Earlier this month, we had the chance to sit down and chat with Theo Sanders, the Creative Director at Ubisoft Singapore working on Ghost Recon Online.
The team just released the Arctic Pack, a huge content update for Ghost Recon Online that introduced a wealth of new content including an array of new weapons, a brand new multiplayer map and a ton of body armor and headgear variants for players to outfit their character with.
Arctic Pack has been a lot of fun and we're really enjoying the new map, Tomsk-9. Check out our interview with Theo Sanders below!
For readers who might be unfamiliar with you, Theo, can you tell us who you are and what your role is on Ghost Recon Online?
Hi everyone. I’m Theo Sanders, the lead producer for Ghost Recon Online at Ubisoft Singapore. My main role is to ensure we deliver a great player experience across our game development, service, and technology teams.
So, Ubisoft just released the first content expansion for Ghost Recon Online. What was the development process like on this content update?
The Arctic Pack was a challenge for us because we really wanted to provide the community with some cool new content within a month of launching Open Beta. There was a lot of work put into Tomsk-9 and the new arctic skins. On top of that, we shipped hundreds of incremental improvements to the game in the form of balance tweaks and bug fixes. Building all that content and analyzing the feedback from Open Beta for the fixes led to some very late nights in the studio for the team.
Is it difficult releasing new content, ensuring that the weapons and items are new and fun but also balanced properly with Ghost Recon Online’s hefty arsenal?
Balancing weapons is tricky. We rely on a combination of data analysis and a lot of observation about how players actually use different weapon classes. Weapons also tend to be the most “emotional” of the game systems. When you’ve just been killed a few times in a row by a particular gun, many players draw a quick conclusion that it’s overpowered. So we have to interpret that feedback through the numbers.
Keep reading for the rest of our interview with Theo!
After this content update, does Ubisoft Singapore have plans to release more content updates in the future?
Absolutely! We plan to be releasing frequent new content updates for years to come. The team is already well on its way working towards our next release. It’s extremely important when delivering a game as an online service that the experience continues to evolve over time.
Ghost Recon Online has been out of closed beta for about a month now. How has the community reaction been, as more players begin playing?
Overall, most players are really enjoying their experience so far. They’ve quickly realized that GRO’s organic teamplay differentiates it from other shooters around. We’ve seen a lot more players joining recently because their friends told them about their experiences, rather than any kind of marketing.
But of course, gamers are vocal too when something annoys them, and have given us a number of areas to focus on.
With games like DUST 514 experiencing success as a free to play title on PlayStation 3, do you think that Ghost Recon Online will end up on other platforms, perhaps Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3?
At this time, we’re entirely focused on offering a great game and service to our players on PC. We still have a ton of cool stuff we want to build and some things we want to improve. For the time being we have no plans to look at horizontal growth across different platforms.
Last but not least, what is one of Ubisoft Singapore’s biggest goals with Ghost Recon Online in the future?
GRO is a really special project for the studio. It’s one of our first experiences taking a major Ubisoft brand and re-imagining it as an online service. While that comes with enormous technical and logistical challenges, the end result of having a game that is a living, breathing, and constantly evolving service is really satisfying. While of course one goal is building on a great game, we also have big plans to make the experience of participating in the GRO community as fun and compelling as the game itself.
Thank you for chatting with us! Anything else you would like to share with our readers? The floor is yours!
I hope some of you will come join us in GRO. If you do, feel free to look me up online for a fire-team! I’m “Temasek” in North America and “Squirk” in Europe. Thanks everyone.
Special thanks to everyone at Ubisoft Singapore for taking the time to chat with us! Check out Ghost Recon Online - completely free to play - at http://ghost-recon.ubi.com/!