In its nearly 15 years, the “Far Cry” franchise has almost never made a direct sequel. Instead, the games’ creators have focused on recapturing the freedom, mayhem, and scale that make up the game’s underpinnings. But that doesn’t mean the idea of leaning more into the narrative side of the franchise and creating a direct sequel was never discussed.
“Far Cry: New Dawn,” announced during last week’s Game Awards and due out on Feb. 15 for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox One, is the realization of that story-fueled discussion, the game’s creative director, Jean-Sebastien Decant, tells Variety. The idea behind “New Dawn,” which takes place 17 years after the ending of “Far Cry 5,” came from two places, he said.
“On the one hand when we were finishing the game and looking at how we would be closing ‘Far Cry 5,’ the scenario of doomsday was very seducing,” Decant said. “At the same time, we were eager to do a sequel for ‘Far Cry.’ We’ve been trying to do that for years. Suddenly, we had the possibility of killing two birds with one stone: finishing up ‘Far Cry 5’ in a crazy way and setting up a sequel.”
What follows are major spoilers for “Far Cry 5.”
At the ending of “Far Cry 5” players are left with a choice, “New Dawn” assumes which decision the players made and carries on as if the Collapse occurred and a nuclear exchange destroyed the world. The game still takes place in Hope County, Montana, but Decant said one of the major challenges in creating this sequel was making sure that both those who played “Far Cry 5,” and those who didn’t could enjoy the game, which he also views as a new “Far Cry” game set in a post-apocalyptic setting.
“The player’s character is a brand new character,” Decant said. “Everyone in the game is going to connect with you in a new manner. The game has new enemies, but at the same time we wanted to go further with some of the characters [from ‘Far Cry 5’] and explore what would happen in the case of a nuclear war.
“So it’s a standalone game, you can really appreciate it on its own, but at the same time it’s also the sequel of ‘Far Cry 5.’
“New Dawn” has a number of strong narrative connections to “Far Cry 5.” For instance, there’s a moment near the end of the game where the player delivers a baby. That baby, Decant said, is now a main character in the game and she is 17.
While Ubisoft finally creating a direct sequel to a “Far Cry” title is interesting, perhaps more interesting is the colorful perspective the game provides of a post-apocalyptic world. In the trailer, while the world has been ravaged by nuclear explosions, the setting is doused in vibrant greens, purples, pinks, and blues. It’s an odd world overgrown with nature, animals, and color.
“Right from the beginning, I wanted to create this post-apocalyptic world that would have a unique approach, be bright and beautiful,” Decant said. “So many are sad. The world is harsh, but we wanted a place that was super nice to be in.”
The desire wasn’t the only thing that drove the colorful look of the game though, Decant said the team did a fair amount of research about what would happen 15 to 20 years after such an event. The team even created models to see what the world would look like and worked with biologists. Nature, they discovered, would take back the space.
“The flowers and super bloom, they are inspired by a phenomenon that happens in the end of summer on the West Coast when things are so dry that there are flowers blooming in the same way once the rain comes,” he said.
While the game isn’t a new “numbered game,” and sells at the lower price of $40, Decant said that what the team is providing with “New Dawn” is “quite generous in its content.”
“There are plenty of things to do,” he said, ” many activities around. It’s a big offer but also slightly smaller than ‘Far Cry 5.’ I really wanted to be generous with the players.”
Decant likened the game to titles like “Far Cry Primal” in that’s it a “Far Cry” game that lands between the main numbered titles, which also allows the developer to do something fun.
While the game won’t have post-release content, it will have more to it than simply exploring a changed Hope County. The game’s Expeditions will allow players to explore other places in the United States.
“That’s the new mode,” he said. “There’s plenty of missions for that.”