Ghost Recon Wildlands sets players loose in a huge open world, challenges them to take down a vicious drug cartel, and gives them the freedom to do so using all the tools the Ghosts have at their disposal. In the year and half since the game launched, it has grown considerably, adding the Ghost War PVP mode, the permadeath-enabled Ghost Mode, and free missions built around the Predator, Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher, and Operators from Rainbow Six Siege.
If you’ve yet to experience piling into a chopper with friends or executing a flawless team sync shot, there’s a perfect opportunity coming up this weekend, when the Ghost Recon Wildlands Free Weekend will be available for PS Plus members from September 20-24.
Beginning at 12:00 am Pacific on September 20, you’ll be able to dive into everything the base game has to offer, including the PVE campaign (playable solo or with up to three co-op teammates) and Ghost War. And if you want to keep playing after the free weekend ends at 10:00 am Pacific on September 24, all editions of the game will be discounted until October 2.
You can grab the Standard Edition for 60% off from PlayStation Store, or the newly launched Year 2 Gold or Ultimate editions for 40% off. The Year 2 Gold Edition includes the Year 2 Pass (which grants one-week early access to all Year 2 Ghost War classes, along with special equipment packs), while the Ultimate Edition comes with the Year 2 Pass, as well as Season Pass Year 1 (which includes the Narco Road and Fallen Ghosts expansions) and additional perks.
The free weekend coincides with a major new update for Ghost Recon Wildlands, which is now live. Titled Operations & Maintenance, the update includes a number of gameplay improvements, and introduces Mood Matchmaking, a new feature that lets players set “mood” preferences (like competing story missions or exploring the open world) to help them find players with similar goals in public matchmaking for campaign co-op. Also, Operations & Maintenance will add a new item pack for Year 2 Pass owners, a practice that will continue with each future title update.
To find out more, we chatted with Senior Producer Nouredine Abboud about the latest update and the ways Ghost Recon Wildlands has grown since its launch.
What’s surprised you most about how Ghost Recon Wildlands has grown, and how the community has embraced the game?
Nouredine Abboud: It has been a year and a half since we released Ghost Recon Wildlands, and the demand for a second year of live content was really rewarding for us in the studio. We have been thrilled to see how each new update has brought more content and diversity to our open world, and the positive reaction to our thematic crossovers went above and beyond our expectations. We’re super happy to see the love for bringing other Tom Clancy characters to the Wildlands, and the continued support and feedback from our community has been a big driver for us.
From the Predator and Sam Fisher to Rainbow Six Siege Operators, there have been so many surprising missions added to the game since launch that new players can still experience – how did these come about? What were your goals with these missions?
NA: With Ghost Recon Wildlands, we have tried to build a coherent world in which the Ghosts need to take down a drug cartel in a fictionalized Bolivia. But, we also wanted to extend the universe of the brand to new experiences and partnerships too, which is what we did with the Predator, Splinter Cell, and Rainbow Six brands. Seeing the amazing feedback we got from these releases, we will look into how we can keep on building this shared universe in the future!
Ghost War PVP is a free addition to Wildlands that regularly gets new classes, modes, and maps. What motivates the team to continue expanding this competitive mode? What aspects of GRW do you think thrive in this mode?
NA: The Ghost War PVP mode has been one of the key post-launch releases for Ghost Recon Wildlands, one that was embraced by the community for its unique take on open-ended 4v4 matches. Ghost War is all about the tension and the intensity of a game of hide-and-seek, mixed with the thrill of military shootouts. It is extremely interesting to see the meta of the mode evolve with every new class and every new map we release. The positive community reaction makes us excited to keep supporting Ghost War with new classes and features with the upcoming Special Operation updates.
Overall, what’s been the main focus of the updates you’ve been making to GRW since its launch?
NA: Our main objective after the launch of the game and its DLC has always been to try and build a healthy community of players that we keep entertained and engaged, and also to find new ways to attract new players to the game. For example, we are releasing the Operations & Maintenance update to address issues and quality-of-life proposals from the community, and we have released the new Ghost Mode as part of Special Operation 2, which lets players try to complete the main campaign of the game under thrilling new conditions, including permadeath.
What’s your advice for someone interested in getting into GRW for the first time?
NA: We have a trial version of the game available on all platforms that allows anyone to try the full game for five hours, either solo or with friends in co-op. Most of the post-launch missions, like the Predator or the Splinter Cell ones, are deliberately quite difficult, so try to complete a few provinces and build up your skills and arsenal before you take them on. Free weekends are a great opportunity to try the Ghost War PVP mode, too, as all classes are temporarily unlocked!
What is your goal when designing Challenges?
NA: Challenges allow us to create recurring events and keep the community engaged in PVE and PVP. Our goal with the Challenges is to add more diversity to the game, and try to address the different playstyles and difficulty levels of our players. We have recently added bigger rewards to the PVE Challenges, for instance, which allow you to get your hands on new vehicles or Prestige Credits.
Who do you think the new Mood Matchmaking system will appeal to?
NA: Mood Matchmaking will give PVE players several options for who they would like to matchmake with, based on their game mode and their current objective. We think it will be a useful tool for anyone looking for a great co-op experience, either with friends or with new acquaintances.
Being able to play with other gamers that share the same objectives you do definitely works to enhance the overall experience of playing co-op. You and your team will be more focused and more efficient, which we believe will improve your games.