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How Far Cry 5 sticks to the "fucked up and weird" formula

Radio towers are finally out, but the weird shit still permeates Far Cry.

Despite the changes to Far Cry 5's formula, where overly-familiar elements like the radio towers and mini map have been thrown out, there are still core Far Cry elements for fans of the franchise.

And not just in terms of its familiar go-anywhere, fight-a-flamboyant-badguy formula.

From burning fields of weed to riding rampaging elephants, magical sleeve tattoos, playing as a mammoth and harpoon-wielding bro Hurk's caveman descendants, Ubisoft has been blending the sublime with the ridiculous since Far Cry 3.

"If you look at the different pillars of the world, I think that we are always about this open world with a lot of freedom, there is always this charismatic villain that we love to hate, there is always a bit of a rabbit hole also, a place that is going to be fucked up and weird," Jean-Sébastien Decant, narrative director of Far Cry 5, told VG247 at a recent hands-on event.

"Then there is this mix up too, it’s a salad of flavours, and depending on the moment and the level of the importance of the story you can find something that’s going to be dark, or something that is super fun and ridiculous, and in the middle, even in this one we’ve tried to fill with some touching moments."

Far Cry 5 intends to break its own rules, throwing out some of the established - and some would say tired - elements that have become part of the franchise's formula.

"The most different thing is the level of freedom that we managed to deploy in this episode," said Decant.

"And the fact that we also kind of broke the formula. You know there is no radio tower? It’s really about letting the player jump into a world, and just explore the surroundings and discover for himself what’s going to be interesting and create his own agenda."

"We worked hard on ensuring that when you fight the cult, they fight back" - Jean-Sébastien Decant, narrative director, Far Cry 5

But Far Cry 5 isn't all freedom despite giving that impression on the surface. There are hidden challenges being pushed at the player as they journey across Hope County encountering this episode's villains, the Eden's Gate cult and its leader Joseph Seed.

"What was super interesting and quite difficult is to ensure that - even if you don’t realise it - we actually are of kind of aware of where you are and are proposing you stuff that could work for you in that specific moment," said Decant.

"We were finding these different avenues that were part of the cultists’ story and cult organisation that we could study and it was an opportunity to actually take the player and impose that on him."

Far Cry 5's enemies are intended to be more aggressive towards the player, pushing back at conflict rather than waiting for it to come to them.

"We worked hard on ensuring that when you fight the cult, they fight back," said Decant, who previously worked on spin-off Far Cry Primal.

"There are some groups from The Father that will become more aggressive after a while, and they will send helicopters and even planes, it depends on the region.

"And at the same time it inspires also the people of Hope County. The civilians that lost their homes or lost someone from their family are inspired by your actions, so we tried to have a reactive world."

Far Cry 5 is out for PC, Xbox One and PS4 March 27. Interview conducted at a recent event where travel was paid for by Ubisoft.

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