Far Cry Primal is certainly a departure from anything the long-running shooter series has done before, completely abandoning guns in favor of bows and a healthy dose of the supernatural. But despite these changes, Ubisoft is adamant that it will fit within the franchise due to its tendency to be an “anecdote factory.”
Much like EA’s “Only in Battlefield” moments, the Far Cry series has also offered crazy, individualized stories to tell your friends over the water cooler the next day. In Far Cry 4, for example, this might have meant hunting elephants from a gyrocopter with a grenade launcher. Ubisoft’s Paula Jouyaux says that similar experiences have already been common in play-testing for Primal.
“Sometimes, you just push a little button,” Jouyaux says in an interview with the UbiBlog. “You’re gong to push the cat, which is going to run after the tiger, which runs after the wolf, which scares the other animals nearby, which are going to run away, which then attack a human, who then gets super scared and sets them on fire.” That certainly sounds like Far Cry.
Though the Primal teams sounds like they were concerned about how well the new approach would be received, this drastic change of setting may be exactly what the series needs to stay fresh. Although it was an excellent game, Far Cry 4 was more or less Far Cry 3 in a different setting, and according to Jouyaux some of the basic “gameplay loop” elements found in those two games are changing for Primal. Animals are more powerful, which should cut down on baddies slaughtering the beasts you just let loose from cages. Melee is now more effective as well. Gone are the days of shock-and-awe tactics on Far Cry, though they’ll almost certainly make a return in a modern-day sequel.
“It’s your ability to have a real impact in the world and to see the impact you had in this world translated in from of your eyes. I think that’s what we can never lose as a franchise,” Jouyaux says. “That’s what we do that is unique.”
Far Cry Primal releases for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on February 23, with a PC release following on March 1.