The wild “cornucopia” of Oros serves as the home to Far Cry Primal. It’s a “breathtaking valley of redwood forests, harsh taiga, and human swamps” left behind by a melted glacier towards the end of the Ice Age. With so many ecosystems comes a variety of flora and fauna, including some of the massive predators we saw in the reveal trailer.
Ubisoft says the land will be dense with activity, each habitat type filled with wildlife to discover, warring tribes to avoid, and lush environments to explore. Oros holds a bounty of activities and endless ways to end up dead, making it a perfect setting for the open world sandbox of Far Cry Primal.
Players are going all the way back to 10,000 BC in Primal, with Ubisoft aiming for the general Mesolithic time period. This “Middle Stone” age saw humans more advanced than their basic hunter gatherer Paleolithic ancestors, but set just before the polished tools and domesticated plants and animals of the following Neolithic era. It was a period of crucial advancement, when human innovation was accelerating just enough to gain a determined footing in nature and eventually leap forward into the agricultural era.
The defining characteristic of the Mesolithic stage is the advanced use of chipped tools, a fact Ubisoft is putting to good use in terms of weapon variety.
“Stone Age man was already quite advanced,” said Art Director Mickael Labat in a behind the scenes video. “He knew how to use stone in 150 different ways.” Really understanding and implementing the native ingenuity and tool variety is something Ubisoft is “really excited to introduce to Far Cry.”
Nature has always served as a main antagonist in the Far Cry series, and Primal’s access to the megafauna world takes the threat to an entirely new level. Not only will the wildlife be toothier, larger, and furrier than their modern ancestors, their undeniable place at the top of the food chain puts the player in a more vulnerable role than ever before.
So far, we’ve seen a handful of species in promotional materials – massive woolly mammoths, kill-stealing saber-toothed tigers, the lonely rhino above, bears, wolves, and some sort of deer. These creatures all interact with each other and with the hunters of the living world, and the player will find themselves caught between these systems as both hunter and hunted.
Wildlife will also act in tune with the day/night cycles, with predators emerging at nightfall and more cautious prey active during daylight hours.
The mysterious Takkar will be our new Far Cry star. He’s the sole living member of his tribe, trying to survive in the heart of nature, coming to terms with the bestiality of man, the whole Far Cry shebang. He’s also voiced by Elias Toufexis, the actor known for giving Deus Ex’s Adam Jensen his iconic grit.
When Takkar arrives in Oros, according Narrative Director Jean-Sebastien Decant, “he is exhausted, he’s lost everyone, he is alone, he has no weapons, and he finds himself in a place where actually you don’t know if beasts or men are the most dangerous.”
All cards on the table here, we have no idea if the man in the above promotional image is Takkar.
The prehistoric setting will touch classic aspects of Far Cry gameplay, putting a new spin on hunting and outpost capturing. Players will search for food and supplies in order to survive. Weapons and tools will be crafted from scavenged animals bones, rocks and wood. The firearms and vehicles common to past Far Cry games are no more, leaving players with new, period appropriate ways of causing chaos and getting around the environment.
Fire will play a crucial role in Primal, as one would expect. Flames can be added to weapons to enhance attacks, or wielded to scare off local wildlife.
When hunting, the scent of fallen prey may attract other, more dangerous predators to your kill. Mankind itself is wavering between prey and predator, and this rocky position is constantly at play in Far Cry Primal.
Replacing the typical shotguns and flamethrowers of Far Cry yore will be more period appropriate weapons, created from natural materials rather than purchased from weapons dealers.
“We have an enormous variety of weapons,” Labat shared. “Spears, bows, blades, clubs. All made with raw materials – rock, bone, ligaments.” We’ve also witnessed quite a few bows used, as well.
Early weapons will be simple, crafted from scavenged wood and stones. Little by little, players will discover additional resources that can be used to create stronger and more diverse tools of the murder trade.
There’s still so much we don’t know of the Mesolithic humans. The ways of their cultures, how they talked, the way they moved – nuances of life that can’t be retrieved from a fossil record. Any leather or wood they may have used didn’t exactly make it 12,000 years. Organic remains have disappeared; only rocks and bones remain.
Ubisoft is making the best of this grey area, though, filling in the blanks with new ways of exploring and surviving.
“Diving into this world is an opportunity to change the rules,” said Thomas Simon, Primal’s Game Director. We can expect a good dose of Ubisoft flare as they reimagine our primal roots through the Far Cry name.
Release and Pre-Order Bonuses
Far Cry Primal will be available for $59.99 on PS4 and Xbox One come February 23 of next year. The PC version won’t be available until March, however.
The official Far Cry website lists multiple retailers offering pre-orders, including GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon, and the UPlay store. Along with each pre-order comes, “The Legend Of The Mammoth Mission Pack.”
You Could Win a Chance To Play it Early
Want to experience Far Cry Primal before everyone else? You can head to the Far Cry page to enter for a chance to win some VIP hands-on gameplay time with the game in December. Winners will win round-trip airfare for two to San Francisco and hotel accommodations for two nights. Check out the full rules for more details.