Ghost Recon: Breakpoint was just officially announced, and it will function as a sequel to Ghost Recon: Wildlands with an added emphasis on player decision-making and difficulty. We've seen what Wildlands can do at this point — 19 add-ons and the base game will do that — and if there's one thing Ubisoft consistently got right, it was the attention to detail that made Ghost Recon such an enjoyable departure from other tactical games. That, and the open world, which represented a bold new direction for a franchise that was looking to innovate.
According to Ghost Recon: Breakpoint User Experience & Realization Director Matthew Tomkinson, Ubisoft has learned a lot since Wildlands launched. In his words, the company was "in the dark" when they first began the journey that would culminate with the game's launch, since it was such a dramatic change from what the series had usually offered. During our interview with Tomkinson, he said that Breakpoint is essentially Ubisoft very much "in the light," that is, with full knowledge of what worked, what didn't, and what needed improving in open world Ghost Recon play.
That should have fans excited, since Ubisoft is a company that's renowned for iterating until perfection — take a look at recent Assassin's Creed games, and more importantly their size, scope, and critical reception, and it's pretty obvious that given enough tries and player feedback, Ubisoft will produce something special. Is Ghost Recon: Breakpoint that game for its respective franchise? We'll see, but here's everything we know about the game from its reveal, our hands-on experience, and our interview with Tomkinson, compiled into one helpful guide to get Ghosts excited for their next journey.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint's Story Explained
- Breakpoint Will Push Characters To Their Limit: The story of Breakpoint centers around taking down Cole D. Walker, the character fans first met in Ghost Recon: Wildlands' latest free DLC. There, he was an ally, but in Breakpoint, he'll serve as the main villain and the leader of a rogue special ops unit. The goal of the game is to show the Ghosts pushed to their limit, without intel, backup, or the resources they've come to rely on in previous iterations of the series.
- AI And Drones Have A Big Role To Play: During the presentation that preceded our hands-on experience in New York, Creative Director Eric Couzian asked "are we summoning the devil?" in regard to the rapid advancement of drone and AI technology. That's a big question in Breakpoint, which will see players stranded on an island teeming with hostile drones and advanced AI weaponry all looking to murder the Ghosts. One has to imagine the game will have some interesting things to say about automated weapons and technology that's trained to kill.
- The Enemy Faction Is Stronger Than You: The Wolves, the rogue ex-special ops agents who are led by Walker, are stronger than the player. They've been described as the "most powerful opponents ever" in Ghost Recon, and have reprogrammed drones to serve as their killing machines. Expect tougher scenarios, more drawn-out fights, and punishing tactical play as a result.
- Flashbacks Will Flesh Out The Story: During our hands-on session, mid-way through a mission players were treated to flashbacks that helped elaborate on the relationship between Nomad and Cole D. Walker. In that flashback, they're special ops agents working together, and Walker begins to explain how much money there is to be made in freelancing and abandoning government-run programs. It's a nice bit of foreshadowing, and there will likely be more of that over the course of the game's story.
- Walker Won't Come Easy: Walker was described as the "toughest special agent" in Ghost Recon history, and his appearance in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will loom over the narrative for its entirety. According to Ubisoft, players will need to sink hours in to reach the big goal at the end of the game's story, which will be a confrontation with Walker that will hopefully help explain his going rogue, attempts to kill Nomad, and other dastardly deeds throughout the time spent in the archipelago.
- The Auroa Island Is Home: Most of the game will take place on the central island of Auroa, the largest island in an imaginary archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. With that said, the game will also open up several other islands for play, with each offering a unique environment that varies the gameplay to some degree and keeps things fresh.
- The Cinematic Experience: Ghost Recon: Breakpoint was described during the presentation in New York as having "hours" of cutscenes, which means players can expect a deep narrative that will build on the seeds sown by the late Ghost Recon: Wildlands DLC.
- Dialogue Choices: Players will be able to make dialogue choices while interacting with key characters throughout the game, which will open up branching options during missions or responses that others may not see based on their choices.
- Character Customization: Players can choose their Ghost's gender, appearance, and more.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint's New Features
- Bivouacs: Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will feature a new bivouac system, which allows players to set up camp in a safe and secure site where the team can prepare and rest. These sites will be available across the island, and will be where players can change classes, buffs, and address debuffs like the lingering wounds they can expect to pick up over the course of their journey. At bivouacs, players will be able to create bandages, rations, or gear that can be traded amongst players in a multiplayer play session.
- Sun's Out Gun's Out: Players will also be able to choose the time they break camp, which is vital given the dynamic weather systems that will inform gameplay during Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. An example that was given to us was that, by checking the weather, players can determine when it will be cloudy and rainy, which will decrease their visibility to enemies, favoring stealth approaches. These time decisions will help improve the odds of missions and give players more choices to make.
- Loot Across The World: New to the series is the ability to pick up loot all across the world map. That means there will be chests in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint that might contain weapons upgrades, but players can also snag them off fallen enemies. It's a step in the right direction and will scratch the loot shooter itch players may have developed now that so many of those titles are out on the market.
- Have Body, Will Carry: A new carry body option will also debut in the series for the first time. This will allow players to carry teammates to safety during a gunfight, or to hide enemy bodies during an infiltration mission to ensure cover isn't blown.
- Ain't No Mountain (Or Fence) High Enough: Another new feature that will be a major time-saver — breaching. Players will be able to breach through fence lines and enter them undetected. Essentially, gone is the logic that a trained special ops agent can be stymied by that most impenetrable of defenses, the chain-link fence.
- If I Can't See Me, They Can't See Me: Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will also feature a new camouflage option called prone camo. Players will be able to enter prone position and then cover themselves with dirt or other available resources to hide from enemies. This will also let them launch sneak attacks that don't need obvious cover like crates or bushes, once again varying the options players can expect to have during the game.
- Takedown Animations: Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will introduce brand new takedown animations.
- Sync Shot: Sync shot allows players to take down upwards of 4 enemies at once (one per teammate) and can be enacted by solo players by using drones as well, making for some interesting gameplay decisions — and some fun arguments with friends about who shot too early.
- Enemy Archetypes: This one will be a slow drip, as there are apparently a lot of new enemies that will be introduced during Ghost Recon: Breakpoint's gameplay. From what we saw during our hands-on, there will be new tank-like AI units, drones, heavy armor enemies, and more. Given the technological focus, expect a lot of fun to be had with enemy robot design.
- Raids: Just after launch, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will already have an endgame in store for players, including a raid system that will provide more difficult bosses for those who want a bigger challenge out of the game. These will apparently be hyper difficult, and will have drones that are specifically customized by the designers to be much more deadly than their counterparts earlier in the game.
- Classes: Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will allow players to choose specialist classes when they're in camp. These are temporary assignments that will last for the next mission, allowing players to customize their Ghost to best suit the mission in front of them. During the presentation, Ubisoft demonstrated the Panther specialization, which is meant for infiltration-style missions — the class boosts a player's stealth so they're more difficult to spot, and has smoke bombs that can help cover their entrance or exit, depending on what's required.
The Future of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
- New Islands Are Coming: During our interview with Tomkinson, he revealed that there are already new islands being planned for the game's post-launch, meaning that Breakpoint will have content releases that add more environments to explore. Given the archipelago setting, that likely means there is room for a lot of content updates, indicating a strong commitment from Ubisoft to support Breakpoint well after its launch.
- Expect More Crossovers: Ubisoft is well aware of how popular the Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Predator crossover was. The company specifically mentioned that content as being an inspiration for some of the things in the works for Breakpoint, although no details were given.
- PvP Will Be There At Launch: One thing fans won't have to wait for — PvP will be present in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint right at launch, and will share characters and progression. Players will be able to keep skills, weapons, and gear no matter which mode they acquire it in, and it will carry over between story, co-op, and PvP seamlessly. According to Executive Producer on Ghost Recon: Breakpoint Nouredine Abboud, "no matter what you do, it's staying the same game." Seamless PvP could also mean Ghost Recon battle royale, though that's definitely nothing more than loose speculation at this point.
- Ghost Recon: Breakpoint Launch: Finally, the release date — Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will launch on October 4th, and will debut on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. That means no Nintendo Switch support for the game, but that's not likely a deal-breaker, given that these sorts of games are rarely present on the platform in the first place.