Scriptwriter Olivia Alexander Interview – Far Cry: New Dawn

With every new Far Cry game, the teams at Ubisoft working on it always have ideas for new stories, characters, settings, and even time periods. Through DLC and standalone spinoffs, many of these get explored – and with them – new gameplay mechanics and unique narratives. is the latest example of this seemingly limitless sandbox potential.

Ubisoft developers have told me they wanted to do a Vietnam game and players got a version of that as Far Cry 5 DLC, while others told me they wanted to see more sci-fi which came in the form of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Far Cry 5’s Mars DLC. A lot of Far Cry 5’s team wanted to explore a post-apocalyptic setting and the game gave them the perfect setup – a story that foretold a nuclear fallout.

That’s the backdrop to Far Cry: New Dawn which takes place 17 years later in the same Hope County, Montana setting of Far Cry 5. Society and its infrastructure is in ruins, but there’s something familiar. It’s a new beginning, and that’s very important to Scriptwriter Olivia Alexander who we had a chance to interview after demoing the title at Ubisoft Montreal.

Scriptwriter Olivia Alexander Far Cry New Dawn

Ubisoft’s Olivia Alexander: I’m one of many script writers of a team of script writers on the narrative.

Olivia Alexander: So, I worked on Far Cry 5. And as we were rounding on Far Cry 5, a lot of concepts were coming up for Far Cry: New Dawn. I was there from the beginning. For conceptualizing a lot of the world, researching sort of scientific places where that would come from. And sort of building villains and highwaymen as their threat and their philosophy.

Olivia Alexander: We definitely wanted something that didn’t look like other kinds of facets of post-apocalyptic media that’s out there. Generally, we wanted, we based our villains and kind of their pirate nature on what land pirates would look like in that kind of way. You know, pirates of the sea dress a certain way for specific reasons. These guys dress a certain way like motorsport for a very specific reason. They are very much here for a good time and not a long time. They are loud, they’re colorful, they take whatever they want, and they give nothing back. And that comes very much at the expense of the places they invade.

Olivia Alexander: Yeah. Mickey and Lou are wonderful, because neither one is like a lieutenant to the other. They are co-leaders, like a single iron fist.

Olivia Alexander: They have a specific dynamic that’s between them. That’s something that’s definitely, you’re going to see more of in the game. But it’s also something we really wanted to explore with twin villains. Because the thing with twins, is that the power dynamic is always changing, always shifting.  And even though they’re two different, fully fledged people, with two different brains, they’re on the same side on a lot of things that really matter.

Olivia Alexander: Yeah.  There are many people in prosperity that, well not many. There are a significant amount of people in Prosperity who survived. Not all of them did. Because it is a horrible cataclysm, that kind of nuclear fallout.  But the ones who did were very much making a life for themselves. They were getting to that point where they don’t necessarily have to survive anymore. They can start living.  And of course, the highwaymen heard about that.  And they rolled into take all of their hard earned, you know, supplies and way of living. And they drew back to Prosperity to protect this place from that.  Prosperity is this little sort of safe haven that they’ve built. But it’s only going to last if the player comes and helps them.

Far Cry New Dawn Screenshot New Eden Hunt

Olivia Alexander: I can tell you that Joseph Seed survived. I want to leave the rest for gameplay and for kind of exploration in that way.

Olivia Alexander: So, on the Far Cry brand, something we had wanted to do for a long time was a post-apocalyptic setting. And we also knew we wanted to do it in a way that was visually very different and thematically very different.  This was definitely a way to kind of do a standalone project that fulfilled that dream for the brand.

Olivia Alexander: Well, honestly, I know that it was something we wanted to make a little bit more seamless, a little bit more approachable as a UI for the player. For specific reasons and placement and things like that, there’s definitely other members of the team that would have a more fleshed out answer for you. But I know that there was a strong effort to kind of make it more palatable, make it more approachable.

Olivia Alexander: Well, Far Cry games are often ensemble pieces, even if they don’t really feel like that right off the bat. And with many ensemble pieces, usually the way it works is that the main character, in an ensemble piece, is a bit of a blank slate. And they inform themselves over the people around them. It’s a bit like what we do in real life. But the people around them, the characters are so colorful that they surround themselves with, it really helps to sort of inform what kind of person you are as that blank slate. Like, this is how this person reacts in this situation. Do I think that’s right or wrong? Am I going to condone that? Or am I going to go somewhere else?

Olivia Alexander: Doing things that are unexpected?

Olivia Alexander: Both. Because oftentimes in writing missions, when a character makes a choice that’s unexpected, usually it informs gameplay that’s unexpected. Without giving too much away with Nana’s mission. She is definitely– She leans into a stereotype until she doesn’t. She kind of uses rage as her own kind of a weapon to make people think she’s one way. And really she kind of behaves another. So…

Olivia Alexander: Sure. Yeah. She was an extreme tourism guide. So, she took young rich folks into the woods and they would get cold and cry. She’d laugh at them. And basically, she knows the woods like the back of her hand. She’s a crack shot. And she’s definitely hit an age where she doesn’t really give a crap anymore. She says whatever she wants, she does whatever she wants, she dresses however she wants. And that makes her a really, really fun companion to have. She has sort of made herself the player’s grandma. Whether that means, you know, kind of nurturing or smacked upside the head.


Olivia Alexander: Yes.

Olivia Alexander: The sheer beauty of it. It’s one thing to kind of — The themes of a post-apocalyptic world are already so dark. The themes of New Dawn aren’t necessarily about the death of an old world. They’re about the birth of a new one. And I think that’s something we can all use right now.

Screen Rant: Thanks very much.

 releases February 15, 2019 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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