The idea and concepts behind making a sniper game can be rather difficult. As a developer, you are trying to make a game that centers around the one act of pulling the trigger for a one shot kill. At least, that is how most look at the idea of a sniper. However, there is a lot of work that goes into setting up that one kill shot. You have to scout terrain, get information on targets, get a feel for the environment, watching patterns, finding the right spot for you to take the shot and then finally, you get to pull the trigger when you line up the mark in your crosshairs. CI Games, has been working on giving players the complete role of a sniper since the first Sniper: Ghost Warrior and now they are back with the third installment and it looks to be the most realistic sniper experience yet.
Creation of a full, dynamic open world was the starting point for sections of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3. Gone are levels that you complete, but large, open world areas that are stocked with missions, war crimes and more. Patrols, helicopters, planes, civilians and more go about their business in these open world areas, giving the player a solid feeling of a living, breathing world. Each area that contains missions will offer up multiple versions of terrain as well, so you can go from snow to jungle to grassy areas.
These large, wide open areas are designed with the purpose of giving players complete freedom in how the approach their targets. Whether you are climbing around rocky cliffs, using drones, or crawling through the cover of mud, it is about giving multiple options to complete tasks. To show this off, we were tasked with taking out a Russian commander of an outpost. The mission is cut and dry in that we need to kill the target, but how and when you go about that task is completely up to you. With a full weather system and a day and night cycle, you can choose when you approach targets, how you approach them and what information you gather to assist with that kill.
Realism is of major concern for CI Games and to that end, you will have to use the tools that are available to you to complete a mission successfully. You can use a special vision mode that will allow you to see things like tracks, traps, mines and lines of sight from enemy sniper positions. At first, I was a bit skeptical about using a mechanic like this in a game that wants to be realistic, but it ends up that the idea behind a sniper unit is that they are highly trained and specialized. They are expert trackers, extremely perceptive of their surroundings and understand the mechanics of an enemy sniper, so using a vision mechanic to see these things would make sense. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 boasts other realism factors like the actual environment causing you harm. You can easily die from poor navigation around the expansive environment, or by walking into a hot spot without surveying the general area.
As we tracked our enemy, we had multiple options to take down our rebel general. We could go straight to a perch and try to find him, or in my case, I used a drone to hack a series of cameras and use them to get a lay of the land and find the path of the general. Using that, I was then presented with a narrowed selection of perches that I could use to take out my target. Of course, I could get really close to the target, but extraction would take longer due to more troops to avoid. In turn, you could also shoot from 500+ yards out, and get away a lot cleaner, but the shot would be a lot more difficult. I went with a perch that was about 150 yards out, set up by laying out for position and then I had to adjust all the settings on my scope. Things like range, shift for air pressure, humidity and wind direction must all be accounted for when getting ready to finally pull the trigger. And with all that dialed in, I pulled the trigger and had a successful kill. One shot and the enemy was down. Extraction was hectic, and I had to cut around the environment to avoid enemy troops, but I got back to my hideout and with that my mission was finished. It was about 20 minutes to pull it off and after all that work, research and planning felt so rewarding when you pull off that final, perfect shot.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is still in an early mode of gameplay right now, as it will not come out until at least Q2 2016, but in it’s current shape, the game looks great running on CryEngine3 and the mechanics feel solid. It is a hard sell to put together a game that requires a lot of planning and surveillance to complete a mission with 100% success, but the folks at CI Games are doing as much as they can to make the gameplay of Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 as fun, yet realistic as they can. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is looking to drop on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016.