A video game based on America’s Army is being released on two popular consoles, which will expand the service’s reach into potential pools of future recruits.
“That probably puts us on four times more platforms than we’re on now, which is a good thing. We’ll be more available to kids in terms of reference about what it is to be a soldier,” Col. Casey Wardynski, director of the America’s Army game project, told National Defense.
The San Francisco-based video game publisher, Ubisoft, released “America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier” on the Microsoft game console, Xbox, in November, and will release the game on Sony’s PlayStation 2 next month.
The games were produced in conjunction with developer Secret Level, also based in San Francisco, and the U.S. Army.
“We wanted to provide a single player experience for the user— to experience what it would be like to have a career in the Army,” said Steve Matulac, producer for Ubisoft.
America’s Army was launched on July 4, 2002, and now boasts 6 million registered users. Players download the first-person action game off the website and play online in small teams.
In the console version, players customize their characters, selecting nicknames and other attributes, and go through basic training. As they progress in their careers, players unlock roles, such as grenadier, automatic rifleman and sniper, and complete training and combat missions, building up experience points that can be used to beef up skills ranging from leadership and physical fitness to marksmanship and survival.
“This game, by far, really went the extra step to become an authentic modern day military simulation. It’s definitely more of a simulation game than any of our other action or first-person shooters, in terms of how you become a soldier and rise through the ranks. It’s a hardcore simulation of the Army,” said Tim Cummins, Ubisoft’s public relations manager.
Ubisoft purchased the license to make the game as authentic as possible and worked closely with the Army to ensure everything, from the script and dialog to game play, was realistic. Though the company had produced military-type games before, this project marked the first time it had collaborated with active-duty personnel.
“They were very involved, and it was a very rewarding experience for both sides,” said Matulac.
The agreement between Ubisoft and the Army is for a series of projects in multiple years. “Rise of a Soldier” is the first step in a sequence of products, said Matulac.
Though no plans have been officially announced for a sequel or similar follow-up to the game, Matulac hinted that the possibility exists. There were a lot of things the team couldn’t get into the game that they wanted to add, such as more leadership roles, he said.
“The partnership was successful. We’re looking forward to working with the America’s Army group in the future,” said Matulac.