildlands–or any other game in the Ghost Recon franchise. The narrative team definitely learned some key lessons from its experience with Wildlands.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is slated to release this fall for the PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One on October 4th.