Ghost Recon Online was released back in 2012, though it was still considered by Ubisoft to be “in development”. Then, just a couple of months ago, Ubisoft announced that the game would appear on Steam Early Access, which seemed like a bit of a stretch of the term “early access” given that it had been freely available for a year and a half.
That was meant to happen this Spring. But today Ubisoft has announced that the F2P title will actually launch on April 10th, presumably skipping Early Access, and it’s not even going to be called Ghost Recon Online. The new title is Ghost Recon Phantoms.
“The end of open beta is a new start to the game. The difference between where the game started and the game today is so considerable that we felt we should mark it with a fresh identity,” said Corey Facteau, producer of Ghost Recon Phantoms. The change in title relates to the narrative layer developer Ubisoft Singapore has added to the game. The titular Phantoms are naughty ex-Ghosts who have left the organisation to pursue their own agenda and serve as the game’s antagonists.
This new direction has also led to a reworking of the game’s art, with new lighting, character models, device designs and map layout. Gear for the three classes has been designed based on existing military prototypes with an eye towards realism.
The almost-but-not-quite relaunch will see some feature changes as well. Matching making will take into account player skill and gear, with the goal to create a level playing field regardless of whether or not you’ve thrown down some cash. The Mod Master customisation system has also been teased, which will allow players to augment their soldiers and add camo to weapons.
After launch, more additions will be thrown into the mix, including new weapons and features. Right now, Ubisoft Singapore is fine-tuning tactical insertions and smoke grenades, both of which are being tested in beta and will eventually be released in the post-launch version.
You can download and play it now, or wait for the launch version to appear on Steam next month.