On October 6th Ubisoft announced the next release in the Far Cry series: Far Cry Primal. Unlike its predecessors, which have all been set in the present day, Far Cry Primal is set in the Stone Age. As a caveman at the birth of history, you’ll have to combat wildlife and enemy tribes in order to survive.
The setting of this new game means no guns or vehicles. That fact already had some fans of the series leery, but Ubisoft’s Community Manager Jason Paradise recently confirmed there would be no multiplayer. The complete lack of innovation makes it appear that Far Cry Primal could be a big step backward for Ubisoft.
The first Far Cry (released 2004) was a good start to open world gameplay. The paths were still obvious, and when the player went indoors, gameplay devolved back into a more linear design. Far Cry 2 (released 2008) was leaps and bounds above the first. A massive 50km (19 square miles) sandbox, first aid, physical maps, and vehicle repair all provided a deep, engaging experience. Far Cry 3 (released 2012) brought RPG elements and stealth takedown combos. While Far Cry 4 (released 2014) added the grappling hook, it also felt like a rushed release only two years after Far Cry 3, and many players complained it was too similar to the previous game.
Far Cry Primal’s release could be compared to that of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Both games were released shortly after their predecessors, with Blood Dragon released only five months after Far Cry 3, and Primal hitting shelves just a little over a year after Far Cry 4. Many animals from Far Cry 4 will obviously be reskinned and used in Primal, such as the elephant in Far Cry 4 and the mammoth we see in the trailers for Primal, and many of the fans worry that the similarities won’t stop there. The lack of co-op gameplay may be the biggest departure, though Paradise gave his assurances that the decision came down to Ubisoft wishing to focus on the story campaign:
“We are focusing entirely on creating the best possible Far Cry experience for our fans. Bringing the Stone Age to life and providing players with a strong gameplay experience based off of the Far Cry legacy meant we had to reinvent our core gameplay loop. This was definitely not a small undertaking. Our focus was on delivering this fantasy which required clear priorities for the team. Therefore, in the early stages of the project, we made the difficult choice of focusing our efforts on the single player experience.”
In today’s gaming environment, a single player game generally gets a single playthrough before the gamer moves on. By adding a multiplayer aspect, even just to complicate the core game, gamers may have been more likely to pre-order and purchase the game full price in order to play it with their friends. Without multiplayer or co-op, many gamers will simply wait until the game goes on sale.
Of course, not all fans are upset by the prospect of a game that focuses entirely on single player. For many, Paradise’s promise of focusing on making the core game the best it can be is enough to excuse the lack of multiplayer. The ability to tame animals, ride them, and craft your own weapons also appeals to a wide range of players that have grown weary of the constant run-and-gun playstyle of the previous games.
Far Cry Primal is available for pre-order now. It will release on PS4 and Xbox One Feb 23rd, 2016 and PC in March.