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Why Far Cry Primal is the purest form of Far Cry

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Light my campfire

Far Cry has always been very good at getting the player into an open world and letting them interact with nature. However, the reasons for arriving there haven't always been as strong. It's how you end up with frat boy turned tribal warrior Jason Brody. Ignoring the why and focusing on the how has felt like a necessary sacrifice for the franchise.

The next title in the series' lineage shouldn't suffer the same fate because the why is wildly obvious. Far Cry Primal turns the clock all the way back to the Stone Age -- a time when the stakes were constantly survive or don't survive. Ubisoft isn't in the position of needing to put together a reason for the player's actions because that sabretooth tiger that wants to kill you is reason enough.

Speaking with narrative director Jean-Sebastien Decant, he made it clear that Primal feels like Far Cry's purest form. "I think it's a match made in heaven. I think this is the original Far Cry fantasy," he told me. "We don't have to jump through hoops to justify why you're doing all the things. It's your day-to-day life to wander, gather, craft, and hunt in order to survive."

It was a savage and brutal era, and those are the two adjectives that Decant repeatedly returned to when trying to sum up the feeling that any Far Cry game needs to nail. It's no coincidence that a game set in the Stone Age happened sooner than later.

"The people behind the Far Cry brand have been dreaming of doing something like Primal for a really long time," Decant confessed. "I think it's just that we have people who are very good who are doing some crazy prototypes about fire population and about controlling animals and stuff like that. One day we just said 'we should do that.' The Far Cry brand is probably the most open brand at Ubisoft. You can really go in different directions with it as long as you remain savage and brutal in an open world."

That flexibility is on full display in Primal. For all the elements of Far Cry 4 that are carried over (it's built on the same framework), it feels surprisingly not like a Far Cry game at times. It's an odd sensation knowing the title's roots, identifying them, but not being impacted in the same way.


It's likely because what's new in Primal is enough to distract from anything that feels old. The Stone Age aesthetic of orange-like hues and primitive camps feel like a far cry (boo!) from the tropical islands the franchise is used to. Most notable, there's a new buddy system in the form of a beast-master mechanic.

The beast-master system allows the player to tame animals in the wild (there are 17 variations), and call on them in battle. They're handy sidekicks whose worth is immediately validated. They're extremely helpful, as they show no hesitation in leaping into battle and taking on several enemies at once. When they're inevitably hurt, a slab of meat nurses them back to health.

Decant didn't downplay his excitement for the animal control feature. In fact, he pegged it as Far Cry Primal's greatest strength. "It's the most exciting, most surprising feature I think we have," he said. Decant gave the spiel about Ubisoft's commitment to authenticity and remaining truthful to the era. However, that came with one caveat; liberties were taken whenever it'd make the game more fun. The beast-master mechanic is a shining example of that.

But, despite all the historians consulted and research performed, it's not authenticity that'll make a Far Cry game. No, as Decant pointed out, it's that savage and brutal tone that's the staple. No period can claim ruthlessness quite like the Stone Age, and that's why Primal is the purest form of Far Cry.

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Brett Makedonski
Brett MakedonskiManaging Editor   gamer profile

While you laughing, we're passing, passing away. So y'all go rest y'all souls, 'Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads. Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby... ... more + disclosures


 


 


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    Filed under... #Action #Far Cry #features #Interview #open world #PC #PS4 #Ubisoft #Xbox One

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