Critics have not exactly been nice to CI Games and its Sniper: Ghost Warrior franchise in the past.
Although the series has been commercially successful since its 2010 launch, its Metacritic scores are all below 55.
But with Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3, CEO Marek Tyminski hopes to move away from that critical indifference. Furthermore, he wants the latest title to become a new standard in the sniping genre.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior used to be a mid-price budget series and, for the first time, we are coming out at full price and at a triple-A level,” Tyminski tells MCV. For us it's really like re-establishing the IP.”
The millions who played the previous entries in the series should thus expect quite a few changes, as Tyminski says the team even considered marketing it as a new IP.
We started from scratch. There's so much more to Ghost Warrior 3 than any of our games before and we could even have changed the title. We didn't as, on the other side, we have millions of fans who played previous titles that we sold. We sold close to six million copies of the previous two games but it's really like building a new IP rather than coming out with the next instalment in an existing franchise.”
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is set to be released on January 27th – four years after its predecessor. The title was postponed a few times and was initially supposed to hit shelves in the first half of 2016.
We never really established a firm release date,” Tyminski defends. We were saying ‘OK, we're looking into 2016' and then we decided we needed an extra few months in order for the game to be more polished. And I think it's always better like that, because at the end of the day the game has to be working really smoothly. You can't see any frame rate issues or anything like that, in order to really give real satisfaction to people who will buy the game.”
The Polish developer-publisher seems to have put hard pressure on itself in order to deliver what Tyminski considers to be their most accomplished game to date. And the CEO is also pretty confident about the position of his game within the sniping category.
It's been a lot of work, this is definitely the biggest game from our studio. And Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 also is a game that is so much more than just sniping. It's really much bigger than any other sniping game, including our own titles in the past. It's much bigger than anything and I think it will appeal to a much wider audience than sniping games in the past.”
So is CI Games looking to reach the heights of a Call of Duty with Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3?
No, we have to set our expectations realistically,” Tyminski laughs. We don't say we're going to be Call of Duty in terms of the size, definitely not yet, but I think it's going to be a big game, that's for sure.
This game is kind of a sniping fantasy,” he enthuses. Like, you know, one guy that can really make an impact through his decision and makes big changes... So we very much believe we have something unique here and that the feel of the game itself is different from the others.”
Tyminski puts the emphasis on the greater freedom and possibilities Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 will provide compared to previous titles in the franchise.
After all, Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 was labelled as ‘monotone' and ‘repetitive' by some critics, so CI Games must have taken that into consideration when they started working on a new iteration.
Because it's set in an open world, you have so many things to do and it also goes in a way players can decide how they want to do each mission objective,” Tyminski explains.
You can be more of a sniper or you can be more of a warrior with a more direct approach or you can be stealthier. It's called ‘Ghost' after all. That gives more freedom and more choices to the players than any other kind of a game we ever did in the past.”
In order to do so, CI Games had a core team of about 100 people working full time on the game.
At the very peak of production we had close to 300 people working on that game, together with outsources and partners,” Tyminski says.
And he certainly intends to have some return on investment, especially in the UK.
"With Ghost Warrior 3, it's really like building a new IP rather than launching the next instalment in an existing franchise."
Marek Tyminski, CI Games
We are ambitious in terms of the sales because obviously we are investing heavily on the franchise, we are making sure everything we should have will be in that game. We teamed with Koch Media and we are definitely aware of the importance of the UK market.
He continues: Koch Media has very strong presence in the UK and that's why we partnered with them, to make sure to maximise our sales in the UK. A number of games – including Sniper Elite 3 – have done pretty good numbers when they launched a couple of years ago in the region. That just shows that the UK is definitely a very good market for that sort of products and it's very important to us.”
And Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is only the first step for CI Games, which seems to be working hard to become a triple-A developer-publisher in the long run, with help from its other big series, Lords of the Fallen, which has a sequel in the works.
We're definitely going to grow our franchises: we want to grow Sniper: Ghost Warrior, we want to grow Lords of the Fallen, we want to make each game bigger and bigger with every new instalment and it's not really about the quantity of games that we will have but more about the quality of them and the size of them,” Tyminski insists.
And this is how we see ourselves moving forward for the next five years: we want to be focused and concentrated on those series and maybe we will also have another franchise... We want to really grow a strong portfolio and quality games.”