With the October 4th release of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint becoming increasingly imminent, it would have come as no surprise for its two year old predecessor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, to be quietly retired by this point. After all, we already received a surprise expansion with last month's story-bridging DLC that featured the aforementioned sequel's antagonist. However, in a show of goodwill and gratitude toward fan's continued support for Wildlands, the Ghost Recon team is putting out one last major update in the form of a battle-royale adjacent free-for-all mode called Mercenaries.
In what is perhaps the most uniquely un-Ghost Recon mode to be featured in a game that bears its name, Mercenaries pits 8 players against one another in a race for potentially life saving intel that, when combined, uncovers the locations of secret radio transmitters that lead to an extraction point. Sadly, there is room for only one Ghost on this elusive flight, so naturally everyone else vying for that coveted seat has to die. Ahoo-rah.
You can find the in-depth breakdown of Mercenaries' mechanics over on its announcement page, but essentially the match is broken up into three phases - Recon, Helicopter Deployment, and Extraction. In order to narrow down the location of the extraction zone, players will need to activate hidden radio transmitters that are revealed via intel scattered throughout the map. Players will also need to forage for weapons and gear, as the game starts them out with absolutely nothing since it's 2019 and battle royales are a thing. The good news is, for bads like myself, Mercenaries features respawning. The only downside to this is that dying results is loss of your gear, which most would consider to be a setback.
Additionally, health and armor mechanics have been tweaked to behave in ways more consistent with "survival" type games. Damage taken varies depending on the type of gear you have equipped, and lingering effects such as bleeding will cause gradual health loss. Fortunately, all ailments, with the exception of death, can be remedied via lootable health restores.
Ultimately, it comes down to players having to fend off their opponents as they await extraction. As a result, I'm sure the final moments of each match will be as exhilaratingly tense as it will be frustrating - much like how it is when trying to extract loot in The Division's Dark Zone. The victor is whisked away from the battle while the remaining players are left feeling the dreaded effects of FOMO. There are of course some unlockables to be gained simply by participation, but the more substantial prizes are earned through winning matches, so there's that.
Mercenaries will be available to play starting tomorrow, July 18th, for those interested in dusting off their copy of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. I know I will be.