It’s common knowledge now that Ubisoft have asked Far Cry 4 players for their opinions on settings for the next entry in the series. The ideas they throw up, while pretty cool, lack a certain joie de vivre. People have clamored for dinosaurs in Far Cry since the very first title and every single freaking franchise in the history of the world seems to have zombie these days.
Why should Far Cry fans be pushed into selecting possible settings that everyone expects? Surely Ubisoft, who have published a handful of the most imaginative titles to hit gaming platforms in the past few years, could do something completely off the wall and crazy to scratch a smile onto the face of every Far Cry player from here to Shangri-La.
What if you don’t fancy the idea of a Far Cry game set in the wild west, or the idea of vampires sucking the blood from honey badgers doesn’t really get your loins a-flaming? Well, don’t fret. We have a selection of four possible settings for the next Far Cry that are a little more off-the-wall than those Ubisoft asked about in their survey.
Many of you are likely to have been fortunate – or unfortunate – enough to watch the 2010 Predators movie. If you haven’t, it basically stars such silver-screen staples as Morpheus, Spiderman 3’s Venom, and the Oscar-winning nose of Adrien Brody trying to survive on an alien hostile world. They’re dropped onto it not knowing exactly why they are there or who everyone else is. This strange planet is infested not only with angry fauna, as the Predators of sci-fi fame come knocking to hunt these poor meatbags for sport.
Surely, this screenplay started out as a Far Cry fan-site suggestion anyway, right?
The franchise has always delighted in throwing players head-first into environments they may never have seen, forcing them to work out how they’re going to survive a hostile locale for more than 10 minutes. Why not do away with the Cassowary and Honey Badgers and replace them with… well, with whatever the design minds at Ubisoft can come up with. Go nuts. Add something with 16 limbs and four faces which eats dreams. There’s even opportunity to add aggressive plant life.
Over all of those possibilities, however, stands one true wonder. A genius move which could turn this from overactive fever-dream to workable idea; Steal even more from Predators and add a cast of hunting aliens. This might be a zoo like Slaughterhaus Five’s or a hunting reserve. Outposts could become visitor centers with roaming extra-terrestrial hunters trying to take down the greatest quarry of all – mankind.
Seriously just think about that for a minute. Why the hell hasn’t this already been done? A little too derivative perhaps. Oh well, onto the next batch of craziness.
Black Friday Sale
Looking for hostile environments to throw the discerning Far Cry fan into on our very own planet isn’t difficult. Turn on the news and within 15 minutes you’re shown images from a far-flung, war torn country. While this is a saddening display which eats away at our very humanity, they often make interesting locations for a video game to be set. Maybe, however, the designers should be casting their glance back over to western society. What’s the most violent place you could possible be in the western world?
A Black Friday Sale of course.
You’re a staff member at Big Stuff Market, the premiere retail outlet of Somewhere, America. This isn’t just any big shop though. The company pretty much owns an entire shopping mall, filling it with lawsuit-dodging subsidiaries named Moonbucks and CJ Penny. As a simple cleaner the day isn’t going to really affect you. Then the Black Friday rush comes and this usually docile shopping mall becomes a fight for survival. Someone breaks the pet store window, setting loose hundreds of angry rabbits hellbent on revenge.
Coffee shops become outposts and small settlements rise where the shopping masses have become feral. Multiple factions hide within department stores just waiting to kill in the name of discount prices. Never get between a flipped out Little League coach who’s buying supplies for the year. The blue rinse brigade patrol the walkways armed with boiled sweets and AK-47s eager to show you pictures of their grandkids while you bleed over a 75% off sign. This is the true vision of hell on Earth, and Far Cry as a series could easily take you there.
It’d most certainly be a departure from a outdoor norm, that’s true. Then again, going out into the city isn’t necessarily any safer than in the mall.
The true jungle of our modern era is not found on some distant land clinging to the equator. There aren’t lions or tigers or bears (oh my) in the town. Instead, drug-addled rats battle one-another for a discarded burger, blissfully unaware of an urban fox’s gentle steps fueled with murderous intent. Even the people in the city are often far from friendly. So why not do us all a favor Ubisoft and finally bring Far Cry out of the jungle into surburbia.
Far Cry 4‘s verticality was perhaps one of its more impressive design features that’s rarely mentioned. You could be on a cliff next to a sudden outbreak of combat only to find the fight itself is raging several hundred feet below you. If the development team were to grab this feeling by the balls and throw it into a downtown location they could be onto a serious winner. Zip lining across alleyways before leaping from a 6th floor window in a sweeping wingsuit deployment just sounds like one of the most fun things that could happen in a wingsuit.
The idea of taking Far Cry to the City almost completely flies in the face of its history. Then again, who cares? It would be wonderfully fun to battle against a group of bad guys while your NPC comrades take cover behind a hotdog stand. They could even go completely insane and add full first-person vehicle combat into the mix.
That being said, if they just threw a Far Cry game into downtown Chicago, it’d be poor. There wouldn’t be much scope to play around with amazing designs or string out the anguish of a breaking society. Take a possible near-future setting though, and suddenly it slots together with the help of one movie – Escape from New York. The similarities between Blood Dragon‘s Rex Colt and Escape from New York‘s Snake Pliskin are almost painful. Hell even the posters are the same. So what’s to stop Ubisoft taking the idea of a prison city from the movie then bringing it to life in Far Cry 5?
Continuing the near-future ideas here, why not take Far Cry into space? The history of film teaches us that this is generally a last ditch attempt to refresh a franchise (just look at releases like Jason X and Leprechaun 4: In Space). There’s even proof that it can sound the chimes of death for gaming franchises like Dino Crisis. Let’s just assume for one minute, however, that Ubisoft could actually make this work. Leaping past the final frontier could actually be an amazing place for the first person shooter franchise to go.
Inspiration for a setting could be taken from Dead Space 2‘s Sprawl or even the BSL station in Metroid Fusion. Running along the corridors of a dilapidated space station, gunning down a corrupt sect of colonists while working alongside a rebel force wouldn’t be overly crazy. Animals could even be brought into the mix with an Ark of sorts housing two of every creature, where the beasts have bred and fed upon one another until only the strongest remain. Why not even go utterly crazy by bringing in some sort of unknown organism which can randomly hunt and kill anyone on the stations.
A little too Alien: Isolation maybe? Yeah, you’re probably right, but the idea of fighting for survival on a space station is both tried and tested in the world of gaming. System Shock was so successful in this that it was able to spawn a sequel which in turn spawned Bioshock, one of the best-loved franchises to grace the industry in recent memory. Simply take out all of the mutations and add in a few more guns. Then it’s pretty much a Far Cry game anyway.
Adding the possibility of zero gravity combat and venting sections of the station could bring a brilliantly fresh taste to the Far Cry formula. Ubisoft can even appease their designers by positioning communication stations around the environment to uncover new parts of the map. What about a jungle, though? Hmm, that’s tricky. Oh wait no it isn’t, an overgrown hydroponics bay. Yep, there we go. Done. Come on Ubisoft, take on at least one of these ideas.
Or just make Blood Dragon 2. We all want it.