Ubisoft has taken the lid off Far Cry 6 with today’s gameplay reveal and release date announcement showcasing a Caribbean Island republic falling into revolution and civil war, but then infusing that with a sensationalised take on the ‘resolver’ philosophy of reuse and adaptation found in Cuba.
It’s quite a wild ride, and you can check out our full Far Cry 6 preview here. We also caught up with World Director Ben Hall to learn more about the island of Yara, the resolver philosophy, and the story the game is trying to tell.
TSA: Far Cry 6 has a big shift in tone for the world design, where you have this big city as a core pillar of its design. How does that affect the traditionally freeform gameplay of the series?
Ben Hall: For Far Cry 6, what was really important for us was to build this sensation of Yara being an entire country. We take all the elements of the Far Cry DNA, the lush biomes, the dense jungles, the arid landscapes, and fuse them together with more urban areas like villages, towns and then the city of Esperanza, which is really the culmination of that challenge.
Esperanza is the heart of Antón’s operation – it’s nicknamed the Lion’s Den, it’s where he controls the military, it’s where he’s oppressing the country from. He’s really put the city under martial law, it’s under the strictest control and he’s got his most well-trained troops guarding the city, wandering the streets of the city and making sure there aren’t people that shouldn’t be there.
For a guerrilla, the experience of going to the city is very much about utilising the secret paths that are on, above and below the streets. You want to utilise the height, the verticality of the city. Being in this dense urban jungle, you need to change the way you approach certain situations. Because of the confines of the city walls, it really changes the space that you’re in and how you can utilise that.
TSA: Does that mean there’s almost two different ethos to the world design where, for example, you have the secret paths through the jungle and how they compare to the secret paths through the city? Or are they really two sides of the same coin?
Ben: So the Guerrilla Paths are the same feature that runs through the entire landscape of Yara. We built this web, this network of paths that builds on the rich history of this island and the fact that there was a previous revolution in the past. The modern guerrilla have taken those paths and utilise them because the roads and the airspace are really controlled by the military, so they’ve needed to find a different way to move around without being constantly harassed or getting into trouble.
The paths are spread throughout the landscape, and they offer up some of the secrets of Yara. There’s some interesting navigational challenges and puzzles on these paths that allow you to find interesting pieces of gear, story and lore. It’s also where you meet other guerrillas that have got their own stories to tell and their own information. They’re great places to pick up information about other things that you might want to look out for.
TSA: The guerrilla paths, how are they found through the world? They’re presumably not just going to be on the official maps of the island.
Ben: They’re not on the official maps that are distributed by the government of Yara, because they don’t know they exist, but the map that you get is something that’s been augmented by the guerrilla. So you have access to some of this information from the off, but when it comes to the other things in the world, they don’t know where they are just yet. That’s where you need to go and explore the open world, do your own scouting as a guerrilla, follow these paths, meet people and really find your own intel about how the world was pieced together.
TSA: Much more than the previous games, you’ve got a long, a decades-long story here. The environment has to do to more to back that up and help tell the story through the game, so what have you drawn in order to do that? There’s some obvious parallels to Cuba, for example.
Ben: Yeah, we did a lot of research when we started out, looking at a lot of revolutions throughout history to see the inspiration we could take for what creates the spark, what creates the tension to really kick off a revolution like this. A lot of that research drew us back to Cuba, so Cuba really serves as a great inspiration.
Yara itself is unique, and the stories that take place within the island are unique to Far Cry 6 as well, but you will see reflections of Cuba throughout in terms of the reference that we’ve taken for the biomes, the reference we’ve taken for the urban areas, the vehicles and classic cars. Elements like that really do show through those key references.
Working very closely with the narrative team, it’s a world that’s got a rich history and we want to pay homage to that and make sure we want to respect it too. There’s a history to the island of Yara that goes much beyond the time period you’ll play through in the game, so you can see the struggles of the past people of Yara and how this revolution seems to continue.
TSA: Another major shift for Far Cry 6 is Dani Rojas, and they are an actual character this time instead of being a blank slate. How does that change the way the story is told?
Ben: Dani is a local Yaran, which was important to us because we wanted to have someone who had a stake in the events that were taking place on the island. It’s not someone from the outside who’s not aware of the history of the island.
The moment that you meet Dani, they are done with Yara; they want to escape to the USA and start a new life somewhere else. It’s really through the eyes of Dani that you experience the tyranny and oppression of Antón first hand early on in the game. You get to see and understand why there’s something worth fighting for, and what it is about Yara that gets Dani involved in this Libertad movement to fight for its freedom.
TSA: If the world design has to stay relatively grounded, I feel there’s a real sensationalism built on top of that with the gameplay. You’ve almost gone to excess with what you can do through the resolver attitude, the weapons and especially the Supremo backpacks.
Ben: So resolver is a philosophy that we’ve fused into everything across the game, from the world building and even the way the military use the space, it’s this nothing of making do with what we’ve got or making something out of nothing. It’s this idea of being able to fuse together different elements. In the urban areas you’ll see things like people who’ve taken a telephone and combined it with a vinyl record that’s cut into the shape of a fan, using those pieces to create something new.
We wanted to take that into this notion of the resolver weapons. Juan Cortez is really the master of resolver, and he’s inspired by his comic books. He’s a larger than life character who’s your mentor, he’s been in these revolutions before. We’ve also taken inspiration from revolutions where we’ve seen people take everyday items and create the maximum possible chaos with them, and that’s Juan’s philosophy. He’s created these weapons and backpacks that really give you the edge as a guerrilla fighter.
The balance of power is very much skewed toward the military. They’ve got aeroplanes, they’ve got helicopters, they’ve got tanks, and as a guerrilla you’ve got to find a way to fight back against these units. It’s through the resolver weapons and the backpacks that you can make one guerrilla feel like one thousand.
TSA: Do you feel any envy at how over the top other parts of the team get to be?
Ben: No, not at all! We’ve wanted to make sure we created a grounded world, a realistic world that can immerse the player somewhere that feels it could be a real place, but then when it comes to the resolver gear, the team has approached it in, again, how you can take everyday items and fuse them together.
There’s been a thought process behind every single one of the resolver weapons. You can see when you look at them and understand that, “OK, there’s an air compressor attached to a motorbike handle, and there’s a petrol pump unit put into the back of that…” Obviously we probably couldn’t build these things at home, and I don’t suggest you try, but there’s a grounded-ness to them that still fits.
TSA: [laughs] You’ve got a lot of the staples of the Far Cry formula with the Outposts that are now FND bases. How are these mixing things up to keep them fresh?
Ben: The FND bases in Far Cry 6, the outposts, are the pinnacle of the military zones that they control. The military have taken spaces away from the people of Yara and turned them to their own needs. They’ve taken places like schools, TV stations and radio stations and utilising them for their own propaganda or turning them into prisons to control people. You as a guerrilla want to move into those locations and take them back.
We wanted to build on everything that’s been done before, and keep the DNA of outposts, because we know they’re loved by fans and create a great gameplay experience to take on. We took a look at all the elements you have, especially the resolver weapons, the Supremos, and understand how you can use the best tool for the job. For some of the outposts, we’ve introduced ingredients that allow the player to mix and match between different gear sets, loadouts and resolver elements to create different and unexpectedly hectic moments that fuel the chaos and drama of being a guerrilla fighter.
TSA: Finally, is hunting still in the game, and is it still one of the main ways of getting upgrades as well? It’s always been one of those elements that’s a bit iffy for some players.
Ben: So, the island of Yara is filled with a plethora of different wildlife that you can encounter as you explore the world, from the sea life that you can experience, to the jungles where we’ve got crocodiles, we’ve got wild boar in the hills, deer in different places. It’s all built from different references and research that we’ve done on the Caribbean Islands and South America, and we’ve brought those elements to Yara.
So hunting is back in Far Cry 6, but it’s all about how you want to go about preparing and build yourself up. Hunting will play a part with certain elements in the game, but it’s not the key or only way that you’re going to be upgrading your arsenal. As you progress through the game, there’s going to be multiple ways to make yourself more powerful as a player.
Thanks to Ben for chatting with us. You can also check out our Far Cry 6 preview here, with the game releasing on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Google Stadia and Amazon Luna on 7th October 2021.