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Feb 19

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Far Cry Primal: Why the Stone Age is a Brutal Battleground

Ryan Clements's Avatar Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 // Social Media Specialist

Next week, players will face the harsh and unforgiving wilderness of the Stone Age in Far Cry Primal on PS4. This gorgeous, open-world adventure follows a desperate hunter in his quest to find his lost people — and keep the hungry wilds at bay.

To celebrate the upcoming launch of Far Cry Primal, we reached out to Creative Director Jean-Christophe Guyot to learn more about Ubisoft’s latest project and how it differs from previous entries in the series (spoilers: it’s quite different).

Far Cry Primal

Q: Describe Far Cry Primal in one sentence.

A: In the prehistoric world of Oros, you will learn to hunt and tame the mega fauna as you climb the savage food chain in order to become the apex predator.

Q: If I never tried the Far Cry series before, will I be lost when I start Primal?

A: Each installment of Far Cry stands on its own, so you’ll be able to enjoy Far Cry Primal regardless of if you’ve played previous Far Cry games. We definitely hope you get lost in the savage and majestic world of Oros as never before.

Q: What separates Primal from the rest of the series besides its unique setting?

A: Dropping players at the bottom of the food chain with only rudimentary tools to start their journey enabled us to explore a very different angle for the Far Cry experience. Nature is savage and dangerous, the night is scary, and hunting animals plays a large role in surviving the Stone Age, not to mention the defense of your territory against other tribes.

The player’s toolset is completely fresh with an emphasis on crafting and includes the ability to tame wild animals and use them for combat and hunting.

Far Cry Primal

Q: How has the design team approached such a drastic shift in tone, from modern ballistic weapons to Stone Age tools?

A: Far Cry is all about creating interesting dynamic situations in the world and giving the players a lot of toys to approach these in any way they want.

Because of these mechanics, our approach was to make sure the world was more dynamic than ever with systems colliding in unexpected ways. First of all, we introduced the mega fauna, giant animals that have since disappeared from the surface of the Earth. Second, we have two different tribes fighting for the place you want to claim as well. In order to hunt the beasts and take down the enemy, we’ve given the player a whole new toolset that ranges from brutal weapons like spears, clubs, and bows to throwable traps — and a new taming system that will empower the player to command wild beasts.

Want to stalk your enemies? Have a feline by your side who can silently take down your targets. Want to rush in with raging brutality? Send in your giant cave bear to attract the enemy’s attention. There are 17 different beasts to tame, including the infamous Badger.

Q: What has the setting allowed the development team to do that was previously impossible either technically or from a design perspective?

A: The beast taming and the density of the wildlife really come to mind. But the emphasis on surviving a dangerous world is also something that works well with the setting.

Q: Far Cry 4 had a mystical element to its story. Will we see anything similar in Far Cry Primal?

A: One of the characters you will meet in Far Cry Primal is Tensay: a crazy Shaman who creates mind-altering decoctions. You will have several opportunities to taste these and witness their effect. Apart from the refreshing and exotic aspect, we also wanted to explore how a shamanistic tribe would approach the mystical connection with the world.

Q: How do you create relatable and interesting characters that are so far removed from our modern reality?

A: It all comes back to thinking from the Stone Age perspective and looking for those aspirations and themes that translate well into modern narratives. For example: recovery from loss, fighting to ensure that the people you love survive, and draw strength from those people. These are a few elements that we give to the player as they embark on their new journey.

Far Cry Primal

Q: How did you decide which animals to include, and which to leave out?

A: It was always about giving players great opportunities to play and interact with the world and have fun. Many animals were on the table at first, and then we thought about them in terms of gameplay.

The main interest of the mega fauna animals in terms of gameplay comes from the new behaviors we’ve given them for this purpose. For example, when faced with a threat, the Irish elk starts by fleeing, but eventually if it’s injured too much it’s going to turn berserk and fight its attacker. This can lead to a surprising turns of events for the player or for a pack of enemy AI that was chasing it. The Giant mammoth will come to the rescue of younger and smaller ones which can also lead to a very cool chain reaction. And so on.

Q: Did the development team take any creative liberties with the worldbuilding and creature design?

A: When it comes to world building we try to be as authentic as possible. So we met with a lot of specialists to learn about the Stone Age. Of course there are also a lot of things we don’t know about and gaps to fill but we aimed to make our world feel real and primitive.

The domain where we wanted to take some liberties was gameplay. Even if the general themes are in line with the period, we pushed the boundaries to give the player more fun things to experience. For example, humans were taming wolves to help them hunt mammoth — they probably never tamed a saber tooth tiger.

Q: What challenges did the team face when writing the AI and behaviors for these animals?

A: Having animals like the elder mammoth which is around twice the size of the regular mammoth forced us to adjust the navigation systems used by the AI, and we also had to adapt the structure of the flora and trees to make sure they had enough space. Other than that, the mega fauna animals — like all entities in our game world — are systemic AI. It means they are fully part of our gameplay ecosystem and will adapt naturally to their environment regarding dangers, other animals, fire, threat, navigation paths, etc.

And of course they will react to the player’s actions. That’s the plus of having a systemic approach to your gameplay — you can let the mega fauna live its life in your world and adapt to it naturally.

Far Cry Primal

Q: How does Primal pace players in an open world? How much of the content is directed and how much of it is emergent/open?

A: Everything that happens in the world in terms of systems colliding with each other is not directed, and I must say that players will spend a lot of time watching crazy things happen as they interact with or observe the world and the world’s ecosystems. We of course have great cinematics which are scripted, but even the way we set up the narrative is up to the player to tackle at their own pace.

Q: What is your most memorable moment in Far Cry Primal?

A: One time I was walking at night and a band of wolves came for me. Suddenly they stopped and ran away. I thought, “Wow, I’m really getting the hang of this.” Suddenly I hear a roar and a giant, rare cave bear was behind me. Wolves were running because of the bear, not me!

//Add Your Own

19 Comments   1 Reply

1

+ themortalangel on February 19th, 2016 at 6:39 am said:

And with that, Far Cry Primal is now a must buy for me! Can’t wait to get my hands on this.


    Ryan Clements's Avatar

     

    + Sid Shuman on February 23rd, 2016 at 11:51 am said:

    I thought it was great – refreshing to see from such an established franchise


2

+ Sathi-Geek_tech1 on February 19th, 2016 at 7:49 am said:

LOve it


3

+ FearMonkey on February 19th, 2016 at 10:04 am said:

I love the Far Cry series but if this game forces me to kill a mammoth, I’m not getting it. Sorry. I have the draw the line somewhere. >_>


     

    + MakaiOokami on February 19th, 2016 at 5:58 pm said:

    To be fair, this is back when humans were far closer to animals, so it wasn’t really animal abuse as it was survival, and the mammoths will go extinct anyway thanks to food deprivation I believe.

    :D

    Also if it makes you feel any better humans are using D.N.A. modification and insertion to try and reverse engineer Mammoths from Mammoth descended lines of pachyderms.


     

    + Seluhir on February 20th, 2016 at 6:26 am said:

    I’m curious as to why that’s where you draw the line? Is it just that you really love mammoths/elephants and killing one is too sad for you? Is it an ethical concern ie. animal abuse? Is it that you don’t approve of hunting in general?

    Seems like a strange place to draw the line, so I’m quite curious as to the actual reasoning behind it!


     

    + FearMonkey on February 20th, 2016 at 6:56 am said:

    @Seluhir – it’s just too darned sad.

    @MakaiOokami – I know scientists are doing that and I’m excited to see the results, but it doesn’t make me feel better for killing a mammoth in a videogame, no. :p


     

    + Strathmore on February 23rd, 2016 at 6:39 am said:

    You’re literally trying to kill a mammoth in the first 60 seconds of the game…


     

    + FearMonkey on February 25th, 2016 at 8:59 am said:

    @Strathmore – then yeah, no Far Cry Primal for me. Sorry, Ubisoft. One less sale now. <_<


4

+ CrusaderForever on February 19th, 2016 at 1:55 pm said:

Amazing article! I didn’t need to read this as I already proudly preordered Far Cry Primal. The only thing this did for me is make it that much more difficult to wait until Monday night! Well done, can’t wait to get lost in this game.


5

+ Schumann-brahms on February 19th, 2016 at 6:45 pm said:

Is there multiplayer? I liked FC4 multi, it was really fun on the side as you play through the single campaign. As always I wait for reviews, except for Uncharted 4( preorder that baby!)


     

    + ImAPirateSoSueMe on February 21st, 2016 at 5:21 am said:

    No multiplayer, not even co-op. This is only singleplayer. :/


6

+ srivatsav13 on February 19th, 2016 at 9:40 pm said:

i’m waiting for this game, per ordered already


7

+ Seluhir on February 20th, 2016 at 6:24 am said:

This sounds like a game that really would’ve lent itself well to a third person perspective. Seems like a missed opportunity. But I’m sure it’ll sell well, games with name recognition always do.


8

+ Efrengsimmons on February 21st, 2016 at 3:16 am said:

I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do… Earnmore9.com


     

    + Strathmore on February 23rd, 2016 at 6:46 am said:

    Sure you are, pal.


9

+ Ghostwize on February 21st, 2016 at 7:47 am said:

Preordered. I can’t wait to kill a baby mammoth. :D


10

+ Oste18262009 on February 21st, 2016 at 1:42 pm said:

Far Cry Primal Or Uncharted 4? Comment Which One.


11

+ ShadowStar83x on February 22nd, 2016 at 1:08 am said:

Getting this Tuesday, but can’t play it for two weeks. Stupid midterms.


12

+ Strathmore on February 23rd, 2016 at 6:38 am said:

Since when did having a story in a game become such a nuisance for developers? Primal offers a shockingly shallow investment into story or character development.

Maybe kids or players that like mind-numbing repetitive game play might find something of value here?

As for me, I thought this was one of the worst games of 2016 thus far.


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