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The official Far Cry 5 reveal is still a couple days out, but Ubisoft today released the first full-on promotional image for the game, and it is—to put it mildly—provocative.
The image depicts a group of heavily-armed, heavily-bearded men, plus one woman and a wolf, positioned in a very Last Supper-like pose around a table festooned with a slightly-modified US flag—crosses instead of stars—and with a vaguely menacing messiah figure at the center. There are guns and ammo all around, of course, and a badly-beaten man sitting in front, his hands bound and the word "Sinner" scrawled across his back.
Bringing the series to America in what appears to be a very believable context of religious extremism and right-wing survivalists is a bold move. Previous Far Cry games have been set in remote locales crawling with fictional villains (and even mutants at one point—how far it's all come) and were easy to dismiss as pleasantly distant and fully fictional. That may not be so easy with Far Cry 5, which is bound to upset some people—although I think it's the most interesting thing Ubisoft has done with the series since Far Cry 2.
The Far Cry 5 full reveal is set to take place on May 26. Have a look at the full art below.
Ubisoft has rolled out a brief teaser for the recently-revealed FPS Far Cry 5, confirming that the game is headed to the remote, rugged environs of Montana.
The teaser is simply a clip of a young man out for a job through grassy, wind-kissed field and a , and the very homey "Welcome to Hope County, Montana" logo laid overtop. But it jibes very well with a recent leak on Reddit from a self-proclaimed participant "in a focus group in a major metropolitan area" that took place last year, where Ubisoft apparently showed off its ideas for the game.
"The general thrust of this game is that it will take place in present day, and feature the protagonist taking on a Jim Jones or David Koresh-like religious cult in a small town in Montana that's been populated by, essentially, Doomsday-preppers bent on furthering their cause. So, modern-day weaponry and modern-day vehicles, plus a hilly, mountainous backdrop," the post says.
"They showed us some basic promotional videos featuring a heavily—HEAVILY—religious angle to the evil. A person (presumably the protagonist) walking through a town that was completely empty, only to walk into a church to discover the congregation is made up of everyone in town staring in rapt attention at a shirtless lunatic leader brandishing an assault rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other."
The Redditor acknowledged that the information was a year old and so could quite possibly be out of date, but religious extremists taking over an isolated small town does seem like a reasonable basis for a Far Cry-style videogame. And if you're going to do that kind of thing, where better than Montana?
The full Far Cry 5 worldwide reveal is set for May 26, which is this Friday. We'll keep you posted.
Update: The post originally referenced a video of a slightly-polluted Montana river, which unfortunately turns out to be unviewable in the US. I've replaced it with the one above, and if you happen to live elsewhere (or want to check out one of the other three Far Cry 5 teasers that are now online), you can take a shot at Ubisoft's primary YouTube channel.
Ubisoft announced today that four of its biggest franchises will be returning for its 2017-18 fiscal year (which we're currently in, and ends March 31, 2018). Far Cry 5 and The Crew 2 are both on the way, and the oft-delayed South Park: The Fractured But Whole is (hopefully) coming, too. The publisher also teased a new Assassin's Creed, although details—like, for instance, a subtitle—are being held back, possibly for a full-on E3 reveal. (Though Egypt is heavily rumored to be the setting.)
"Over the last three fiscal years, Ubisoft has—with remarkable success—created numerous new brands and rebooted Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in a statement. "These successes have strengthened our visibility for the coming two fiscal years, with a line-up of releases principally comprised of established franchises. In 2017-18 we will see the exciting returns of Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, The Crew, and South Park."
The Crew is probably the one semi-surprise of the bunch: It had something of a rough launch in 2014, and it was actually one of last year's Ubisoft anniversary freebies—not exactly a sign of a highly lucrative money-maker. On the other hand, Ubisoft recently announced that it had hit the 12 million player mark, which is no small feat, and it hasn't given up on the game by any measure either, releasing the cops-and-robbers expansion Calling All Units in November 2016.
It's an ambitious lineup, but a strong FY2017-18 (and beyond) has to be even more important than usual for Ubisoft: The conflict has gone quiet in recent months, but Ubisoft is still facing a possible hostile takeover attempt by Vivendi. The company needs to do everything it can do to bolster its position—and as quickly as it possibly can.
Naturally, details are in very short supply at this early stage, but tweets from Ubisoft UK at least give us some logos to look at.
It was rumored in January, and then effectively confirmed in February, that despite releases in the franchise coming every year since 2009, a new Assassin's Creed game would not come out in 2016. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said at the time that the long-term goal was not to "come back to an annual cycle, but to come back on a regular basis" when the series returned, which it was assumed would happen sometime in 2017. But Tommy Francois, Ubi's vice president of editorial, told IGN that it may take even longer than that to get things back on track.
"We believe alpha for these games needs to be one year before release. We're trying to achieve that. That's super fucking blunt, I don't even know if I'm allowed to say this. This is the goal we're going for: Alpha one year before [release], more quality, more polish," he said. "So if this means biting the [bullet] and not having an Assassin's game, or a Far Cry [in 2017], fuck it."
Getting to an alpha state as quickly as possible is vital, he explained, "because the more time we have for this the more polish we have, the more time we can change, refine, swap systems. You just can't take shortcuts."
He also clarified that the pause isn't an attempt to dodge over-saturation Francois said Far Cry has "only been going up in sales" but strictly a creative decision, to give studios a chance to get away from the usual "Ubisoft open-world formula" and try different things. "I do think we need to break that formula," he said. "This year we've given Far Cry and Assassin's some time to decant, innovate, and polish. The objective behind this is exactly that."
Ubisoft hasn't been shy about delaying other major projects in recent months, either: In August it pushed back two planned Division expansions in order to focus on straightening out the core game, and earlier this month it pushed South Park: The Fractured But Whole, which had been slated for a December release, into early 2017.
Hot on the heels of Fallout 4’s Survival Mode, which brings exhaustion and dehydration back to the world of post-apocalyptic entertainment, Ubisoft have announced that Far Cry Primal [official site] will be getting the survivalist treatment.
The keystone of that survival mode is the change in the exploration, crafting, and difficulty of the game to make it even more realistic. After that, there are options the player can activate to go further.
Survival mode will arrive as part of a free patch on April 12th. We called this earlier in the month, of course, when we made Robert Zak play the game wearing nowt but a loincloth. More details below.
When Far Cry Primal [official site] was unveiled, I shrugged with semi-feigned disinterest, aware that the series has hit milking point, but unable to dismiss the inner teenager tugging at my inner sleeve saying But – but it’s got cavemen and tribes and woolly mammoths and – and you can ride them, and throw spears and stuff! Yes, the prehistoric era taps into a primal fantasy in me, but when that’s overlaid with an advanced radar, an owl endowed with the abilities of a military drone, and heat-vision that conveniently colour-codes every object, footprint and smell, the fantasy kind of tapers off.
By shutting off as many aids and HUD elements as possible, I intended to reclaim the fantasy.
A week later than consoles, because apparently Ubisoft have abandoned that promise already, Far Cry Primal [official site] is out on PC tomorrow. I’ve donned my wolf-skin coat, daubed random lines of paint on my face, and killed some local wildlife (sorry Mrs Primms about Fluffy) in preparation to tell you Wot I Think:>
Last week, in the wake of MGSV opening my eyes to a series I’d long disdained, I shared a quartet of games I now feel I either dismissed out of hand or unreasonably feted. Here’s the rest of that list, though I suspect if I sat down and went through every review I ever wrote over the last 15 years, I’d find quite a few more. I’m not going to do that, because making me read 15 years of my own writing is pretty much the worst thing anyone could ever do to me).
There’s a scene in the new Far Cry Primal [official site] trailer in which the player character instructs his pet owl to eat someone’s face. It’s amazing how inconsequential the lack of vehicles and rocket launchers seems now that the full extent of the animal-taming can be seen. Feed wild beasts and they can be tamed, which leads to big cat snuggling, guard bears and tiger ridin’. Given that sniping the locks off animal cages was my favourite way to take out a baseload of baddies in Far Cry 3, Primal suddenly looks very tasty indeed.