E3 is full of some pretty awkward moments, and 2016’s is no exception. We’ve already talked about how Microsoft thinks that everyone somehow forgot about Minecraft, but Ubisoft managed to beat them in the cringe contest during their showing of Ghost Recon Wildlands. The next entry in the Tom Clancy series puts players in control of four agents in Bolivia, where they have to take down a drug organization that’s bought its way into the local government. The demo started off smoothly enough, with the Ghosts parachuting into Mexico and talk about four player co-op. And that’s when the awkward turtle shuffled in.
For some reason, during video game demos, companies like to have the players perform battle chatter that you’d hear in an otherwise serious situation, like a war zone. “Tango down”, “on my six”, “evac,” that sort of thing. It’s even weirder when they try to pull off a mission like an actual tactical unit, considering that 11/10 times, that’s definitely not what happens during online gaming. It all just comes across as forced and unnecessary, and nowhere is this more apparent than when the players are converging towards their target. On a scale of 1-10 on the awkward scale, it’s easily a “just met your ex while they’re on a date” (that’d be a 7).
“See anything else?”
“Oh man, I think he [El Pozolero, your target] was dissolving somebody.”
“Like, in a can of acid, or something?”
If the developers wanted to truly reflect what online gamers go through, there would be way more swearing, screaming, and general screwing around. No one’s going to try and be “Sicario”; they’re going to be “Archer”. Seriously, Ubisoft, have you ever actually played with anyone outside of your many offices? No way we’re gonna be doing all that tactical nonsense, we’re just gonna screw it up and start a firefight. Because that’s a lot more fun than sneaking around, and we gotta use those guns for something.
Sure, it’s cool to see these guys pull off an operation with little to no hiccups, but even with that in consideration, the battle chatter was just weird. For one thing, it was genuinely confusing if the people playing the game were actually talking or if the player characters were the ones doing all that. (It ultimately doesn’t matter because again, awkward af). That whole chase scene on the highway? Yeah, that was funnier than it probably should’ve been, because everyone else is actually chasing the guy while one Ghost on a motorcycle is all “I’m coming guys, no really!”
Ghost Recon Wildlands looks like a ton of fun, for sure. But the fact that its team chat was widely mocked and made fun of on social media is proof that maybe trying for a coordinated, tactical experience isn’t the way to go with things like these. It’s best just to wing it and let viewers see how people react for real under pressure and among screw up after screw up, because that’s what people will talk about.