How can Ubisoft deliver a new brand of crazy in the Himalayas?
Far Cry 4 didn’t seem like as big a shock to us when it was finally confirmed as, say, Batman: Arkham Knight or even Halo 5: Guardians (especially since the latter was already revealed to be releasing next year).
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Far Cry 4 is that it was announced for both current and next gen consoles. It’s taking place in the Himalayas within the fictional region of Kyrat and sees you play as Ajay Ghale as he gets caught up in a civil war, fighting against a despotic monarch.
"The Himalayan aspect will hopefully introduce some new navigation mechanics like rock-climbing. If Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall proved anything, it's that typical first person shooter movement is for losers."
It sounds incredibly similar to Far Cry 3 as well. Hoyt is the big bad, Vaas is his main man and you need to liberate a whole island of berry-sniffers. While the game was dominated by overtones of “nothing is what it seems” and some odd mysticism mixed in hallucinogenic insanity, as Jason Brody descends down a path of madness not unlike brash heroism, it didn’t really do much beyond giving us a big beautiful playground to mess about in.
That’s why we’re upbeat about Far Cry 4. There’s no doubt that we’ll see our range of areas to capture, radio towers to unlock, items to craft, weapons to unlock and upgrades, foes to assassinate and much more, we’re hoping that Ubisoft takes the franchise a bit further than “Assassin’s Creed meets Far Cry”. We’ve heard enough about the definition of insanity – now we’re interested in seeing what lies in the abyss.
The Himalayan aspect will hopefully introduce some new navigation mechanics like rock-climbing. If Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall proved anything, it’s that typical first person shooter movement is for losers. Heck, even Call of Duty has realized and Advanced Warfare will be working to implementing EXO Suits into its multiplayer to offer players more freedom of movement during combat. This isn’t to say that Far Cry 4 requires you to call down your Titan four minutes into a mission or even parkour with a jetpack but some new movement options would be appreciated.
Perhaps there can be areas within Far Cry 4 that are only accessible via pick axes and mountain climbing gear. You’ll have to combine your rappelling and wall-running skills to properly reach these areas while repelling attacks by foes. The new synchronization points can also probably be accessed using your mountain climbing gear. Either way, if this feature does come to pass, it will offer some brand new ways to approach combat and navigation.
And frankly, any game that gives us the chance to hook onto an unsuspecting enemy below and then jump off the other end, thus hanging the poor schmuck in the process is one we can get behind.
"Far Cry 4 will have a civil war raging in Kyrat and it could feature more than just the rebels and King Pagan Min."
Speaking of navigation, we’ll need other ways to get around Kyrat and impose our ass-kicking agenda. Riding on elephants sounds like fun, but you know what we really want? Skis and snowboards. This can be mixed in with the first person shooting to create several downhill firefights. Throw in the parachute to make those wicked jumps and falloffs easier and we’d be sold on the idea.
While Far Cry 3 did create the illusion of choice in allowing you to go wherever you wanted and do anything, you were still working towards the rebels’ cause. There were several threads that splintered from this narrative, taking us to underground ruins, abandoned ships, fortified structures and much more. With Far Cry 4, we’d like some more freedom in deciding what missions we pursue.
We’d like to fight the good fight but also be allowed the privilege of evil every now and then. Far Cry 4 will have a civil war raging in Kyrat and it could feature more than just the rebels and King Pagan Min. There could be various factions that you can fulfil tasks for to earn different perks and upgrades. If nothing else, it actually delivers freedom rather than just giving the impression of it.
It also felt all too easy to max out your perks and skills in Far Cry 3, to the point where there was little motivation to conquer all the camps or complete all the jobs present in the area. Far Cry 4 could allow us some special weapons or upgrades that can only be obtained should you complete missions for certain NPCs/factions. Less grinding and more missions – possibly exploring the back-story of Kyrat in an interactive fashion beyond all the journals and audio logs from the previous game.
"How about giving us the option to trigger avalanches in Far Cry 4?"
The new visual engine will hopefully be used to implement some new graphical tweaks as well. The ability to complete torch fields and start forest fires in Far Cry 3 was one of the coolest features we’ve ever seen in a first person shooter. How about giving us the option to trigger avalanches in Far Cry 4? We’d also appreciate shooting out buildings and completely collapsing houses down cliffs. Explosions are great but like Far Cry 3, it’s about the small stuff.
The point behind these ideas is to ensure that Far Cry 4 isn’t just Far Cry 3 with snow. The gameplay should fit the environment its set in while giving us something wholly new and intriguing to experience. The above aspects will introduce some new dangers to go with the overall chaotic nature being teased.
We have no idea what Ubisoft Montreal (plus four other studios) could do to up the ante but if the definition of insanity has taught us anything, doing the same thing over and over again doesn’t quite spell success.