Far Cry 4 rode into E3 2014 this year in the back of a bus, a trailer that showed off the first five minutes of the game and introduced protagonist Ajay Ghale and his newfound enemy: despotic self-appointed ruler Pagan Min. Far Cry 4 is set in the fictional nation of Kyrat in the Himalayas, where the air is thin and the potential to kill or be killed lies around every corner.
The opening cutscene if Far Cry 4 didn’t offer much in the way of first-hand fighting and shooting however, and so Ubisoft also released a separate gameplay demo video with commentary from creative director Alex Hutchinson and narrative director Mark Thompson. Hutchinson previously headed up another Ubisoft title, Assassin’s Creed III, and Thompson was the level design director on Far Cry 3.
The video establishes some new facts about the story and its main character. Ajay was born in Kyrat and has returned there in order to scatter his mother’s ashes, as per her dying wish, but he quickly finds himself caught up in a civil war. Interestingly, the first trailer revealed that Pagan and Ajay have some kind of connection, as Pagan orders his men to kidnap Ajay as soon as he crosses the border and tells him, “I’d recognize those eyes anywhere.”
As the demo shows, Far Cry 4 has a new stealth weapon – the crossbow – which seems to be a replacement for Far Cry 3‘s recurve bow. Although the crossbow doesn’t have the same kind of range as the recurve bow, it does have the benefit of being able to fire rapidly. Players also have a new melee ability in which they can kick things (or, presumably, people) like the exploding barrel that is used to take out a couple of enemies. However, players should also tread cautiously as it’s now possible to be attacked from above.
Rook Island in Far Cry 3 was absolutely stuffed – from its hilltops to its underground caves – with collectibles, and Kyrat is no different. The developers promise that the world is “peppered” with secret locations and plenty of loot as incentive to go exploring.
Fighting and hunting animals was another major element of Far Cry 3 that has survived into the sequel, and interestingly the game even incorporates aspects of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Unfortunately there are no cyborgs or giant lizards, but the elephants in Kyrat can be used in very similar ways to the blood dragons – either by angering them into attacking a nearby stronghold or by simply climbing up onto their backs and charging straight through the gates.
Traversing the mountains can be difficult and dangerous, so the wingsuit is back and will hopefully be introduced closer to the beginning of the game rather than halfway through. Ajay will also get a grapple that allows him to climb up vertical rocks and swing across gaps, which is a great improvement upon the jump-n-slide climbing mechanics of Far Cry 3. Vehicles are another way of traversing the land, and Ajay is shown attempting a getaway in a tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuks are probably not the greatest getaway vehicles of all time, but luckily Far Cry 4 offers the player a new edge by allowing them to drive and shoot simultaneously.
One of the vehicle options is “the Buzzer,” a one-man helicopter that is introduced during the co-op section of the gameplay demo. Inviting a player to join the game will turn off all of the solo missions, but will allow to player to continue taking over strongholds and other such activities.
Overall, this Far Cry 4 footage is incredibly promising, though we’ll have to wait for some hands-on experience before we can say whether organic gameplay holds true to the polished demo.
Far Cry 4 will be available for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 on November 18, 2014.