The release of Far Cry 4 may still be months away, but the developers at Ubisoft have been giving prospective players a variety of reasons to take note. First was the delightfully diabolical villain, then came the elephant-filled lunacy of its E3 demo, followed soon after by details on how closely the game would be drawing upon the people and culture of real-world Nepal. And the mythology and tradition of the region will apparently be used for more than just inspiration.
Now that Gamescom 2014 has begun, the studio has provided the first look at the mystical location known as 'Shangri-La,' a place where laws of the natural world hold little meaning. If that weren't enough, more details have arrived on exactly how PS4 players will be able to play alongside their friends without requiring them to first purchase the game.
The trailer (embedded above) gives yet another look at the variety of locations and hazards made possible by setting a game on and around the Himalayan Mountains. The decision to place the game within the fictional world of Kyrat (still heavily based on Nepal) has led the publisher into some interesting dilemmas, but the gameplay opportunities afforded by the setting are evident.
Once players are done battling the carnage to be found on the lower slops of the iconic mountain range, they can try their luck on its highest peaks, where snow, wildlife, and the frigid temperatures are the least of their worries. But as exciting as it may be to tangle with tigers and the armed forces of Pagan Min, it's the reveal of Shangri-La that's most intriguing.
The name given to the mystical Himalayan utopia of numerous ancient writings, Shangri-La exists beyond the normal limits of magic, mortality, and life that the rest of the game will be adhering to. For players, that means the chance to fight with a mystical tiger at your side, a magical bow in hand, and some truly unforgettable enemies to tackle. How the areas will tie into the singleplayer campaign isn't yet clear, but the visuals alone are sure to turn a few more heads.
In addition to the vibrant action comes another trailer, giving more details on the 'Keys To Kyrat' that Sony will implement for those playing the game on PlayStation 4. The chance to play with friends after buying a single copy of Far Cry 4 was teased at E3 2014, but the new trailer lays out the plan in detail:
Many players will be disappointed to hear that the time with friends is limited to just two hours, but ten invites (we would wager only one per friend) is more than enough to draw a few other players into the game's open world chaos. It's a smart move on both Sony and Ubisoft's part, since PC games (those published by Valve in particular) have found the formula to be a successful one.
Players looking to sell their friends on the experience will be actively ushering them into the game's action and mechanics, giving them what could ultimately be the best introduction possible. And from our hands-on time with the game, two hours should be more than enough for players to decide if the game is for them.
Will you be picking the game up on PS4 to try to recruit some online friends? Or is it the game's singleplayer campaign and mystical missions that you're more likely to dive into on release day? Sound off in the comments.
Far Cry 4 will be available for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 on November 18, 2014.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.