Far Cry 5 producer on hiring animals, ditching radio towers, and building a resistance

Last week the folks at Ubisoft invited us to a ranch in Northern California to get our hands on the latest build of Far Cry 5 as well as experience activities that you might be doing in the game.

Some of the new aspects that were announced during the event were the game’s structure around building the resistance to the cult, how the game has changed from previous Far Cry titles, and how the game lets the player determine how the story will play out.

We spoke with Far Cry 5 producer, Darryl Long, to get more details.

One of the biggest aspects of Far Cry 5 is this Resistance Meter. Can you explain its purpose?

The genesis of the idea came from the game structure itself. We wanted to change the way the people played the game. We wanted them to discover the opportunities and content in the game at their own pace. So we wanted to find a system that would allow players to set the pace of the story, set the cadence of how the story unfolds. The solution for that, for us, was the Resistance Meter. The idea of building a resistance and inspiring the people of Hope County to rise up against the cult and fight back and allowing you to take down the cult, that came from the idea of when the player is exposed to the world. We give them a specific objective, we don’t say you have to go here. That’s really how the game works.

After the introduction of the game, the say, go where you want and figure out how to take down the cult in your own way. So you go out into the world and start talking to people. You talk to people, and these are civilians, these are normal people who have been traumatized by the cult. Some of them have been taken prisoner, some of have known people who have been taken, and some of them want to fight back. All these people have a different story to tell. They give you information that will drive you towards the things that will allow you to make a difference in Hope County and help you build a resistance to fight back against the cult.

Radio towers were a big part of Far Cry 4 and opened up the game’s regions. In Far Cry 5, the radio towers are gone and other characters open up the regions, right?

The idea is to let players go for what’s interesting to them. To allow players to express themselves through the way that they play where they don’t feel like they’re driven towards something. It’s them driving the story and the game and how it unfolds. So, again, filling the world with opportunities, tons of different characters and personalities you can meet and talk to them. And if you want to help them, you can go do this activity. If you need money, you can go fishing, you can go hunting, allowing the player to organically open up the game to themselves.

For me, I’m working on the game, I’ve played it five times, start to finish just in the last couple of months. Every time I play, it truly is different. Until I played the game multiple times, I didn’t realize just how different it was. I played the game, I’ve gone to different regions first, talked to different people first, and what I find is I’m not thinking about where I’m going, or what’s my next objective. I’m not chasing a chain of missions anymore. I’m going into a world and experiencing a game as it was me there. I think from the beginning the team understood this. We’re building a game where you truly immerse yourself in the experience and you lose yourself to the world, trying to make a difference and stop the cult.

One of the feature favorites of Far Cry Primal, was the animals you could tame and have them attack on your behalf. You guys have kind of brought that to Far Cry 5 with Fangs-For-Hire where you have three animals, Boomer (dog), Peaches (cougar), and Cheeseburger (bear)?

The Fangs-For-Hire all have different abilities and different strategies. And that’s one of the interesting things about the For Hire System, different Guns-for-Hire or Fangs-For-Hire allow them to be strong in different situations. It’s up to you as a player to decide in a situation, who you need. The game gets more difficult as you play, the player gets stronger and they start to piss off the cult and they start to fight back harder, the enemies are stronger but you get better Guns-for-Hire. And that’s why the Guns-For-Hire are there. They’re there to help you when it gets tough. Depending on the situation, you need to decide, alright, what is the strategic decision I’m going to make before I attack this cult outpost or I do this mission? Who do I want with me? Do I want Death from Above with Nick Rye and go in loud and just bomb them or soften them up from the air before I start? Or hire a character like Jess, who is a silent, deadly bow killer? Or if you need a tank, send in Cheeseburger, he’s going to take out all the agro and you get to go in and clean up afterwards.

So the player is constantly allowed to decide, how am I going to attack this? Then as you move through the game, you can have two Guns-for-Hire and that’s when things get really interesting. They all have different personalities but they know each other. They all grew up in Hope County, so some of them are cousins, or related in another way. The best for me is Hurk and Sharkey. When the two of them are together, they start making fun of each other. Sharkey starts making fun of Hurk’s name and other things, it’s hilarious. And when you stop playing the game and you’re just sitting there in the open world with all this chaos going on around you and you’re listening to these two guys yelling at each other.

I also noticed that they really can’t be killed.

From a gameplay perspective, as far as Guns-For-Hire and Fangs-For-Hire, you can revive them. If something really bad happens to them, like they get lit on fire, or they get blown up or something, you lose your Guns-For-Hire for a while, but they come back.

What’s the crafting system like this time around?

We wanted to make sure the crafting system reinforced the fantasy of what you’re doing in the game. So in this one you can craft things like dynamite, C4 and other consumables that will help you in your battle against the cult. There are also the homeopathics, where you can combine different plants together. Those things are still in the game and as the game gets harder, that’s the kind of the depth of the game that you’ll need to start using.

Before starting a mission, okay, what do I need to craft, or what do I need to find to craft things before I attack the really hard outpost? And the outposts do get harder later in the game. It also depends what order you do them in. If you go to the F.A.N.G. Center outpost in the beginning of the game, it’s difficult, but if you go back later in the game, it’s much, much harder because the cult is starting to fight back. So you have to think, do I want to take the speed boost homeopathic, do I want to craft a bunch of C4, do I need to go around the world looting things before I attack this? Then decide what Guns-For-Hire you want bring and then decide if you want to do this in co-op.

Speaking of co-op, you can pretty much play the entire campaign with a friend, correct?

Yes. That’s when things get really, really interesting. I was playing in co-op a few weeks ago and I decided that I’m going to go do a Pepper Stash and the reward for the Pepper Stash is an airplane with guns and bombs on it. So I go get the airplane and my co-op partner and I are flying the plane to attack the F.A.N.G. Center. Then we jump out of the airplane, we wingsuit down into the F.A.N.G. Center and we take the rest of it on foot. It’s things like this where the game allows you to react in so many different ways to what’s happening around you, that you’re constantly surprising yourself by the things that can happen.

I only found one Pepper Stash in my playthrough so far.

There’s a bunch of Pepper Stashes. There’s little things hidden all throughout the world. The things we’re going to hear about when the game comes out will be people discovering things that the never expected would be in the game. When you finish the game, you will have a completely different experience than I would have.

Hunting and fishing are a significant part of the game. Is that the only way to make money?

We wanted to create ways for the player to generate money in the world. Fishing and hunting are two money sources for the player so you can unlock new gear in the store. You can buy new guns, new types of ammo, we’ve introduced a bunch of new ammo types like incendiary rounds, that you can get at the store but you need money to get it. So doing the open world activities and the Clutch Nixon trials as well as the time challenges, these are also great ways to earn money. You can also buy clothes, so for the first time in a Far Cry game you can choose what you look like and what you wear. Again, it’s to break down that barrier of immersion. It’s really you in the game and you’re the one playing this experience.

Far Cry 5 launches on March 27 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.