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Sights on more – inspired by Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2

Friday, 18th May 2012 12:54 GMT By Stace Harman

After talking to Michael Sroczynski about Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, Stace Harman imagines how it might feel to focus on the mentality of a sniper, and not the sensationalism of a kill-cam.

Waiting for the prey to surface, the world passes at its own unhurried pace. Everything falls away, and time’s inexorable march goes unremarked but for those that would recklessly wish it away.

The Approach

“…and people really seem to enjoy the sniping sections [of first-person shooters], which we think is to do with how observing prey or making your way to the sniper spot and getting into position makes you feel very empowered…”

Luck is a fallacy of fools who cling to it as a child does to a security blanket. Its creation stems from a simple fear that, despite our best endeavours, we may be found lacking; that even our most concerted effort might not be enough; that success cannot be guaranteed. In short, a refusal to believe that luck is a baseless human construct stems from a simple fear of failure and a need to attribute blame to an uncontrollable external force.

Knowledge can counter this fear and banish the temptation to use good fortune as a crutch; it can hone natural instincts and enhance the probability of success. Knowledge gleaned through exhaustive study of a subject; a place; a target.

Incisive research reveals most humans to be creatures of unwavering habit with predictable behavioural traits and routines; in turn, this knowledge aids the prediction of reactions to stress and highlights the natural behaviour likely to be exhibited by those that believe themselves to be unobserved. Active observation will also reveal much about an environment: vantage points, obstructions, blind spots, natural snugs and how manmade edifices can render the individual all but invisible to the unseeing masses.

In the minds of the many, the ability to divine and retain such knowledge is a curio; a party trick. In the minds of the few, it is a tool – but in a few rare cases it is a weapon.

The Wait

“…it was important for use to include a lot of the factors that would reflect sniping in the real world, but of course we didn’t want to overdo it because there is quite a lot that real snipers have to deal with, such as the curve of the planet and the moisture of the air and we decided that might be too much to consider.

“Players will have to compensate for the bullet drop, the distance of the target and the direction and strength of the wind, as well as taking note of the time that a bullet needs to actually reach the target … but we decided that it might get a bit tiring for players to spend 10 hours camping out in the bushes”

A work-in-progress tech demo showing
how Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 takes
advantage of CryEngine 3′s power.

Waiting for the prey to surface, the world passes at its own unhurried pace. Everything falls away, and time’s inexorable march goes unremarked but for those that would recklessly wish it away.

Sat motionless for hours, there is an abundance of time; time to meditate and to cogitate; to examine past decisions and future choices, to consider the path that has led to this point and the unmarked trail that leads from it. Decisions and choices, two of the few things over which ownership can ever truly be claimed but is so often fearfully cast away; a life consciously participated in passed over for one lived on rails. Responsibility flung into a corner like a child’s toy, to lie buried and guiltily forgotten under a pile of life’s detritus.

Here, where time is neither a gift nor a burden, the decisions taken and choices spurned come back to find their home; for they belong with no other. This is not a life into which one falls by accident. The decisions that led to this time and place along with the sacrifices made to accommodate it form a weight that neither can nor should be shed.

A flicker of movement suggests action is required; steady, smooth, controlled movements and a recollection of knowledge gleaned and of a target that is well understood. The application of instincts and experience that result in a shot taken; a target felled; a life extinguished; a contract completed.

The Departure

“The objective of the level is what progresses the game, but after each mission you’ll have a statistics screen detailing head shots, how many guys you took out with a knife, longest distance shot over and more. These won’t have an effect on how the game progresses story-wise, but will have an impact on the achievements and trophies.”

Rival offering Sniper V2 takes a different
tone and approach to sniping.

Extraction needn’t mean escape and thorough preparation will enhance the accuracy to which exit circumstances can be predicted. Extrication is an art practiced by everyone, but observed by few. Daily routine consists of dozens of instances of seamless disengagement; from a loved one or a business transaction, from unwanted attention or a queue for coffee; for the most part, these moments go unremarked because unspoken rules of social conduct are observed and expected behaviour is exhibited.

This rule of social norms and acceptable behaviour is scalable, so that even amidst a frenzied maelstrom, as a coherent whole disintegrates into panicked individuals, there is behaviour that will be noted as unusual or out of place. Eye witness accounts in high-stress situations are notoriously unreliable but there’s no reason to stand out from the crowd and a meticulously planned operation will include more than a vague intention to “exit stage left”.

Where the distance to target does not provide sufficient cover to mask an exit, factors such as population density, geographical location, travel viability, security contingent, witness presence and likely behaviour, will all considered by the mindful.

Nothing is left to chance and the game is not won once the shot is taken. There is no fade to black.

The CryEngine3-powered Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 launches on PS3, 360 and PC on August 21 in the US and August 24 in Europe.

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