While the wait for Far Cry 4 might have been the shortest gap between mainline entries in the series thus far, it certainly seems like longer than two years since the release of the highly praised Far Cry 3. However, fans anticipating a trip to Kyrat won’t have to wait much longer, as Ubisoft has announced that the game has gone gold.
Officially announced earlier this year, it was fairly common knowledge that a new entry in the series was on its way thanks to information gleaned from LinkedIn, of all places. Rumors that the game was to be set in the Himalayas eventually turned out to be true — but, as you might expect from the ever-surprising franchise, there was still plenty left to reveal about its newest installment.
The game’s antagonist, Pagan Min, was one such reveal that garnered a lot of buzz earlier this year. Being that he adorns the box art of Far Cry 4 fairly prominently, it’s safe to say that he’s a big part of the game rather than some distant presence. The psychotic Vaas held a similar focus in Far Cry 3, and he’s looked upon fondly as a rather iconic villain — Min could certainly enjoy the same level of infamy.
Starting off as a PC exclusive back in 2004, the Far Cry series has undergone some serious changes in the decade that it has been around. Early console spinoffs maintained the island-hopping setting of the original, but the divisive Far Cry 2 ditched it for sun-baked Africa. Many didn’t care for the more cumbersome gameplay that the sequel had to offer, but those who got on board with its focus on immersion continue to see the game as a series highlight.
Far Cry 3 followed in 2012, taking the series to a broader level of popularity than ever before by making the minute-to-minute gameplay more approachable while maintaining the series standard of exotic environments. A similarly well-received spin-off, subtitled Blood Dragon, ditched everything but the base gunplay for a romp through an 1980s-inspired world filled with neon and robots.
Now, Far Cry 4 has some big shoes to fill, but based on what we’ve seen of the plot and the setting so far, developers Ubisoft Montreal are playing to the series’ strengths. However, this isn’t to say that the series isn’t breaking new ground — while the single player campaign has always been the core of the series, a new mode announced earlier this week looks very intriguing.
Battles of Kyrat promises to retell the war-torn history of the game’s setting through 5v5 multiplayer matches. The mode is asymmetrical, pitting one team of Rakasha, a spiritual people who use traditional weaponry and animal assistance against the Golden Path rebellion, a makeshift army stocked with a far broader and more advanced arsenal.
It’s a novel way of tying in multiplayer to the game’s story, and represents by far the biggest focus on multiplayer that the series has had thus far. In previous titles, competitive multiplayer couldn’t quite act upon its intentions to mesh with the single player, ending up as a mish-mash of the game and other popular FPS titles. This sort of narrative link looks like it could address that — as long as the gameplay follows suit.
Co-operative multiplayer follows a similar tack, offering players the ability to invite friends into their single player game, rather than being a completely separate mode with a separate story like in Far Cry 3. The lines between single player and multiplayer content are being blurred throughout video games, and it’s very encouraging to see the Far Cry series doing so in a way that plays to its strengths.
More than anything else, these features offer a twist on what you’d expect from a standard FPS — and that’s exactly what makes the Far Cry series so appealing in a genre that can often seem repetitious.
Far Cry 4 is set to release on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on November 18.