Releasing just 10 months ago, Far Cry 4 still feels fresh in our minds and certainly on our system hard drives. This is why it's such a surprise that today Ubisoft unveiled an entirely new - and entirely different - new installment in the series titled Far Cry Primal.
Ubisoft has very much embraced the strategy of rapidly launching new spins on existing, established properties in recent years so perhaps this shouldn't be too much of a surprise. That's especially true for Far Cry which has served as a bit of a secret weapon for the developer and publisher since Far Cry 3 was fully unveiled back at E3 2011, a show-stealing presentation no one saw coming.
So, just like the Tom Clancy military tactical shooter franchise Ghost Recon went from near-present day to future warfare with its last few games and - as announced at E3 2015 - is coming back to present with a completely new spin in Ghost Recon Wildlands (the franchise's first open-world game and first drug cartel themed title), so to will Far Cry Primal do something different. Much more different.
Far Cry has brought gamers to islands, the jungle and the mountains, including a retro-arcade styled experience in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, but Primal aims to take you back to the Stone Age, back to 10,000 BC. Players take control of an experienced hunter, the last of his hunting party, named Takkar and will explore and scavenge the world of Oros. The difference with Far Cry Primal to previous games in the series, is that humans are the prey this time, and there will not be a grenade launcher to help.
Jean-Christophe Guyot, Ubisoft creative director:
“The Stone Age is the perfect setting for a Far Cry game. Far Cry usually puts you at the edge of the known world, in a beautiful, lawless and savage frontier. The Stone Age is, in a way, the very first frontier for humankind; it’s the time when humans put a stick in the ground and claimed land for their own, the time when we started climbing the food chain. That came with conflict, against other humans of course, but also against nature itself.”
The trailer depicts a game design that seemingly blends the beautiful large environments and diverse wildlife and crafting systems of Far Cry 3 and 4 with the more wild survival games like Rust and ARK: Survival Evolved. From the official details released by Ubisoft so far, the basic formula of the game remains the same. There are enemy tribes and enemy outposts to capture. You'll have to master fire and learn to hunt large beasts (dire-wolves, sabre-tooth tigers and woolly mammoths) to progress. Dan Hay, executive producer, Ubisoft:
“The interesting thing about Far Cry is that it’s flexible. So when a team proposed to explore the idea of a Far Cry taking place during the Stone Age, we just said ‘let’s hear it!’ And the more we heard about it, the more we realized how much of a damn good idea it actually was.
Far Cry Primal is described as a single player experience and there's no mention (yet) of co-op or multiplayer modes. Given the relatively quick release of this title however, making it clear Ubisoft is pushing towards annualizing this series a la Assassin's Creed, we're not sure what to expect outside of the main campaign but we hope it builds upon and improves the fun co-op offerings of Far Cry 3 and 4.
Far Cry Primal releases on PS4 and Xbox One on February 23, 2016 and for PC in March 2016.