How Real-life Conflict Inspired Far Cry 4

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How Real-life Conflict Inspired Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4 is the upcoming first-person shooter from developer Ubisoft Montreal. Set in the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat, this nation torn apart by war draws heavily from real-world locations to make the game feel authentic.

We caught up with Mark Thompson, narrative director, and Alex Hutchinson, creative director, to find out how visiting Nepal to meet people who actually fought in the civil war helped to inspire the development of Far Cry 4.

“One of the first things we did was to write down a list of different animals to include in the game,” Mark told us when we met up with the team at Ubisoft recently in Montreal.

“We also made a list of environment features we wanted. From that we looked at locations where the two would make sense, and we came to the Himalayas. We needed to find somewhere that had a history of conflict — somewhere that could be politically unstable — the kind of place that you would go to that was on the edge of the map. Places that are referred to as ‘failed states.'”

Far Cry 4Far Cry 4

The difference between taking inspiration from real-world conflict and actually trying to show a real war is key to understanding the setting for Far Cry 4, Mark explained:

“When you come face-to-face with another human who has been through conflict, it makes you think about things a little differently. You think very seriously about what the conflict is and how you’re going to be inspired by that to make a video game. Before we went to Nepal we were definitely more earnest. We were very focused on the Nepalese civil war and what we had in terms of good versus evil was very much inspired by that.”

By meeting local people who had been affected by such conflict, what the team learned in Nepal altered the direction of the game irrevocably.

“In Nepal I was talking to people who had been child soldiers in a conflict to save their own country, and we didn’t want to misrepresent that”, said Mark, “We have lots of objectives and rewards that involve shooting guns just for fun — ultimately the game we make is fun.”

Rather than attempting to catalog a historical war, the game pushes towards an extreme, almost darkly comic narrative, as Alex Hutchinson, creative director on Far Cry 4 explained:

“We are not a grey-brown military shooter. You’re not in the game because you made a promise to someone or to get your men back from behind enemy lines — we tell ‘fish out of water’ tales.

“In Far Cry 4 your character is actually from Kyrat and you’re coming back. We put the player in the character’s shoes, so they’re discovering — or rediscovering — this location for themselves.”

Far Cry 4

You will have caught a glimpse of some of the more extreme aspects of Kyrat in the recent trailers involving Far Cry 4’s big bad — Pagan Min. You’ll see him on the cover of the game wearing a bright pink suit and rocking a bleached blonde hairdo, but Pagan Min could have sported a very different look.

“Initially Pagan Min was kind of a straight down the line, classic dictator,” says Alex. With much more info to come surrounding the seemingly psychotic Min, this is one tyrant sure to titillate and terrify in equal measure.

There are several aspects to Far Cry 4 that show it as a game with its tongue placed firmly in its cheek, whether you’re experiencing over-the-top action aboard a gyrocopter or charging enemies atop an elephant. One area we found particularly pleasing was in the subtle, witty wordplay of its lively, colorful script.

“I’m the only British guy that contributes to the narrative and I think I’ve been colored by the pun culture of the tabloid press in Britain. Most of the terrible puns you can find in the game are directly attributable to me” — look out for “Shangri Lager”, a nod to the recently announced Shangri-La single-player missions, for a taste of Mark’s punmanship.

“Sometimes you’ll find that the game is self-aware, sometimes you’ll find dark humor where you won’t know whether to laugh or be mortally offended by it, but the puns you’ll find are my way of making the game a little less heavy — which I think a lot of shooters try to be.”

You can get your hands on Far Cry 4 on November 18th for PS4 and PS3.

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  • This looks pretty cool! Aside from Fary Cry 3’s unlikable hereos and overly-drug-induced tone I really liked the game! :)

  • I loved Far Cry 3, but this is again similar to Assassin’s Creed in that I am still very hesitant to let myself be excited about the next game in the series (at launch at least, for full price…) until I see some reviews.. because I hope this is a progression from Far Cry 3, not just a pretty new version of it. The story is what needed the most fine-tuning in Far Cry 3. Other than that, it’s obviously TONS of fun playin in the open world of Far Cry.. so I’ll eventually get the game regardless. I just hope the story turns out to be good too, to glue it all together.

    Also, MULTIPLAYER. Almost forgot about it! The level editor in the previous Far Cry games was AMAZING. My friends re-created popular maps from many shooters…especially the classic SOCOM maps…. What other game lets CONSOLE players create their own FPS battlegrounds??? THOUSANDS of online maps? Awesome. It was just too bad that the mic quality in Far Cry 3 was bad. I can’t wait to hear about Far Cry 4’s multiplayer now and IF this game has a map creator (or if you guys will PLEASE patch 1 in if there isn’t one at launch?) ..then this game will easily be the best game of 2014.. I’ll call that right now.. even if it has no story at all. :)

  • Can Ubisoft please finally just stop with those extreme bullshots! It’s so awful. Not only that the graphics in every possible way are heavily touched up, but also all those scenes are so staged. This is in no way acceptable!

  • The only thing I’m understanding from this article is that this game’s narrative is ‘a fish out of water’. Perhaps like some kind of dark Monty Python set in Nepal?

    It’s a little confusing. For example:

    “In Nepal I was talking to people who had been child soldiers in a conflict to save their own country, and we didn’t want to misrepresent that”, said Mark, “We have lots of objectives and rewards that involve shooting guns just for fun — ultimately the game we make is fun.”

    They didn’t want to misrepresent the plight of child soldiers in the conflict, so there are’s a lot of shooting just for fun in the game? I’m not sure what that paragraph is even supposed to convey. Am I missing something?

  • Nah, that’s really how the game looks. For real!
    Like Ubisoft said before, they just took the PC version running at max settings and put it right on the PS4, and it just worked OOB. Because the new consoles are so much like a PC. That’s why all versions will look the same. I’m sure there will be no mysterious settings this time around, right Ubisoft? You guys will scrub those right out.

  • Far Cry 3 was outstanding and the fourth instalment here looks even better. Can’t wait for its release later this year!


  • Farcry 4 is already a must-buy….Ubi did a great job…game looks really good.I’ll be buying it later.Still got Farcry 3 sealed.

  • I’d love crossplay with my Wii U, Sony. Just saying. Not implying.

    Not implying Nintendo can have online relations here. With their new battle game.

    Awesome graphics you got their for the PS4.

  • I was a huge fan of the last Far Cry game. It was AWESOME. I love the open world and all the detail that they put into it. If something’s worth doing it’s worth doing right. Looks like these guys and gals subscribe to the same school of thought.

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