During E3 we caught up with Far Cry 4 creative director Alex Hutchinson to discuss everything about the newly-announced title hitting PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One this November. Here's what you need to know so far, from the man behind the game.
1. How you invite friends to play even if they don't own a copy.
"In a big franchise, especially one that's being going on for a while, there's people that love you, and there's people that know about it but aren't interested anymore. So what is the best way to get this game into people's hands? We had this idea called ‘Keys for Kyrat'.
Basically when you buy a copy of the game on a Sony platform, you can give those keys to your buddies and when you're online they can play with you. It's fairly simple; you just have to download the client, and while your buddy's online, he can invite you into their game. You can ride elephants, fly around on choppers, take outposts, clear the world as part of his single player experience, but unfortunately when he jumps offline you've to make a decision. Do you stump up the cash or do you let it go? Hopefully you'll have a good enough time to give us a chance."
2. 'Keys for Kyrat' isn't limited to a specific mission or location, but will have a time limit on it.
"It's actually more technically complex to restrict [the players to one spot], and part of the fun is ‘do what you want'. So it seemed counter to what we're trying to achieve with the game to restrict it... there'll probably be a time cap on it, but we're still figuring out how much that is. It'll be forgiving enough to give you a large taste. "
3. Just because you're ranging through mountains doesn't mean the only options are up or down.
"There are plenty of cliffs and plenty of mountains. This time [we're in] a valley rather than an island. So it's surrounded by impassable mountains. There's lots of mountain ranges in-between those walls, so you'll be spending a lot of time going up and down, but there's still forests, lakes and river streams, all that sort of stuff. There's plenty more traditional navigation as well."
4. You'll get the wing suit later in the game, but traversal choice will always be yours.
"It's a weird one because obviously we have gliders as well, the grapple to pull yourself up and we have a lot of different ways of transversing the environment - like the Buzzer, the gryocopter, so it's weird to introduce things to people then allow them to choose between the two or use a more efficient means. Early on you'll have the gliders, and we'll introduce the grapple pretty quickly. It'll take a little while for the wing suit and Buzzer, but it'll still be pretty early."
5. Antagonist Pagan Min "doesn't operate in the same universe" as everyone else.
"There's definitely a desire on the team to make sure we're not a grey and brown military shooter. We're one of the few shooters that can be a little more exotic, a little more outlandish. So there's definitely an urge to take some risks, to do something different. And we just wanted a character that was fresh. So for me, the most important thing wasn't that he was crazy - and we don't see him as insane - he's just so out of touch with wealth and power that he doesn't even operate in the same universe as the rest of us. I wanted someone who'd invite you into their world and want to be your buddy. He wasn't waving his fist at you and threatening to kill you. I've played that game a hundred times. So the most important thing was to make someone memorable, and give you a different feeling. He says "we're going to tear shit up", and you're like 'uhhh...okay?'"
6. Protagonist Ajay Ghale's return will be like a "school reunion".
"There's history there and it's hard to get into it without dealing with spoilers. But you were born in Kyrat. You're from this country, but you're raised overseas. Now you're coming back. Lots of people in the place know of you, or about you. But you don't know much about them. We wanted that feeling of being a fish out of water... it's a high school reunion and some guy's telling you about the party you went to twenty years ago and you have no memory of this evening at all."
7. The location choice is based on Hutchinson's travelling experiences. Maybe.
"I'm Australian, and everyone from Australia that's went on holiday has went through South East Asia, and there's some dangerous spots there and if you're on the wrong bus and head in the wrong direction, there's always that slight element of fear. We were extrapolating on that idea; you're on holiday and you take a few wrong turns, and things spiral out of control... and you choose to stay. What would happen? It's a relatively simple frame in trying to get some surprises and twists in there."
8. The team want to carry the best of series forward with them.
"It's hard because when you hit success, there's two fails: do it exactly the same or change everything. We're trying to find which areas we want to keep and that is definitely one of them, the idea that the world has these pockets of challenge, you can approach from 360 degrees, and do what you want, and figure it out yourself... they're a lot of fun. So we want to keep the structure of that, but want to make sure it's a unique challenge and we've taken it up a notch."
9. The game will be two years in development come release.
"It'll be two years by the time we ship. it's a good healthy dev cycle when you already have a game that's solid. 80% of the team rolled straight on from Far Cry 3. I rolled off Assassin's Creed III, and then we were working on something on the side for a little while, then spent a lot of time drinking beer with Dan Hay. He told me I was going to get fucked, and here we are."
10. Don't hold out hope for Blood Dragon II - hope for something better.
"We always get asked about [a sequel for Blood Dragon] and the only consistent fact for Far Cry stuff is that we keep trying to surprise people. So I'm sure we'll come up with something. It may not be that. It'll probably not be that. If we did that, it wouldn't be very surprising. It'll be something outlandish."
11.See how the different play styles work.
We captured two different playthroughs of the game's E3 demo, as we took down one of Kyat's fortresses in two very different ways. Check both out below. And you can see our full interview with Hutchinson right here.
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