Ubisoft has announced Ghost Recon Frontline, a PvP first-person shooter that will be free-to-play. With support for over 100 players, it’s an objective-focused spin on the incredibly popular battle royale genre. Public play testing will begin this month, but a full release date has yet to be announced.
Ghost Recon Frontline’s flagship mode is Expedition, in which 102 players are divided up into teams of three to battle for victory on an island map. To win, a team must find and claim three pieces of intel, which will allow them to then head to a designated drop zone and extract from the map. When the extraction helicopter is called, though, other players are alerted and have the chance to attack and steal that team’s extraction in order to claim victory for themselves. It’s an objective design that sounds like a blend of Ubisoft’s own Dark Zone from The Division, and Crytek’s Hunt: Showdown. Ubisoft also notes that there are other tactics that can be used to win.
Aside from rejecting the last-team-standing approach to battle royale, Ghost Recon Frontline also ignores the idea of a shrinking circle. You’ll have access to the entirety of its 16 square-kilometre map for the full duration of a match. That map is divided into four different biomes and hosts 20 different landmarks.
A character class system will allow you to tailor your tactical approach. Three have been revealed so far; the Scout is designed for long-range encounters and tracking enemies, the Assault class is best suited to close-range fighting, and the Support can set up defences such as turrets. Each class has a special active ability, two gadgets, and three passive skills. These classes are attached to customisable ‘Contractor’ characters; you will start with two, and more can be recruited as you progress. This allows you to create a pool of Contractors that can be tailored for specific tactical approaches. Interestingly, you can change what Contractor you are playing as during the events of a match, so you’re not permanently locked into a specific class and playstyle.
Another new idea Frontline boasts is “TAC Support”, which allows teams to call in airdrops of supplies, paid for using funds earned through completing objectives. This includes basic things like new weapons, but also items designed to reshape the battlefield, such as bulletproof barriers and even an entire sniper tower.
Ghost Recon Frontline – First Screenshots
Developer Ubisoft Bucharest has been working on Ghost Recon Frontline for three years, and aims for the game to be a multiplayer suite with multiple modes. The first alternate game type to be announced is Control, a 9v9 mode in which teams fight for domination over an area. While this is a smaller, arena shooter-style mode, all the tactical tools and Contractors from the main Expedition mode will be available to use. New modes are planned to be introduced each season.
A full launch date for Ghost Recon Frontline has yet to be announced as the game is still considered in “early development”, but a closed test on PC for European players will run from October 14 – 21. Registration of interest for participating in the test is live now. Ubisoft states that this will be the “first” test, and that tests on other platforms will be announced in later phases. Ghost Recon Frontline is listed to eventually release on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia.
Ghost Recon Frontline is the third Tom Clancy free-to-play game that Ubisoft has announced this year. Earlier in 2021 it revealed The Division: Heartland, while just this past summer it unveiled XDefiant, a Call of Duty-style PvP shooter. This follows Ubisoft stating that it intends to build “high-end free-to-play games”. Hopefully it will prove more successful than Ubisoft’s previous battle royale, Hyper Scape, around which conversation quickly faded.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.