Hopes And Dreams For Far Cry 4 Post-E3

To be honest, Far Cry 4 was one of the main reasons I anticipated seeing the E3 press conferences this week. What I saw of it at Sony’s conference still leaves a lot of questions, but I’m slightly more optimistic now on a game for which I have high hopes but also a lot of concerns.

I already went over my hopes for this game a few weeks ago, and I constantly look for any rays of hope they might be even partially fulfilled. Ubisoft’s recent quotes and FC4’s Sony press conference demonstration suggests the game is headed in a better direction than Far Cry 3, if only a little better.

From a bit of information from Game Informer and that demo, Ubisoft seems to have determined base liberation was the best and most popular part of FC3. The Game Informer website, teasing a bit of its latest cover story on FC4, says Ubisoft wants to merge the feeling of the last game’s base capturing with FC4’s campaign. Most notably, the entire E3 demonstration for the game was the liberation of a base.

Even though the overall gameplay loop is pretty similar to the base capturing in Assassin’s Creed (that has now made its way into Watch_Dogs), FC3’s FPS mechanics makes things feel a bit more involving, delivering on the “systemic open world” feeling better than probably any of Ubisoft’s other recent open-world games. That’s probably why it was the most talked-about part of FC3 in the weeks following the game’s release, and Ubisoft has figured this out.

What we’ve seen at E3 seems to be a kind of “super base,” — bases that are much larger and more difficult to liberate than the ones in FC3. Who knows how much of the game this will comprise, but it’s the first thing Ubisoft wants us to see about this game. I just hope some of that translates to significant changes to the campaign structure.

It’s hard to say what Ubisoft actually means by bringing that base-clearing feeling to the campaign. Maybe campaign objectives will be tied to the bases. It might be too much to hope that Ubisoft is returning to the completely open-ended mission structure of Far Cry 2. Maybe they’re trying to balance that feeling with whatever linear “character-driven” story they want to tell this time around.

Anyway, some of the other features from the demo look nice. The Gyrocopter might be a big one — it essentially introduces aircraft to the franchise. Maybe having designed FC3’s world around the wingsuit and hang glider made actual aircraft the logical conclusion. I don’t expect any kind of traversal on the level of Grand Theft Auto’s helicopters, but it’s the next step in communicating the scale of an open-world game.

The grappling hook is a good addition too — adding much needed verticality to these kinds of games. Mountains and cliff sides are an all-too-annoying progress-blocker in FC and similar open-world games. I just hope It’s not limited to like seventeen specific points in the game.

In any case, FC4 remains on my radar for this fall. I await reviews and friendly impressions with cautious optimism. Even if it does end up being FC3.5 and is just another soulless AAA open-world game, I at least hope I can find enjoyment in parts of it like I have in FC3. As for why I even try to do that, Far Cry right now is pretty much the only new mainstream sandbox first person action game. We’ve got all these next-gen open-world games that look great, but only Far Cry is first person, carrying all the potentially immersive gameplay that entails. Man I can’t wait until Fallout 4 is unveiled.

BULLETS

  • Finished Dark Souls II. Back on ArmA II, which is my current source of open-world systemic first person gameplay.
  • Astro Boy to receive yet another remake. http://t.co/egnX1P9Gh9
  • So someone at NASA actually wants to build a real sci-fi-esque spacecraft. http://t.co/4kvjrVIl7t
  • One of the highlights of the latest batch of greenlit Steam games is Yatagarasu, on which I did a blog post a while ago. http://t.co/182yaKahDa
  • Another is Sacred Tears TRUE. http://t.co/bGtgI8xdcF
  • The first official trailer for The Legend of Korra Season 3. http://t.co/iASOvkxmlb
  • Personal touches like this are part of the reason people like Metal Gear — stopping for a smoke break fast forwards time. http://t.co/BLxb3Rfn4R
  • New York Times has an interesting story about all the remasters in gaming compared to other industries. http://t.co/qKEaayvIcf
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