lets Ubisoft explore one of the many crazy settings and ideas the developers have always wanted to play with in the first-person sandbox series – the post-apocalypse. And with Far Cry 5, they were finally able to set it up with the game’s main ending seeing a nuclear war begin.
17 years later, after nuclear fallout and drastic weather conditions, there was a Super Bloom and new life began. Far Cry: New Dawn isn’t about the ending of what came before, it’s about new beginning, and that theme applies to many of game’s core design pillars. Far Cry: New Dawn embraces RPG elements, from tiered enemies to color-coded gear that can level up. There are even health bars on enemies for the first time.
I had the opportunity to sit down Jean-Sebastien Decant, Creative Director of Far Cry: New Dawn, after the game was first unveiled, to ask about the new direction of the series, and how New Dawn is a direct sequel to Far Cry 5 with lots of new features, but familiar locations and characters.
Ubisoft’s Jean-Sebastien Decant: Thank you!
Jean-Sebastien Decant: It was during the development of Far Cry 5. We were toying with different ideas for the ending. And the scenario of a doomsday was the most attractive one. And at the same time, we were very happy with some of the characters and some of the actors we’re working with. And we thought that it would be super interesting to be able to actually continue that in a way. And on the other hand, you can’t imagine how much we were willing to do a post-apocalyptic Far Cry. It’s been years. And so, then we had an opportunity to kill to birds with one stone. We create this ending, that’s the end of the world, but the beginning of a new story which leads us to a post-apocalyptic one.
JS Decant: Right now, it’s a New Dawn. It’s this thing. We have Expeditions and that’s it.
JS Decant: We get inspired by doing research on the post-apocalyptic setting and so the ‘makeshift concept came bursting into our face, that led us to decide to do this idea of gathering elements to make this makeshift vehicles and weapons.
On the other hand, I think we wanted to go deeper in the expanse trying to find more depth in terms of gameplay and combat and challenges. So, that’s when we started to go toward this, I would say, light RPG approach. How could we create more challenge and have our enemies lasting longer? We need to have more protection and everything. And we could also try and have our players be engaged with different weapons rather than sticking to one during the whole game. And then when you get these two together, you get levels for weapons, never for enemies. And that was also one of the big changes.
JS Decant: Yes, absolutely.
JS Decant: Yes. When we developed this level of efficiency for weapons. When we develop these gaps — these enemies that are of increasing resistance and efficiency, some people on the design team said we should actually indicate the proficiency of the different things. And I was very against it at first. Because to me, it was going to break the immersion in the Far Cry game. But then they snuck it in, and one day I played the build, and I start to see that. And it was actually super fun. To me, it added a layer of relentlessness. And you knew it was even more frantic with the numbers. And even more pleasing. So, we said, “Okay, let’s go in, let’s do that. It’s making the system much more readable. And super fun to play.”
JS Decant: It’s going to be very difficult, yes. You’re going to get crushed.
JS Decant: We have some higher-level weapons that are delivered in specific missions. But for the rest, it’s really about upgrading your base to have access to the different tiers of weapons. And then it’s hunting, fishing, and gathering elements. Getting the Antenna in the outpost for the home base. And also doing the Expeditions to get the rarest resources.
JS Decant: Yes, yes.
JS Decant: When we tried to find new angles or bring back some that were left on the side during Far Cry 5. So, there are new perks that are attached to new features that I’m not going to mention right now. But for instance, you know, the knife takedown? It was one of the archetypal elements that you were progressing in Far Cry 5 and 4 and Primal. And we really liked it, felt it was emblematic, and we wanted it back. And it also works very well with the levels of enemies. So, if you’re level one takedown and the enemy’s level three, you won’t be able to surprise attack him. And then we have also some, interesting perks attached to some other things that I can’t talk about it.
JS Decant: So, each weapon is unique, but the idea of bayonets, we’ve applied it to a few different weapons. Yes, absolutely.
JS Decant: The context of the game is a post-apocalyptic disaster. It’s not only Hope County that has been affected, but everywhere else. So, we were excited on the idea of visiting other places in the United States, 17 years after. The Expeditions are snatch and grab missions. So, you go there with a helicopter. You need to find the package, and you need the most resources, and then you have to extract. We picked places that would feel very, very different from Hope County. So, it’s the West Coast, it’s the bayou, it’s also the canyons. And then we have different missions, that all encompass very iconic elements. Like an old theme park has been destroyed. We also have an aircraft carrier and some other things. Even surprises in connecting with other Ubisoft games.
JS Decant: Yes.
JS Decant: Absolutely. The whole game is playable. And you can share the loot that you get. Yes.
JS Decant: You will progress your inventory. But, if you are not to mission on the host, it won’t be unlocked on the client.
JS Decant: Yes. Absolutely. The whole getting resources is shared.
JS Decant: The rock? Yes, yes. Absolutely.
JS Decant: That’s true, we didn’t show it.
JS Decant: You’re right, you’re right.
JS Decant: In this game? It’s the Saw Blade.
JS Decant: This one, especially the saw blade, when it’s level four, I think, it throws three different blades at the same time. And they go, and they rebound, and they’re very efficient. And they are attracted by enemies, but also by explosive materials. So, it’s always a surprise when you shoot with this thing.
JS Decant: Ah, no. It depends. It’s really this one as we made it entirely for the game. We tried different approaches for it. But for the rest, it’s more like one-off weapons. But then you can still invest resources in one weapon that you like, to increase slightly, its efficiency.
JS Decant: Absolutely. Yes. But there are often low-level weapons.
JS Decant: It’s not going to be as good as level two or three. Yes. Absolutely. But you steal. If there’s an RPG or a sniper rifle, you can take it.
JS Decant: We’ve had animal pets in Far Cry since Primal. There were a lot of canines, felines, and bears. And then we took that and refined it in Far Cry 5.
Me, I was adamant for a new animal. I wanted something that we didn’t see before. And the idea of the boar came out… What if we could have something that’s super dangerous? That could like blow up cars, smash into cars, destroy five characters at the same time, and be cool at the same time. And there’s something grotesque about the boar, you know? It’s cute, but it’s also quite disgusting to me. It was like, “Okay, let’s do that.”
JS Decant: Yes. There’s a lot of clothes that are unlocks from missions. So, when you do missions, you’re going to get outfits, depending on the subject of the mission. So, if you’re a prisoner in the Highwaymen, you the suits of a prisoner. But we also have plenty of crazy… suits that you unlock by playing outpost. Each time you play the outpost, you get a piece of the suit. And in order to compete it, you need to play it a certain amount of times.
JS Decant: Yes, the Escalation System. Yes.
JS Decant: If you want to secure the outpost, like for instance your progressing through to the world or you like to have the teleport at that point, it’s great to then go and be safe. Then you can keep it. They will never take it. If you decide to scavenge that place, to get the resources that were there, and leave it back. It’s only if you decide. If you don’t, it’s going to be your place forever. But if you want to get more resources and tackle new challenges, then you leave it be. You get the loot, they come back, and you can fight back.
JS Decant: Yes.
JS Decant: Yes.
JS Decant: No, it’s incremental.
JS Decant: Yes.
JS Decant: Absolutely. Yes. And we also change the layout. We’ve created that one square kilometer map with lots of buildings and opportunities. And we change the place where the package is. But also, the starting point and the ending point. And then we also put enemies that are more challenging.
JS Decant: An example is in terms of lighting and SFX. We can push the game a little bit further than what we can do usually. And in terms of enemies, when you reach level three, we have like a cap. It’s difficult to input more than 12 to 15 characters in a space in the open world. When you reach level three you see that.
JS Decant: I think it’s difficult to have one thing, but the transformed world. We worked very hard to create that post-apocalyptic setting that would feel very dangerous, but at the same time very inviting, and lush and colorful. That was the thing we wanted to go to. And it was the most important thing. After, makeshift, and the home base, and the Expeditions.
releases February 15, 2019 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.