As part of Ubisoft’s research for Ghost Recon: Wildlands, an open-world game set in Bolivia, the developer sent a team of developers to the South American country. While there, they trained with an “elite unit in the Bolivian army,” getting first-hand look at the country and its culture, according to IGN.
During a 2016 DICE Summit talk this week, Ubisoft VP of Editorial Tommy Francois discussed why it is so important to Ubisoft to conduct such thorough, on-the-ground research for its games.
“When you create a world, I think it’s actually a trap to only read books,” he said. “It needs to start with our own immersion. How do we do this? We go smell the grass. We have to get out from behind our computers.”
For Wildlands, Ubisoft’s developers spent a week in the jungle. A video shown during Francois’ speech contained footage of the army unit burning cocaine labs. Some of this footage was seen in a Wildlands video released last summer, which you can watch above.
During his talk, Francois stressed that Ubisoft developers sought to understand the role cocoa plants play in Bolivian culture. He said many people grow the leaf for religious purposes, in addition to selling some for the production of cocaine to make ends meet.
Wildlands, announced at E3 2015, is the first open world game in the history of the Ghost Recon series. It’s also the biggest open world game Ubisoft has ever made and has been in development for more than three years.
Players will be able to traverse the massive open world by sea, air, or land with all kinds of vehicles. These will include helicopters, motorcycles, and various cars.