Interview: Far Cry 5’s Dan Hay Discusses The Series’ Bold New Direction
Far Cry 5 is making a drastic change from what you’d normally expect in the open-world [...]
Far Cry 5 is making a drastic change from what you'd normally expect in the open-world first-person shooting series. Instead of visiting an exotic land – or even outer space – you're put right in the heartland of Montana, where you're practically going head-to-head with an evil cult leader, his "family" and his followers. And they all have itchy trigger fingers.
Throughout this new adventure, you'll have to build a little army of your own, working alongside a number of surprising adversaries and creating resources that allow you to topple camps your own way, slowly trying to wrestle away control from Joseph and his followers.
It's a new direction that could be one of Ubisoft's biggest and best to date for the series, but we wanted to get further insight into what it's all about. So, we sat down with the series' executive producer and creative director, Dan Hay, to get an idea of what to expect from the new entry.
All About The New Location
This seems like a bold new direction for the Far Cry series. We've seen it go, in the past, to international locations, and even seen it go back to the Stone Age, but this one really tackles a controversial topic. What led you on this decision to go down this path with the Far Cry 5 story?
I think, what we talked about, typically Far Cry is taking you to thousands of miles away and taking you to an exotic location. It's just really interesting to kinda be able to take you to your backyard and be able to say, "Maybe there are things in your backyard that are even more exotic than something a thousand miles away." And so we started kicking around the idea where we wanted to go. And we knew that wanted to take Far Cry to the States, just because I don't think people were expecting that.
And then we started thinking about, "Where?". And the idea of Montana kinda came out…I don't remember where it came out…and everybody was like, "That is completely unexpected." No one would've expected us to do that, which means it felt right.
And so, just thinking about the idea of having this person, this cult leader, who believes that a collapse is imminent, and they go out and have to save people from it, whether they wanted to be saved or not, it really resonated for us. And we went to Montana just to see if it was believable, to see if that type of person could do that there. We were there for a very short amount of time, fell in love with Montana, and had the feeling like it was a great place to be able to put that story.
So we built our own version of Montana, we built our own Hope County, we put the cult in it, we made it beautiful and rich and exciting, and people love what they see.prevnext
A Change-Up In Character
Let's talk about the enemies within this game. The Far Cry series has always been about having flamboyant, over-the-top sort of bad guys. These guys seem very real, very devoted to their cause, and it seems like they would go to hell and back to make sure that nobody gets in their way. So how much thought went into building this cult and making them so aggressive?
The thing I'll say is that, you go back as far as Far Cry 3 and you look at Vaas, and what it took to make that character, right? You make somebody that has charm, somebody who's a villain, somebody who's dangerous, but somebody who's also captivating, right?
Then you go to Far Cry 4, and Pagan Min. Somebody who's a ruler, but not in the way that you would expect. We have a first-person camera, so you have the opportunity to sit with these folks and actually get to know them.
And then you take a look at what we're thinking about for Far Cry 5, the opportunity to build our own cult, to be able to create this cast of characters, and to be able to have this magnetic leader who believes this vision and then have people that follow him…that was amazing for us.
But then there's also the flip side of that coin, which is, for the first time in Far Cry, you're gonna be able to meet these people around the world who can be part of your resistance, and it's not just you against one person. It's you against the cult and the family that's in the cult. Plus, you're enlisting all these characters around the world that you can then build a resistance with, and they feel real.
Some of those interactions that you're going to be having – like you did with Vaas, like you did with Pagan Min – you may be having people that are your friends, people that you want to enlist to be able to build this resistance. And it's super challenging, but it's super cool to do.prevnext
Man's Best Friend
Plus you feel a connection with those characters, in terms of fighting back and actually starting to care about these people.
Yes. When you talk about the word "care", you want to be able to have a real interaction. I mean, right now, you and I, we don't know each other, but we're talking and we understand, we're having a real interaction. And that's a difficult thing to pull off in a video game.
That extends also to the animals, into the fact that we want to give you a pet. We want to give you a dog. We're in Montana, and while we're hunting, there's the dog, staring at this motion. We watch this dog for what feels like an eternity, and the dog barks and wags his tail, and the other guy says, "Always trust your dog."
It was a real moment. And that's part of the reason why we wanted to be able to put a pet, where you can have that thing where, this is…yes, it's a digital animal in a digital world, but you have a real feeling towards them, and then go off and they help you. And you can take them with you and they're a tool to be used, to kind of hit the different vectors, only they actually come with you as you go, so it just gets better and better.
And it's a more realistic thing, it's not like you come charging in on a tiger in Far Cry Primal. You can't do that here.
(laughs) He's a dog, right? And you can scratch him behind the ears and you feel like he's with you. He's your best friend.prevnext
Let's Raise Some Hell (And That's No Bull)
We got a small glimpse of Far Cry 5's gameplay, and I'm really excited about the idea of dive bombing a compound with a fighter plane. It looks like a lot of fun and…the whole Rolling Thunder truck thing. That's a nice little hint of what's to come, too. Vehicles have always played a big part in Far Cry, but you're really expanding the possibilities here.
In terms of vehicles and what-not, one of the challenges about building a real world is making sure you get all the nuances right. And if I'm going to the States, I want to drive a muscle car. I want to be able to take a classic car and drive it out in the middle of nowhere. I want to be able to get into an 18-wheeler. I want to be able to go all over Hell's Half Acre and destroy stuff and have a great time.
But when you think about what else we're doing, we're bringing the opportunity for you to have somebody like Nick Rye, who's got this plane and can bomb at his own command to help you. Or, you can actually get in the plane and fly over stuff and bomb it yourself and have dogfights with the cult. We're trying to hit a lot of different things, and I think we're doing a good job.
What would you actually prefer – going into a muscle car and driving your way through a compound, or shooting down from above? Because I tell you, I'm tempted to do both, just to see the effects in the game.
I gotta say that when you're flying around our world, and you're just looking at it, and you're kinda just going through the clouds and you're taking it in, you kinda forget that you're in the game, and then all of a sudden a cultist will attack or you get shot at from down on the ground. And you get your guns on and you take them out before you drop a bomb and you basically…what happens is, is that those are the moments where you basically incite the anecdote factory and something that you did creates a whole different thing happening on the ground and you kind of follow that to its conclusion. That's what we want to go for.
Far Cry 5 will release on February 27th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.prev