US Special Forces operative lends knowledge to new career
The US Army's Special Forces are considered one of the most elite fighting groups in the world.
Known as Green Berets, the highly secretive unit is trained to lead clandestine guerrilla forces into occupied nations, along side other missions such as direct action raids, peace operations, special reconnaissance and foreign internal defence.
Emil Daubon knows this life better than most.
"I served in the military a total of 17 years and spent the last 15 years in the US Army Special Forces," he told nine.com.au.
Now he is using that experience as a writer and military technical advisor on Ghost Recon: Breakpoint - the latest entry in Ubisoft's tactical shooter video game franchise.
Daubon was first hired as a writer for the game, which follows a special forces operative sent to an island to investigate a series of disturbances involving a military contractor.
But after Ubisoft learned of his extensive military background, he was tasked with being the head military technical advisor for the gameplay.
"I am not at liberty to discuss any operational details of my military past. Nothing in the game has been directly derived from my experiences," he said.
"I did have a fair number of close calls and I am fortunate to not have been wounded or lose any teammates in battle. I'm supremely grateful because I know many other others have not been so lucky."
Daubon said creating a tactical shooter video game that provides an authentic experience was challenging.
"You can never fully capture the true nature of combat in entertainment," he said.
"The best you can do is create a fantasy that's playable and enjoyable, while giving players the experience of living in the boots of one of the world's most elite special operators.
"It's hard to achieve a true depiction because real details might not be viable in the context of the game – whether its cinematic viability or coding restrictions."
Daubon said he worked closely with the developers to ensure a lot of the new mechanics of the game closely resemble the experience of combat.
"You can cover yourself in mud and hide in the dirt, which is a practical application of what would call environmental camouflage. We have just somewhat simplified the experience for the sake of the game so you're not spending seven hours building a ghillie suit," he said.
"Players also use a safe space where they plan for their next mission. Whether that's crafting rations for improving stamina or working on their weapons to improve accuracy, it's a very real application of true military techniques."
The ex-special forces operative also said it was important to find a balance between the military and human element of the characters.
"No one in real world speaks with military vernacular the whole time, so the game wouldn't be authentic if everyone was speaking tactical," he said.
"Some enemies speak very military vernacular and others talk like they have never held a weapon in their lives.
"I wanted an emphasis on finding humanity and not technical accuracy, because that actually makes it more accurate of a real-world scenario."
Despite proponents of censorship arguing against violence in video games, Daubon doesn't see an issue with the project he has worked on.
"The reality is creating a fantasy depicting war and combat is not a new genre. Literature, poetry, music, film and television have championed the spirit of the warrior for years and rightfully so," he said.
"The purpose isn't to create the real feeling of combat and the horrors of war, but to create entrainment that appeals to someone wanting to explore that fantasy.
"It's the same starry eyed admiration that made me join the military and pursue that path for almost 15 years. It first started with a desire to explore that world, so I get the appeal."
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