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SDCC2014: Far Cry 4 Panel

The Far Cry 4 panel took place on Thursday, July 24 at the San Diego Comic-Con 2014 (SDCC2014).  The panelists in attendance were Alex Hutchinson (Creative Director) and Krishna Andavolu (VICE Media).  It was moderated by Max Scoville (Destructoid) and consisted of some gameplay footage previously shown at E3, a behind-the-scenes documentary and an audience Q&A session.

Far Cry 4 takes place in the fictional country of Kyrat  for which Nepal was used as reference. Ajay Ghale was born there, but raised in the United States. He returns after his mother’s passing to scatter her ashes and is soon caught up in the infancy of Kyrat’s civil war. The dev team still wanted to go for a fish-out-of-water story, but one where everyone else knows the main character and his significance. This implies that Ajay Ghale might be related to someone who is or was important to Kyrat.

sdcc2014 far cry 4 panel

Shortly into the panel, gameplay footage previously screened at E3 was shown for the San Diego Comic-Con crowd. The video, which may be found below, has Ajay Ghale shooting crossbows, blowing things up with bombs, guns, stealing tuk-tuks and trucks, climbing, gliding from cliffs and relying on elephants to dispatch his enemies. If you’re saying you wouldn’t want to dispose of your enemies with elephants, you’re a big lying liar. It also shows off some co-op action where Hurk from Far Cry 3 makes an appearance in a gyro-copter. According to Hutchinson, the only features unavailable in co-op mode are solo missions.

Far Cry 4 E3 Gameplay Demo with Co-op

As part of their research for the game Mark Thompson (Narrative Director) and Philippe Fournier (Production Manager), who were not present at the panel, traveled to Nepal. They chose the country as the inspiration for their fictional nation because they wanted a location that contrasted well with the tropical environment of their last game. The mountainous region also offered more options for in-game environmental mechanics that involved heights.

This trip was filmed by VICE Media and will appear online as a short three-part documentary. The first of those was screened at The Far Cry 4 panel in San Diego. They described Nepal as a country of contrasts due to deeply embedded, ancient traditions and very recent and rapid modern development.

They wanted to know what it smelled like in Kathmandu and to build a more tangible connection with and understanding of the land that no one would be able to capture through pictures and text on the internet. The experience that most deeply affected the team was watching a festival in the old city area of Kathmandu which involved a Kumari, a living goddess in the local religion. They were struck by both the more serious religious aspects of festival as well as the light-hearted drinking and revelry. Much of the story changed based on that trip.

According to the developer, there is a character in the game who could become one of these living goddesses and Ajay may choose to allow the ceremony to proceed or stop it from taking place. They wanted to allow the player to choose between tradition and personal freedom.

Far Cry 4 Behind the Scenes Trailer

During the Q&A session, one audience member wanted to know how deeply your decisions could affect the direction of the game. The core story will remain the same, but missions within the game will change based on player choices.

Another asked if the skill system from Far Cry 3 would return. In the previous game there was a visible and physical representation of your character’s skill growth in the form of a sleeve of tattoos across his arm. While the skill system will return, there will be no physical representation in Far Cry 4.

When asked if the villain in Far Cry 4 would be more vital to the plot than in Far Cry 3, the developer said that they made a more conscious effort to invest in Pagan Min as an exotic and charismatic character. They billed him as the psychopath who hates everyone else, but likes Ghale. This should make for an uncomfortable relationship between the two.

The next question veered to the topic of elephants. The audience member wanted to know if they could be customized. The Far Cry 4 team decided against building that in. Players will, however, see different elephants.

Each player will be allowed to invite their friends to play using 10 co-op keys allotted to them through the game. The keys are time-locked to a couple of hours. Separately, multiplayer will return. While they did not elaborate on this, they did say it would be different from Far Cry 3 and more details would be released at a later date.

Far Cry 4 will be available for the  Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on November 18, 2014. For more information, visit the official website.

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