Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Frontline is an upcoming, free-to-play, first-person PvP shooter set in the Ghost Recon universe. Announced during the Ghost Recon 20th Anniversary Showcase, Frontline will be available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Amazon Luna, and PC via Ubisoft Connect, with full cross-play at launch on all platforms. Players can register now at ghostreconfrontline.com for a chance to play in early tests, and to get the latest news and updates. The first closed test will run from October 14 to October 21 for PC players in Europe only.
Ghost Recon Frontline’s flagship mode, Expedition, places more than 100 players (in teams of three) on the island of Drakemoor, but this isn’t your typical battle royale. There’s no fighting to be the last team standing, and no ever-closing circle; instead, teams will complete dynamic objectives across the map to collect intel. Once a team has collected enough intel, they’ll be able to head to a drop zone and call for an extraction. All other teams in the game are notified when an extraction is called, so they can attempt to stop the leading team from leaving the island and winning the match.
Playing as an assortment of customizable military contractors, players will be able to choose from multiple unique classes, upgrade their contractors to suit their playstyle and needs, and swap between them mid-match. During the first closed test, three classes will be available: Assault, Support, and Scout.
To learn more about Ghost Recon Frontline and the upcoming closed test, we spoke with Live Associate Producer Taina-Gabriela Ionita and Creative Director Bogdan Bridinel.
Frontline is a new step forward for the Ghost Recon franchise. What makes it a Ghost Recon game?
Taina-Gabriela Ionita: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Frontline is a brand-new take on the franchise and the first game in the series to introduce a massive PvP experience, free to play, with full cross-platform support. The game features an advanced class system and large set of tactical support tools, allowing for complete freedom in strategic gameplay, with multiple ways to outsmart enemy teams and win each match.
At the same time, Ghost Recon Frontline will offer the unique blend of military authenticity, tactical-action combat, and teamwork for which the Ghost Recon universe is known and loved for.
What was the team’s goal when designing Expedition mode? How does it differ from a conventional battle royale?
TGI: When we designed our flagship mode Expedition, we wanted to bring a fresh take on the Battle Royale genre by introducing a new set of mechanics.
Featuring 100+ players in teams of three, players will have to work together to complete dynamic objectives across the massive open map. The enemy will know where you are as you gather intel. So, there will be much-needed strategy as you collect information and defend it from enemies who will be going after the intel themselves. You’ll also need to fend enemies off when you extract and depart from Drakemoor Island.
You will have an arsenal of tactical tools that will help you reshape the battlefield if needed. At the event of an enemy encounter, cover points and auto turrets can help cover you. You can also scan where enemies are if you’re in a dangerous area. Snipers can also be airdropped in nearby towers to help take down the enemy.
Finally, contractors can be swapped on the fly; use the proper contractor based on your situation. Ghost Recon Frontline offers players the opportunity to think strategically and stay one step ahead.
What sort of objectives will players be completing in Expedition mode? Are objectives ever in competition with another team? (Will your team’s objectives ever contradict or be the same as another team’s, forcing you to fight) What brings enemy teams together without a closing zone?
TGI: In Expedition, your core objective is simple: locate three of the drones spread around the map, hack them for intel, then call for an extraction. But the objective is not forced by any artificial limitation. You can also decide, or organically end up without enough intel in the last phase of the match, which doesn’t mean you’ll lose. You can still contest the extraction called by another team and, if you beat them or if you’re sneaky enough to bypass them while they’re fighting another team, you can extract in theirs instead.
Throughout the match, you also need to stock up on equipment, either by scavenging from the map or by accumulating Requisition Points that allow you to order equipment from the TAC Support tool. You can gain Requisition Points by gathering intel from the map, by hacking certain laptops spread around, and by eliminating enemy teams.
There are also many self-imposed, dynamic objectives that players generate as they play. You might decide on a detour to a Radio Station to bring back a fallen teammate. You might decide to defend an area to be in the safest position during the hacking process, or you might decide to chase an enemy team that’s hacking in order to stop them and steal their intel before they finish the process. In our game, you always have choices and your objective is up to you.
How will teammates be able to communicate with each other? Is there a contextual ping system? Pre-loaded commands? Emotes?
TGI: Since the entire focus of the game is on teamwork and bringing people together, we made sure to implement a diversified communication system between the players allowing them to strategize, collaborate and have fun.
First of all, the team can communicate at all times by using the voice chat system available in the game.
Second, the game features an advanced ping system that was created as a communication system that can be used by players, to quickly and effectively signal events, items, or intentions to the other players in their squad, using only a small number of buttons. It’s designed to replace voice chat for those players who wish to not communicate through that means.
Players will be able to signal enemy locations, positions in the map where the team should gather, highlight the loot locations to help their teammates, highlight items they need in their inventory, or simply ask for help when they are down and in need of assistance.
Does Expedition mode have respawns? Can teammates revive each other?
TGI: In Expedition, we have a system that allows players to respawn downed squad mates by using a Radio Station, allowing players to rejoin the fight, while still requiring some work from teammates.
In order to revive their teammates, the remaining team members must collect Dog Tags from eliminated squad mates or pay a number of Requisition Points.
Is there any way to win, other than to extract from the map?
TGI: To win an Expedition match, players need to gather all the necessary intel to call for an extraction. Once a team has hacked a sufficient number of drones, and the extraction becomes available, they can interact with one out of the three helipads spread across the map to start an extraction. Once the extraction is initiated, all other squads will know the position of the ongoing extraction. The team that initiated the extraction needs to hold the position for two minutes for the extraction to succeed.
At the end of the timer, after requesting an extraction, a helicopter arrives above the helipad.
The helicopter will hover over the helipad until a team captures the helipad and uses the helicopter to escape:
A maximum of two teams will be extracted during the game session. The game will also end when only one squad is left.
What sort of map is Drakemoor? Are there certain regions that encourage a certain type of gameplay?
TGI: We built Drakemoor island from the ground up to support our vision of a massive first-person shooter game. This allowed us to create a sprawling open-world map, filled with distinct biomes and landmarks to explore for Ghost Recon Frontline players.
Bogdan Bridinel: We have a variety of spaces, some favoring long-ranged classes, some favoring the ones that prefer to fight up close and personal. We have fields, where you have to be cautious, sneaky, and good at long range, we have forests and dense settlements where you can get up close, we have some tall locations that make for great vantage points.
Will the map evolve over time with events? Will weather play a factor in matches?
BB: In Expedition mode, the time of day and the weather can be different from match to match, and they also can evolve throughout the match. For instance, it might start raining, or it might progress from noon to evening.
Will there be vehicles in Expedition mode?
TGI: Yes, we are going to have vehicles that players can use to reach certain points of the map faster. The cars are important elements in Expedition, adding another strategic layer to the gameplay. More than that, players will be able to customize the vehicles with a wide range of skins that will be available in both the Battle Pass and the Ubisoft Store. Vehicles can also be interacted with in various ways – you can slow them down by shooting the engine block or the tires.
There are three classes available for the first closed test: Assault, Support, and Scout. What abilities do each of these classes bring to a team?
TGI: Players will start with two contractors already present in their roster. Each contractor will be part of one of the three main classes available for the Closed Test: Assault, Support and Scout, with more classes to be available at launch. Each class will have unique skills, abilities, consumables, and gadgets (ex: grenades), allowing the player to adapt in every situation. Each class comes with one active ability, one major passive skill and two minor ones.
The Assault Class provides great sustainability in close range fights and overall proficiency maneuvers. The Assault’s major skill prevents enemies they shoot from regenerating health for a period of time, while their active ability, the Sensor grenade, allows them to locate enemies in close range.
The Support Class offers superior protection with their fortification abilities. If you want to defend a point or are caught off-guard, you can drop in cover points and auto-turrets to create a fighting position
The Scout Class can easily recon the area for their team, revealing the enemies from a distance without fear of reprisal via their UAV ability. For example: if you’re heading into a potentially dangerous area, you can scan it for enemies beforehand, to know what you’re getting yourself into, or you can airdrop in a sniper tower at a key vantage point to catch enemies on the wrong foot.
Are weapon loadouts dependent on the class you choose? Fully customizable? Or do you have to scavenge your weapons once the match begins?
BB: In the Expedition mode, players can scavenge weapons from the world, but they also can bring specific weapons onto the battlefield via a system we call TAC Support. As players represent a scrappy, underfunded independent team, items in TAC Support aren’t freely available. By accomplishing various objectives, players earn Requisition Points that allow them to acquire items from TAC Support. And players can populate TAC Support with weapons that they’ve customized to their liking. The TAC Support weapons that players create are available to all of their contractors. While some classes provide advantages with certain weapon categories, all of them can use any weapon.
Why the decision to let players switch classes in the middle of combat?
TGI: We decided to add this feature in order to increase the strategic element of the gameplay. Players can switch between different contractors, even in the heat of battle, making each game unique and highly tactical.
On the battlefield, many things can appear and you need to be able to react and adapt to the situation. You can find yourself in need of higher protection in the open field – a Support can help by deploying a defensive wall. Sometimes you just need to take your opponents by surprise and attack them from higher ground, so the Scout class can come in handy.
What sort of persistent progression can players expect?
BB: We have several areas of player progression. First of all, players expand their team by hiring additional contractors from the various classes we have. Second, each contractor has a progression that allows players to customize two of their passive abilities and two gadgets. Weapons can also be unlocked by playing, and each weapon can be leveled up to unlock attachments and paints. Additionally, each season we have a Battle Pass, and a Weekly Missions system.
There will be other modes coming to Frontline other than Expedition. What can you tell us about them?
BB: In the upcoming Closed Test, we have Control mode. In the Control mode, two teams of nine players fight over domination of an area. Control has a faster gameplay pace and players can respawn, but all tactical tools available in the Expedition mode are also useable here. You can select a contractor and change them whenever you respawn, you can also use TAC Support and use all the tactical gadgets that help you shape the battlefield, strengthening a particular point’s defenses to prevent enemies from taking it.
What sort of information are you hoping to gather from the closed test? How can players provide feedback?
BB: We are particularly interested in retention and engagement – how much time players spend in the game and what parts of the game they engage with the most. But we also have a lot of channels for receiving player feedback on all aspects of the game, so that we can push the level of quality as much as possible.