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- Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6 has finally been confirmed slightly ahead of Ubisoft’s schedule of revealing it on its Ubisoft Forward event. Regardless, it’s out there and stars Breaking Bad bad guy Giancarlo Esposito and is likely set in South America. That’s a good start, but there are so many things a new Far Cry should have.
A revolution, not an evolution
By the time Far Cry 6 releases, it will have been around three years since the last full-priced installment, Far Cry 5. That’s among one of the largest gaps between entries as the franchise often comes out every other year or so. This relentless frequency has allowed the series to stagnate as each successive expansion, sequel, and standalone game have each yielded diminishing returns.
The gap between Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3 was the most noticeable and also the most consequential since it essentially reinvented the series and became the blueprint for many of the open-world games that followed. Far Cry 6 needs to do the same thing by, ironically, not doing the same thing it’s been doing since 2012. In order to show that the series still has it, it has to reinvent itself into something new and exciting, which Ubisoft seems to agree with.
“We need to make sure that for live multiplayer games, there is sufficient time between each iteration received to build strong anticipation and momentum,” said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. “We need to make sure that all our upcoming productions benefit from enough development time. This has been our strategy for many years, and it has proven very effective. This situation is telling us we can’t make exceptions.”
A different take on the wacky, unhinged villain bit
There you are, face to face with the your biggest adversary. He’s kooky, energetic, and oddly kind to you. He jokes around and parades around the set and begins to treat you like a good person. And then, surprise, he does something horribly violent because — get this — he’s the loose cannon bad guy and everybody loves those.
While it is effective and performed well and performed well in the series, we’ve seen this formula a few times since the coveted Far Cry 3. Far Cry 6 needs to borrow the essence of that — a convincing and intriguing villain — but take it in a new direction (and not the direction that Far Cry 5’s cringeworthy cast of villainous dorks went in).
Casting Giancarlo Esposito as the presumed antagonist is a great start, given his past as a menacing opposing force in Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian, that one episode of Community, and his short cameo in The Boys. His ability to speak calmly and keep his cool at almost all times creates an interesting contrast between the ghastly nature of his words and actions.
Far Cry 6 would be wise to exploit this contradiction as it would not only be something different for the series but it would also be channeling Esposito’s natural talent at being someone you love to hate. Of course, there’s extra points for making him sympathetic and not just someone to kill, which might be hard since he is a dictator.
A better approach to an open story
Far Cry 5 seemed slightly inspired by Breath of the Wild since you could tackle the sections in any order. It’s liberating to be able to nonlinearly progress through a story but it often railroaded the player through its awful and comically frequent capture sequences. There needs to be choke points, but it would be a stronger game if they weren’t so obvious and intrusive.
A more reactive world with reasons to actually explore
Ubisoft builds giant explorable environments yet gives you little reasons to do anything but run from marker to marker to satiate the games endless checklist. That’s an old way to design open-world games. Far Cry 6 needs to make an environment where players have to actually look around to get from place to place or solve puzzles.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Exploration Mode is a decent start and Far Cry would be wise to continue that trend and use landmarks or context clues to guide players from place to place. Even just an in-game map like Far Cry 2 would be an improvement. Any way the game can immerse you in its world and not its menu or HUD would greatly benefit the experience and be a welcome step in modernizing the franchise.
But it would also be better if that world was more lively. Far Cry, as well as most of Ubisoft’s games, never quite feel like alive worlds, but like a cold, wonky simulation of one. They become predictable because they have almost all the same variables: fire, enemies you can turn on each other, and the random predator attack. There’s little room to experiment since the outcomes feel so predetermined. Ubisoft should introduce new elements — like literally elements in the weather, to name one — that make the game appear as though it has surprises in store that you can can tamper with. Random panther attacks are funny, but they shouldn’t be alone.
An actual decent backstory for Vaas
While not confirmed, there are a couple clues that point to Vaas playing some role in Far Cry 6. First, the boy on the cover, Diego, has a similar scar to actor Michael Mando’s real-life (but not in-game) portrayal of Vaas. Mando also hinted in an AMA from earlier this year that he would reprise the role again. And the game’s description hints that Far Cry 6 takes place in the past by calling Yara a “tropical paradise frozen in time.”
There are a few detractors from this theory — Vaas was born on the Rook Islands and, unless it flashes forward, it would be odd to cast a fully grown man as a teenage version of himself — but it gives Ubisoft a chance to show how a man becomes so twisted. These new sections could fill in an arc and better fill out one of the series’ most iconic characters. Far Cry 6 doesn’t have to star Vaas and it would also have a decent chance of becoming the Solo to Far Cry 3, but if it has to be there, Vaas deserves to have a proper, respectful backstory and not be some cheap nostalgic ploy.