“When tyranny is law, revolution is order,” boasts Far Cry 6
’s Clara Garcia
, leader of the Libertad
-- a revolutionist guerrilla group fighting the oppressive rule of proverbial cucumber-in-charge, Anton Castillo
. You know, the new Far Cry big bad you fell in love with because of that cool, calculating demeanor portrayed so brilliantly in the game’s reveal cinematic by Giancarlo Esposito
, The Boys
, The Mandalorian
). A despot with an iron grip on the fictional nation of Yara
. An island nation you, as protagonist Dani Rojas
, has called home your whole life.
It’s in this simple script-flip of tyranny as law and revolution as order that the metaphorical tone for Far Cry 6 is subtly revealed; freedom this time around is handed to the player by means of choice through
oppression. Systems grow from a rigid framework of systemic impediments that affect your everyday life, and the lives of those around you. And this oppression isn’t a cast shadow, it is a literal stranglehold on the common person; poverty and death loom as endemic, and those who seek to remove themselves from the rot of this dictatorship risk bargaining freedom for example, of which they will be made.
"One that will see you grow as a walking poster-child for the guerrilla-based freedom-fighter fantasy...”
And what makes all of the above as your playground in Far Cry 6 so endearing, in a twisted kind of way, is that Dani is a “young military dropout” who was “born and raised in Yara’s capital city”. This means you’re something of a regime turncoat, but that your understanding of your surroundings, from a logistical perspective, puts you in a position of power -- one that will see you grow as a walking poster-child for the guerrilla-based freedom-fighter fantasy Ubisoft Toronto
so desperately wants us to experience.
But you can’t experience any such fantasy without first building a world in which to play it all out. And while the Cuba and communism nods are absolutely on-the-nose, Ubisoft still hasn’t shied from flexing its own flair for enabling player-enacted game-world oppression (scripts flipped, and all that), turning the tumult-laden Yara into something believable yet wholly videogame in nature.
“True Yarans have long memories”
“With Yara, we really wanted to build the notion of it being an entire nation,” explains Far Cry 6 world director, Ben Hall. “And that was really the thing that was going to [set] Yara apart from [what has] been done before. So we wanted to take a look at all of the elements that really make a country feel like a country, and make sure that they were represented within the landscape of Yara.
“We set out with this ambition to build upon everything that's excellent about Far Cry games, to continue that trend of making beautiful worlds that are incredible to explore… filled with environmental storytelling that really helps tell, and sell, the story of everything else; the events that are going on inside
the game. So we've continued to build on the incredible work of dense and beautiful biomes that you can find throughout the franchise, [only] even more for Yara.”
"That shouldn’t yet be taken as a key boast, given we need to see just how Ben and his team has filled the added real-estate from a discovery, gameplay and emergent perspective...”
And so far it is gorgeous. Running on what can only be a suped-up Dunia 2 Engine, Far Cry 6 sports the largest playspace ever in the series. And while that shouldn’t yet be taken as a key boast, given we need to see just how Ben and his team has filled the added real-estate from a discovery, gameplay and emergent perspective, we can at least look forward to the game’s numerous biomes being large, diverse and wholly fleshed out in keeping with the notion of making Yara feel
like a legitimate nation.
“[So] you'll be able to find lush, dense jungles that have humidity hanging in the air,” Ben adds enthusiastically. [And] through those you find different pathways, and [even] make your own pathways through... we've also got these dry kind of arid magotes that are referenced from the landscapes that we've seen in the Caribbean, and they contrast heavily with the beautiful beaches and the palms and the greenery that you can see in certain spots, too.
“So the world changes as you travel through it, and you get to feel these different elements of the world. And then on top of that, we've now infused these urban areas, these decaying urban settlements that really are the places where the [old] stories are told; where the people lived, where the people worked, that were [the] Yaran civilians when Yara wasn't under this dictatorship. So that's what we've really done that's different in Yara.”
“Castillo has kept you an orphan”
Like Assassin’s Creeds Odyssey
, the male and female options where character choice is concerned, serve up slightly different performances offering unique playthroughs depending on your choice of gender or more aptly, your choice of identity. But across each performance what we can expect to discover is a Save the Cat-empowered darkness to Dani, one where the character reflects an enjoyment for the work you’re putting them through in toppling Castillo from his perch.
“While Dani does not start out as a guerrilla, they slowly realise that they have a natural talent for revolution, and even enjoy it,” explains Nicola Jones
, associate producer with the narrative team at Ubisoft Toronto in presenting Far Cry 6 to a small contingent of games media. “There is an adrenaline rush of fighting a guerrilla war against overwhelming odds.”
This isn’t something we haven’t experienced before. Jason Brody comes to mind when you consider how he embraced the role of ‘saviour’, but in Dani’s case the stakes are much higher, and the threat entirely at home. It’s here Ubisoft looks to have broken its own ‘fish out of water’ protagonist trope, to a degree, and we’re really hoping seemingly simple things like being able to holster your weapon so as not to look like a psycho every time you confront anyone -- friend or foe -- actually fundamentally shifts the overall experience.
"You might end up in a huge fight with the military that results in the elite forces coming and getting involved, and it ends up taking all of your resources to fight your way out of it...”
“The holstering system is something that we've added for Far Cry 6 for exactly that reason, which is that we wanted Dani, as a local Yaran, to be able to blend in,” Ben reveals. “To be able to utilise that as something that's a positive. The notion was really going at one point around this concept, which is [that] the world doesn't revolve around you
. It's happening, it's functioning, and there are other people in the world that can also be creating chaos, and there are moments where we can experience this with holstering your weapon. You can actually see the military oppressing somebody on the side of the road and decide if you want to get involved with that or not. You can decide if you want to help them out or not.
“Helping them out might lead to something,” he continues. “It might lead to good things, it might lead to bad things. You might end up in a huge fight with the military that results in the elite forces coming and getting involved, and it ends up taking all of your resources to fight your way out of it. Or it might end up giving you intel that's going to help you later on at some other point. But being able to holster your weapon is important, so we could give the player that sensation that this is a country and it is happening around you, this revolution is happening, and it's up to you where and when you want to get involved with the fight, so that you can feel like a guerrilla fighter.”
“Postcards from hell”
The open-world mantra, specifically to the Triple-A devs out there, is “living postcard”. It was an idea first vocalised by Rockstar
, but has since been adapted -- and touted -- across the development board, from games like The Witcher 3 to Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and beyond. In Far Cry 6 this concept is loud and proud, but also comes with a literal (digital) bang.
Yara is a stunning “crown jewel” of an isle nestled in the Carribean
, but Castillo’s reign as El Presidente and the ongoing revolution his oppression has spawned means this living postcard is now clawing itself from the inside out. But there’s a fine line when it comes to capturing such man-made chaos while also presenting Yara itself as a living, breathing space. But this is a feat Ben and co seem to have pulled off. At least in what we’ve seen thus far, but Ben says it goes deeper than just shiny visuals.
“We wanted to push the sensation
of the biome that you're in, within the landscape,” he explains. “[And] when you transition [into a biome], things change within the biome in terms of fog rolling in and rolling out, which changes visibility. Obviously we've got a full day-night cycle, which is kind of expected these days. We've brought weather to Far Cry 6, so we have everything from dryness, through to light rain and then full-on thunderstorms.
"There's been a colossal amount of development done by the great talent that we've got working on our engine teams to continue to push and squeeze more out of [Dunia 2]...”
“I can [also] talk a little bit about what we've done with the game engine. I'm not going to go super deep into details. We are still using Dunia 2 engine, which is the same engine that was used for Far Cry 5, but there's been a colossal amount of development done by the great talent that we've got working on our engine teams to continue to push and squeeze more out of [Dunia 2]. Introducing new features so that we can do things like breakable trees and being able to build these urban environments within the landscape and make it all fit, and all happen at the same time.
“When it comes to the game itself, we wanted to make sure that we built an experience that's fantastic for everyone, whether or not they've moved on to the latest and the greatest console. So when it comes to the new consoles it will be 60 FPS at 4K, which is what we've been pushing for, but making sure that we do [still have] a great experience for those people that are still using the older generation consoles as well.”
“Come hell or high water”
With any open-world game, emergent gameplay is where the true golden ticket lies, and we’re hoping to all get up that Far Cry 6 doubles down on its efforts to fill the massive world with disparate things to do. From our exposure to the game there’s a bustling economy and a perk system tied heavily to weapons, gear and how you manage your loadouts. Treasure hunting, or a hide and seek gameplay option can be seen hidden in some of the assets we’ve had a look at and customisation is a huge component of the game for all intents and purposes.
"But what I will say is that the open-world and the exploration of the open-world is a huge part of the economy system...”
“Yeah, so there's various different economies that exist within the world,” Ben confirms. “I'm not going to go super deep into the details of those today, we're going to have much more to talk about on those in the coming months. But what I will say is that the open-world and the exploration of the open-world is a huge part of the economy system, and the way in which, as a guerrilla, finding those resources and utilising those resources to build Dani out and build out your gear and build up your weapons and improve the things that you've got, is a very key part of Far Cry 6. We really want to push on this sensation of a guerrilla fantasy, which is all about the balance of power, and the fact that the balance of power has shifted completely over to Anton with his military, which is fully kitted out. They've got their armour, they've got their vehicles, they've got tanks that they can use against the guerrillas, and the guerrillas really don't have anything.
“So we really wanted the player to feel that sensation early on that you're in the jungle with pretty much nothing, and it's the things around you that you're going to have to utilise, then working with people like Cortez to build out these crazy weapons and these backpacks that are going to allow you to take that fight to Anton.
“[With emergent play] we definitely utilise similar elements of that philosophy with Far Cry 6,” Ben concludes. “There's always this sensation of, “oh, what's around the corner?”, or “what's just over that ridge?” And tapping into some of the real-life landscapes that we were able to reference from the Caribbean. And then on top of that, we've got the guerrilla paths, which is our network of paths that lead throughout the landscape. And we're able to guide the player to some extent, with some of these guerrilla paths to some of the best vantage points, to some of the nicest vistas in the game, and allow them to really experience the breathtaking world of Yara.
“[And] when it comes to exploring the world of Yara, we very much looked at how we can expose different elements of the world to the player. I want to make sure that they feel like they're learning the world with
Dani. So Dani is a local to Yara, but they grew up in Esperanza
, they don't necessarily know the entire country, so they don't have information at the start of the game on where everything is. So there's a huge push to the player to go and explore, to go and find things, to go and look around the next corner to see what they might find, and especially with this notion of needing to get these things that are out in the open-world, to find the pieces of gear, to find weapons that you can then modify it and make yourself more powerful, really pushes the player to go and look what's on the next ridge.
"On the other side, you can bribe certain members of the military that might be up for taking a few pesos for a bit of information...”
“And then with the guerrilla paths, there's people that you're going to be able to speak to who're going to give you information about other things in the world. So we've also created kind of like these little bread crumbs, so when you're out in the world exploring, you'll come across another guerrilla and they'll be, like, "Hey, Dani!" And you can stop and speak to them, and they might have some information about something nearby, or they might help you out with the mission that you're on; let you know a little piece of intel which is going to help you out. On the other side, you can bribe certain members of the military that might be up for taking a few pesos for a bit of information. And there's other ways that you can, as you explore, there's multiple ways you can find out more about Yara and kind of get drawn into doing other things, not necessarily just always the mission content.”
We’re going to have a lot more on Far Cry 6 as we lead towards release this October 7, so stay tuned to AusGamers for more, but for now, bone up on your croc commands and dream of Yara, and its liberation at your hands.