Ubisoft just released a blog post detailing the 21-month metamorphoses of Ghost Recon Phantoms. The game began as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online, but it received enough changes to warrant a fancy new name.
Here is a quick TL;DR rundown of the blog post and video:
- Ghost Recon Phantoms launches on Steam April 10th (or you can keep playing it through U-play).
- The game received new classes, graphics and weapon skins/customization options.
- The weapons system now begins at Tier 3 (so that new players get immediate access to better guns).
- The amount of RP (free currency) and GC (paid currency) that players earn or buy has been increased.
- Matchmaking is now based on 50% skill/50% unlocked equipment instead of 100% skill.
- Veteran accounts will not be deleted and will receive a few bonuses.
Here is the official Ubisoft video that goes into detail about all of this:
But are these changes going to work? Can the game catch on?
It might be tough. The game’s producer, Corey Facteau, said in an interview with the Ubiblog that “Ghost Recon Phantoms now better combines the intensity of the heated firefights found in shooters with the incredible depth of teamwork and tactics found in MOBAs.”
Combining the two most popular competitive gaming genres could be a pretty tall order, but Ghost Recon Phantoms is on the right track.
The game sticks pretty closely to League of Legends’ free-to-play model. Can you pay for an advantage in Ghost Recon? Yes, but the free currency flows so well that you are basically paying to have an advantage for a handful of games. A GRP player can also spend real money on aesthetic changes, experience boosts, free currency boosts, or convenience features, which certainly worked out well for League of Legends. If the game takes off, it’s free-to-play model will create some financial success.
It is as good a time as any to go for it with a slower, tactical-based shooter. SOCOM is dead, the single-player Ghost Recon games are irrelevant and the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises are vulnerable to attack. Titanfall is an absolute smash, but some people will eventually tire of its simplicity and go go go playstyle. Plus, there are always those bad eggs that hate popular games or find flaws in everything and look for something different than what the “sheep” are eating up. Ghost Recon Phantoms could snatch up a few thousand members as a result of all this.
The road is going to be a long one. Like all multiplayer games, GRP needs to build as large a community as it can in as little time as possible. It needs a competitive scene with tournaments and live events. It has already been in beta for almost two years, so a lot of its shiny new mystique is gone. People may have already been turned off to the idea of a Ghost Recon online MOBA-shooter hybrid. The gameplay isn’t as fast and shiny as Titanfall, so YouTube videos may not do it justice. It’s time to recruit players the old-fashioned way: make the gameplay experience so good that cynical journalists like me HAVE to write nice things and casual players HAVE to tell their friends.
That could be tricky.