Far Cry 3 initially released 7 years ago on November 29, 2012, and would go on to hold a special place in the hearts of several fans of the franchise. For many, those that preceded it were nothing comparable, and those that succeeded it have failed to recapture that lightning in a bottle once more. That's not to say there haven't been valiant efforts - Far Cry 4, Far Cry Primal, Far Cry 5, Far Cry New Dawn all approached unique settings and locations in a similar vein but still fell short. That's also not to say that these aren't good games in their own right; they're just not Far Cry 3.
The franchise, Far Cry 3 included, has distinct characteristics for each game. Every game has a unique fictional setting, whether it be the fictional Rook Island of Far Cry 3, the fictional country of Kryat in the Himalayas of Far Cry 4, the Stone Age of Far Cry Primal, the fictional Hope County in Montana, USA, for Far Cry 5, and the post-apocalyptic remains of Hope County in Far Cry New Dawn. However, where these settings failed and Rook Island succeeded connects back to the protagonist.
As Far Cry 3 players joined Jason Brody on his adventures around Rook Island, it's clear that the island becomes part of him. He is taken with its warrior culture, grows to embrace it, and ultimately struggles between his old life and the new life that he has discovered on Rook Island. This is shown with his budding relationships with Citra and even the antagonist Vaas, as well as the growing distance between him and Daisy and his other friends.
This sometimes dark unison of setting and character development was never fully achieved by the others. The protagonist of Far Cry 4 had never been to the country before but was suddenly set to inherit it, being there only by the wishes of his mother. Primal was altogether too foreign for most contemporary gamers to grow attached to, and Far Cry 5 makes the best that it can out of Montana. But despite the religious zealots, despite Joseph Seed actually being right, it's still a too familiar location even when post apocalyptic elements are added to it.
On top of that, another defining characteristic is the villain. Far Cry 3 set a high bar with Vaas that could never really be reached again, not unlike Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2. Neither could really ever be successfully suceeded, as they've come to define the franchise to some regard. There's little doubt that Far Cry 3 fans have not forgotten how Vaas forced them to crawl through a massive grave, there's little doubt that fans have not forgotten his iconic "Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is?" speech, and there's little doubt that fans have not forgotten Brody's dream-vision that leads to Vaas' death. Perhaps Vaas wasn't the big bad of the game, but his presence was iconic.
Pagan Min, Joseph Seed, and Mickey and Lou all fail to capture this same iconoclastic role. That's not to say they didn't try, though, as each are unique antagonists. Twin antagonsts Mickey and Lou were a good concept, but they're ruined by their evil-for-evil's sake philosophy. Joseph Seed is a valiant attempt at recreating that Far Cry antagonist and one of the best video game characters of 2018, but even he lives in Vaas' shadow. Pagan Min, on the other hand, was hard to pin down, making his role in the overarching story seem lackluster at times.
Although nothing is confirmed, the next step in the franchise for Ubisoft is Far Cry 6. It seems likely to be a matter of when, not if, and with Ubisoft recently delaying several games, there's a good chance there's been an internal delay of Far Cry 6. That's not a bad thing if it can be a return to form to rival Far Cry 3, but for that to be the case, Ubisoft needs to pull out all the stops. Far Cry 3 is special, rememberable, and defines the entire franchise, meaning fans are not likely to forget about everything that made it great any time soon.
Far Cry 3 is out now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.