Back in 2012, Ubisoft Montreal reinvigorated their long-running first-person shooter franchise Far Cry with the release of Far Cry 3. The game earned widespread critical acclaim and, perhaps more importantly to the developer, was a commercial success. Exact sales figures are unknown, but Ubisoft confirmed shipping over ten million units worldwide by October 2014. November 2014 saw the release of Far Cry 4, which boasted similar critical and commercial success.
This led many to believe that Far Cry would be switching to a two year development cycle, with Far Cry 5 set for release in the winter of 2016. Instead, Ubisoft surprised fans with the announcement of Far Cry Primal, a spinoff game set in 10,000 BC. The game will transport players back to the Stone Age, a brutal time well before the weapons and vehicles the series has come to be known for.
Ubisoft has released the above trailer, which focuses on the narrative of the game. Players will take control of the hunter Takkar, a member of the Wenja tribe and the sole survivor of his hunting group. The Wenja tribe is scattered across Oros and in desperate need of help, attacked on both sides by the cannibalistic Udam tribe and the fire-worshipping Izila tribe. Takkar must travel throughout the land of Oros and reunite his tribe, standing with them against their enemies and conquering the land for themselves.
The developers have made a great effort to present a realistic take on the time period, going so far as to hire linguistics professors from the University of Kentucky to recreate the language. Proto-Indo-European is a language that has been dead for thousands of years, but is the root of many modern languages. The linguists took on the task of not only rebuilding the language, but creating multiple versions for the different tribes to speak.
When the details about Far Cry Primal first emerged, there was a question of where the game fit with the rest of franchise. The developer confirmed that there would be no multiplayer component, a feature present in the series since it launched in 2004. Then came the news that there would be no co-op in the game, leaving many to wonder if Far Cry Primal was a step backwards for the series in terms of innovation. It was likened to Far Cry Blood Dragon, a standalone expansion to Far Cry 3.
That said, the effort being put into this title differentiates it from Blood Dragon. Where Blood Dragon was a fun, comedic adventure, Primal looks to be something more. The team at Ubisoft is trying to bring a long-dead culture back to life as realistically as possible, within the confines of their game. Narrative Director Jean-Sebastien Decant confirms that while the team is focused on making a fun experience, they also want to teach players something about the history of the world we live in.
This renewed focus on world-building and story promises the best narrative the series has offered to date, more than making up for the game’s lack of multiplayer components. Should the team succeed in their efforts, the experience can only improve the inevitable Far Cry 5.
Far Cry Primal will release on February 23rd 2016 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and on March 1st for PC.