Ubisoft has stressed the important of Far Cry 4's Himalayan landscape, saying it is the "main character of the game".
Vincent Ouellette, Senior Level Designer on Far Cry 4, has spoken out to TrustedReviews, highlighting how important location is to the Far Cry experience.
"Choosing the location was actually one of the first things we did when starting the project. In the end it’s the main character of the game, we treat it like that. You’re always in the world. It needs to speak to you, it needs to be inviting, you need to want to explore more of it," explained Ouellette.
An exotic location has certainly been one of the defining features of previous Far Cry games. The original Far Cry was set on a South Pacific archipelago, while Far Cry 2 took your character to a Central African State currently embroiled in a bloody civil war. The latest game, Far Cry 3, was set on a tropical island somewhere between the Indian and Pacific Oceans overrun by mentally unhinged pirates.
Far Cry 4 will take you to Kyrat, a mythical and mystical location in the Himalayas. The location was chosen because Ubisoft wanted to do a few different things with the landscape in Far Cry 4 - mostly introducing better verticality and a wider variety of animals.
"More verticality – that’s something that we absolutely wanted. We ended up with tools like the grappling hook and the Buzzard. These new gameplay tools that help you take advantage of the verticality."
"A really diverse environment in this part of the world is amazing in this location as well. There’s a huge height difference in small areas. At the bottom of the valley it’s very lush vegetation and then you start going up and you’ll find pine trees in the rocky areas all the way up to the snowy peaks of the mountain. It’s super diverse and it changes even the architecture. People in the valleys built their houses with wood, because there’s a lot of wood available. Then you start going up and wood is a sparse resource. They’ll keep it for fires and build their house with rocks instead."
"All these details, we did a lot of research and it all went in the game to make it feel really believable. So you go around and sometimes you won’t even have to open your world map to know where you are."
As for the animals, Far Cry 4 introduces elephants, which can be ridden and used as powerful allies. There's also honey badgers, which Ouelette describes as "super small and super fast. They're really hard to shoot too and they're vicious".
In previous interviews, Ubisoft has said South America and Russia were also considered as potential locales for Far Cry 4.
"We had a few ideas before we scouting out different locations, but the stars aligned pretty quickly on the Himalayas because everything worked really well – gameplay side and art side."
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