Signalling the end of our week of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter goodies, we sat down to chat with the game's content producer at Ubisoft Paris, Olivier Dauba.
In our interview Dauba reveals more details on the Clancy sequel, shares his experiences so far developing the follow-up and reveals what its like competing with that other 360 tactical shooter.
So without further delay, here's what he had to say...
You've turned around a sequel very quickly. Has it been difficult to come up with an follow-up in such a short space of time?
Olivier Dauba: I think it was more difficult to do the first game than to do this one. For the first game it was very difficult to be very early in the life-cycle of the console because we had to learn a lot of things about the console. For this one we started with a very clean technology baseline; we learned a lot of things and made things work in the first game, this time we just have to improve them and that is much easier than building it the first time.
Regarding the content, there were quite a few things we were trying to do in the first game that were not able to make it in, so we're using some of the stuff that didn't make it into the first game to create some new assemblies.
How has GRAW 2 benefited from your experience on the first game?
Dauba: From a technology point of view there are a lot of things in the rendering that we're doing that we didn't previously. Everything is moving in real time now; the lights and the shadows - this time there's a day and night cycle. The weather will evolve as well - it's very dynamic. So depending on the situation the weather could chance from pretty nice weather to a sand storm to a rain storm, this makes the game and the world much more believable.
The other part of the rendering that's evolving is the special effects; they were pretty well received in the original in the big set-piece moments like the embassy. This time we wanted to make them more believable and life-like, and in real life if you look at a battlefield everything is moving depending on what's going on across the battlefield - the cars that are burning won't blow smoke in the same direction, if there's a helicopter passing by it will spread the smoke in other directions, it will swirl - this makes the surroundings life-like and dynamic. We believe we can achieve this.
How does the story pan out?
Dauba: It follows on from the first game; the remaining rebel Mexican forces are gathering along the US border - the situation is extremely critical in the area of Juarez, which is a town on the border of the US in Mexico. A lot of industrial capabilities are located in Juarez (the original Xbox was manufactured there). Most of the remaining civilians are there and the US government has gathered intelligence that a weapon of mass destruction has possibly been sent there by rebels from Panama.
So while the player is battling in the US and central America you'll learn by the end
that some form of WMD is coming to Juarez and you'll have to stop it there before it's used against the US.
Moving the conflict towards the United States isn't a very big challenge for us; Juarez is only a stone's throw from El Paso, Texas. During some parts of the game the player will have to cross from Juarez to El Paso and back that'll create some very interesting tension.
What does GRAW2 have over the first game in terms of gameplay?