Tom Clancy’s HAWX gets real in-game satellite imagery

28 Aug 2008

Following hot on the heels of Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell is the latest in the Tom Clancy games series – HAWX – a combat fight simulator with a difference.

The difference is this will be the most realistic combat game to date because the aerial views the fighter sees are real satellite images in a 3D environment.

These satellite images are provide by GeoEye and taken from its commercial satellite known as IKONOS. Missions that involve flying over exotic locations, including Rio de Janeiro, Cape Canaveral and the Middle East, will have the player flying over and around actual snapshots of the lands below them.

The IKONOS was the earth’s first commercial satellite and is used to provide imagery for the US national security, marine transportation and environmental monitoring, so the quality and resolution of in-game images will be second to none.

“High-resolution satellite imaging is moving from the black world of intelligence to the white world of commerce and Tom Clancy’s HAWXwill bring that reality to gamers,” said Mark Brender, vice-president, corporate communications and marketing at GeoEye.

“With video-game graphics becoming more realistic, the use of high-quality photographic ground textures in HAWX adds true photorealism to the air combat experience.”

Games seem to have almost Hollywood-esque budgets these days. The HAWXdevelopment team didn’t simply strike a deal with GeoEye to incorporate its images – it also got advice from the US Geological Survey and the Centre for Earth Resources Observations and Science (USGS/EROS).

This was to ensure that the satellite images it used would blend into a 3D gaming environment as realistically as possible, which involved detailed research into topographical imaging.

Tom Clancy’s HAWX will be released by Ubisoft in the fourth quarter for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 with an estimated retail price of £19 sterling for the PC and £34 sterling for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Pictured: Gameplay from the forthcoming Tom Clancy’s HAWX

By Marie Boran