GC '07: Far Cry 2 First Look

Ubisoft Montreal is going way, way beyond the typical sequel with this stunning follow-up to Crytek's lush tropical shooter.

LEIPZIG, Germany--Considering that Ubisoft acquired the rights to Crytek's Far Cry and subsequently pumped out a slew of middling console ports and quasi-sequels, we were inclined to write off the original island hop's first true sequel, Far Cry 2, as another quick cash-in. Boy, were we wrong. A core technology team at Ubi's acclaimed Montreal studio has been working on the game in secret for over two years now, and even though it's still weeks away from even entering alpha stage, the hands-off demo of this PC-only title that we saw today at Games Convention went so far beyond the design of the original Far Cry that we don't even know where to begin talking about it.

Far Cry's action moves to the African savannah--and there's a whole lot more to it this time around.

We'll start with the storyline, which doesn't seem to be connected to the first game at all. This time around, you'll choose one of around a dozen mercenaries and undertake a mission to assassinate an arms trafficker known only as the Jackal. This arrogant scumdog is supplying two African warlords with the weapons that are keeping their conflict raging--and tearing their beleaguered nation apart in the process. As the game opens, you'll awaken in your hotel room stricken with malaria, with the Jackal sitting across the room and saying words to the effect that you're so pathetically incapable, he won't even bother to shoot you. But he'll leave a pistol by your bedside before he leaves, just in case your sickness gets too bad. Your goal will be to use that gun--or any other destructive means you can employ--to take out the Jackal, and what you do between that opening scene and the eventual completion of your mission will be up to you.

Put simply, Far Cry 2 is the closest game we've seen yet to a true "open world," and that's not just because you can roam around the entire game without ever seeing a loading screen. The only plot and environmental elements that are set in stone--the story's "superstructure," as creative director Clint Hocking puts it--are those described in the previous paragraph. Everything else is mutable, based on your actions, allegiances, and chosen missions, and ultimately the cascading effects of all those choices you make. Both warlords have a command hierarchy of captains and lieutenants, and if you happen to kill one of those underlings, the guys below him will move up to fill the role. You can even take out one of those warlords, and his number-two guy will simply become the new warlord. But it will be up to you whether you take missions from or against those two factions, ally yourself with them, try to take them down, or play them both against the middle. The game will even populate its world with the other selectable characters you didn't choose, and they'll act as agents who are also working in Africa, whom you can befriend and count on in a tight spot. We'll give more info on that later.

Weather patterns, foliage, and even fire will obey the laws of physics.

The organic nature of Far Cry 2's world doesn't stop at its residents; practically everything we saw during the demo was dynamic and realistic, thanks to the new engine Ubi Montreal has built from the ground up for the game. The game simulates full weather patterns and air currents, so when you see clouds in the sky, they aren't there because an artist painted them on the skybox--they're there because the atmospheric conditions were right for clouds to form. The same goes for falling rain and howling wind, the latter of which will realistically blow tree branches, grass, smoke from fires, and dust from the ground in the same direction it's moving. Those trees can be broken apart, and that grass can be flattened by a passing jeep--and they can both catch fire from any incendiary source, by the way. Heck, we saw a grassy field catch fire from an exploded fuel canister, and the fire actually began to spread in a particular direction simply because the wind was blowing it that way. Hopefully this cyclical example gives an impression of the sorts of dynamic systems at work in Far Cry 2.

As for our demo itself, we saw a brief section of the game where the player had taken a mission requiring him to attack and destroy a fuel depot. This began in a dense, oppressive jungle like those from the original Far Cry, but Hocking commented that the demo began in this area only to show that there will be jungles like those of the first game. The player then moved out into the open to show us a vast, open savannah, the likes of which will apparently make up most of the game's world. That world will apparently be huge; the player raised a paper map (much like a treasure map) and a functional compass to his perspective, and we were told that map showed about one kilometer of terrain, and that this represents just under one percent of the gameworld's total size. Again, you'll be able to roam around that entire world while it streams from the hard drive, without ever seeing a loading screen.

The game's free-form artificial intelligence means there's no telling what your enemies are doing down there.

When the player approached a mercenary camp and spied on it with the sniper rifle's scope, we saw a number of guards milling around. One was eating a meal in a hut, two were patrolling around the premises, and so on. Hocking commented that none of these actions are in any way prescripted. That guy won't always be eating in that hut--sometimes he'll be out on patrol, or he might be up in a guard tower, or any number of other actions. The bottom line is, if the game works as designed, you'll never find the exact same situation in the same place twice. In every mission, you'll have to hit the ground running and decide what to do on the fly.

The player engaged the mercs in a firefight after getting too close to their encampment, and jumped into one of their jeeps to make a quick getaway. But of course, the AI characters will know how to use all the equipment in the game too, and they piled into a truck (with a mounted machinegun in the back) to give chase. Again, Hocking said this behavior wasn't at all scripted; instead, the AI had identified the truck as the best means of pursuing and attacking the player, and their route wasn't at all set, either. The truck attempted to ram the player's jeep a couple of times and took some shots at it, but they were defeated when they happened to hit a bump the wrong way and flipped their vehicle. (Hocking seemed genuinely surprised this had happened.) Your vehicles in the game won't burst into cartoon-like explosions at the slightest provocation, but they can certainly be damaged, and will break down after too much abuse.

You'd better make some well-armed friends--it's a jungle out there.

Next up, the player paid a visit to his pal Marty, a fellow mercenary who had established a small camp on top of a hill near the fuel depot we were seeking. We got the impression Marty may have been one of the other selectable players from the beginning of the game. In this case, he was simply a friendly merc who was only friendly, according to Hocking, because the player had saved his life in a previous mission, and that had flagged him as an ally. You could just as easily make an enemy out of Marty by making different choices, though, or you could shoot him dead right there on the spot. The game is really about giving you carte blanch to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and no plot point will depend on the life or death of a character as low on the totem as old Marty.

Anyway, the player moved on down to the fuel depot and got ready to jump into combat with the enemies there. There are around 30 weapons in the game, and the player in this case had a modern American assault rifle and an RPG-7 at his disposal. Weapons will each have reliability ratings, and while that assault rifle is extremely accurate at range, for example, it's not reliable in the harsh conditions presented in Africa. An AK-47, by comparison, isn't very precise, but it will take a huge beating and keep on firing. Hocking wanted to further demonstrate the realism of Far Cry 2's weapons by showing off the RPG-7, the rockets of which don't engage until the projectile has already launch a few feet. So in the demo, the player pointed the weapon at the ground, fired, and literally bounced the grenade off the ground before it ignited in midair and went flying off at a weird angle.

Notice how we keep getting sidetracked? There was more to talk about in our 25-minute demo than we've seen in some entire games. The player finally moved on to assault the fuel depot, where he engaged a in frenetic fight with a number of guards there. After he took a few bullets, we got to find out more about the game's health system. Like most shooters these days, you'll regenerate from light damage after a short time, rather than relying on a finite health meter. But take too much damage and you'll have to apply first aid to yourself based on the nature of your injury. There will be a single first-aid hotkey that will contextually activate the right interaction, such as beating flames off of your sleeve or slapping a bandage on a large cut. We thought it was a little over-the-top when the player managed to dig a slug out of his thigh with a knife during the thick of a firefight, but the team is obviously still early in the design phase, so this is all subject to change.

Finally, the firefight heated up to a point that the player simply couldn't handle all the crossfire at once. But just before he died, we were stoked to see a familiar face--Marty appeared next to us and started hosing down the enemies with machine-gun fire. Once that was done, he helped the player up and bodily escorted him to safety, also assisting with the first aid. Like everything else in Far Cry 2, this wasn't programmed to happen. Instead, the player had "activated" Marty by speaking to him moments before attacking the fuel depot, which had put him on alert that the player was active in the area. According to Hocking, Marty was then attracted to the sound of battle and saw that the player was in dire straits and needed help. Obviously, it's going to be highly beneficial for you to make powerful friends in this game.

This is the closest thing to a living, breathing world that we've seen in a game so far.

So what kind of rig will you need to run this beast? The demo we saw was running on what was described as a high-end dual-core system with a GeForce 8800, which is admittedly a beefy PC, but also one that you can actually buy at retail right now. The final specs next spring, however, will be more modest; a fast single-core CPU and a high-end DirectX 9 card will purportedly do the job. The team is weighing the value of adding DirectX 10 features; it's likely those with DX10 support will enjoy a combination of improved performance and some slight visual upgrades. Far Cry 2 is definitely a beautiful game, what with the trees and grass individually swaying in the breeze, tons of particle effects accompanying the weather patterns, and shadows that even lay across that grass in a believable way. But it's not the graphics that has us most exited, but rather the internal stuff going on under the hood: weather, physics, and AI simulations. The demo was finally capped when the player jumped onto a hang glider after his rescue, soaring over the savannah and watching a herd of gazelles scatter below as he swooped low over them.

We try not to give ourselves over to hyperbole around here, so we'll just say that Clint Hocking is either a really skilled huckster, or he's working on a radically innovative first-person shooter that's going to set the PC world completely ablaze. For now, Ubi Montreal is focusing entirely on the PC version of the game, as Hocking says Ubi wants to reestablish itself as a premiere PC developer (though you can bet your sweet derrieres you'll see some version of this game on consoles eventually). We're trying to reserve unbridled excitement for the time being, until the game has gotten a lot closer to completion and we can vet the many ambitious mechanics for ourselves. But between the interesting gameplay Hocking told us about, and the extremely impressive demo we saw firsthand, we think Far Cry 2 is going to give other developers an awful lot to think about--and emulate--when it ships early next year.

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364 comments
JaRaNe
JaRaNe

anybody knows if dunia will have an editor like cry engine have sandobx

mattpickle
mattpickle

this game will show how far video game technology will go

toufiq
toufiq

looks nice though. Problem will be the spec of PC which will run it. With ever evolving gaming technology it is really hard for a poor buyer like me to buy anything to upgrade right now. there is no limit really...........hopeless....maybe I am gonna buy a PS3 .....that would do for several years...............

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Here we are now though, in January 2008, and console versions have been announced. PC games sales alone just don't cut it any more..... And we already have changes for console gamers. The 'pick the bullet out of yourself and bandage the wound' has been changed to a health bar and magic stim needles! Expect more changes for the console market that could very well make this into another Deus Ex 2! And as for STALKER wanting to be this - what crap! It ALREADY is this or better! I doubt that a) you will be able to guarantee to run this game on your current PC like you know you will the next STALKER game, and 2) I doubt you will have anything of the quality of A-Life in Far Cry 2, and A-Life will be even better in the next STAKER!

edgarsLV
edgarsLV

This is EXACTLY what STALKER wanted to be in a LOT of areas - wildlife, weather, topographics/geograhy, daytime simulation, AI (life-pattern simulation as well as combat) but failed rather poorly (I mean, even Crysis had better wildlife than Stalker and they weren't emphasizing that). Anyway, that second comparison is far more accurate I guess-this is on a WAY higher level than Stalker, and in some aspects, I'll bet, even higher than Crysis (especially AI, which sucked big time in crysis, delta felt like very easy difficulty, unfortunately). I am definitely looking forward to this one. One thing though: what's with the post processing (motion blur on screen edges) in what... most of the screenshots? that's just pure exaggeration of unnecessary FX. they shouldn't be there anytime there's an explosion or fire onscreen.

kfir-tenkiachi
kfir-tenkiachi

This is sooo amaizing it's going to be the kind of game first person shooters are expecting to develope for years!!! and sure i will by the Game^_^

keemoz
keemoz

Cant wait for it , i wonder how is the time pass by in the game , i saw growing plants and changing weather , they want to is to be real , so does the day pass in a real day time ?? :)

sickx4200
sickx4200

O M G i cant wait to play this game.. it is going to be the best game in about 5 years, besides counter strike source For those who do not have a really good p c you are going to need to build one if you wanna play this game to its fullest. I really do not think that they are going to make this game for x box. Only because of the cry-engine that they have had under development for some time now.{My set up is 2 Ati 3870 h d video card, and Intel core 2 duo processor, 4 gigs, and an a-Tec gaming case.. 2 8800 gt's will be fine as well.. while good gaming and see you soon in far cry 2 online mode..

cmitchell0897
cmitchell0897

Dynamic AI? Weather based on atmospheric conditions? No loading screens? This has the potential of being the best FPS ever. I can't wait!

gordanfreeman53
gordanfreeman53

Far cry 2 looks like it will be the best game of 2008.

lordkingwar
lordkingwar

im spending upwards of 1500 to build a computer this christmas and this makes it all worth it

Teebown24
Teebown24

i dont know gaara. it may not be a good idea to bring it to consoles. dont get me wrong, id be happy if it did come to 360, but id hope they wouldnt butcher it in the process.

gaara661
gaara661

this game better come out on x360

gacmyver
gacmyver

holy moly omg!!! after crysis being somewhat a dissapointment for me i came here to read about fra cry 2 and omg omg omg this preview sounds awesome!!! its hard to believe all that happened in the demo aren't scripted :S :S :S im really eager to see this game!

rmlr435
rmlr435

I wonder which graphics are better and which game will be more of a hardware hog: Crysis or Far Cry 2. I just hope that FC2 is less demanding so I can kill it with my 8800 gtx.

sw_and_wet
sw_and_wet

Geez....the graphic is just so good.....I just hope they release on console as well....seriously i don't think my computer will be able to play that....

lociefer
lociefer

Looks awsome , i hope they release it on ps3 or x360 , frankly my pc cant even handle the shadows , let alone the game itself

roblox84
roblox84

I just hope that this game doesn't have a lot of empty space in the map so it doesn't take 10 min. to drive from place to place and that there is big distinctions between villages unlike in oblivion where every lost cave you find in the forest almost looks the same. By the way bob, i thought that in the video the makers said the world will be 50km. But i may be wrong

adam0926
adam0926

I can't wait for this game it looks great

bobvila33
bobvila33

popdude338....they said in the description the map was 1 km. (since that was a map i assume that is 1 square km.) and that the map represented around 1% of the world size....this means the world is about 100 square km. or 38.5 square miles.....Oblivion was a world of around 16 square miles if i remember correctly...making far cry 2's world a little over 2 times as big.....just in case you wanted to know

pistolsmoke_254
pistolsmoke_254

Game of the Year for 2008 guaranteed!!! I can't wait for this one, I've been dying for a sequel since the XBOX version. It's hard to believe that they can do half of what this preview says. It's nice to see this type of gameplay in a FPS, I'm tired of just running around and blasting the hell out of aliens and zombies and guerilla mercenaries. Having consequences for all of your decisions really brings a breath of reality to gaming, and it's about time one of these developers tapped into it.

Paceydre
Paceydre

Finally a game with more interactive environmental gameplay (great physics, same for Crysis)

commadore1990
commadore1990

This Game is looking to be far more advanced than Crysis. CANT WAIT!

Hellisunreal
Hellisunreal

if whats written is real, then no force on earth will stop this game

statmaster19
statmaster19

Can't wait for this game. It'll be interesting to see if this type of open-ended game play makes it into the final build intact.

popdude338
popdude338

i wonder how it compares to oblivion's size :P lol

Lidve
Lidve

I love Ubisoft :)

applepod
applepod

In regard to this, it seems quite possible that the "next generation" games will not be the last generation! (At least I hope so!!!)

smiggles116
smiggles116

Thank god that Ubisoft has finally decided to make a true Far Cry sequel instead of the cheap crap they have been putting out the last two years.

LorenaLarue
LorenaLarue

Are those actual screenshots? Because it looks like they've been drawn by hand. If that is how the game really looks I am very impressed.

reeve92
reeve92

omg i think this game rocks but omg all you geeks saying noob hahaha lol all i can do is laff i mean dude you need female contact

Lord_Midas
Lord_Midas

"david2475 halo 3 looks better" LOL what a n00b

kragore
kragore

"The bottom line is, if the game works as designed, you'll never find the exact same situation in the same place twice" that is what i'm looking forward to the most. in most games if u fail and die, all u have to do is quickload and try another tactic. whereas in farcry 2 this wont be possible. it will be like gambling, since ai is not present, the possibilities are endless :D

Pereza0
Pereza0

Id rather get Crysis, this is gonna get delayed till 2009....................

GingeOnGinger
GingeOnGinger

Woah looks amazing. And; 'halo 3 looks better' - LMAO

mitu123
mitu123

This is going to be one of the best PC games ever. I've played Far Cry, and if they can improve the first one, this is going to be awesome.

the-big-zed
the-big-zed

This is going to be superior compared to Crysis...

GriffinLord602
GriffinLord602

Well even if they bring this game to the consoles...to be honest if you got a good sturdy pc, then this game will play fantasticly, that is if you didnt just buy any pc from stores... you dont need a high end card, just a performance one. like my card plays BioShock at all high and it wasnt at high end, it was performance, and anyway, i think farcry should stick to pc. FPS's are much more entertaining on pc's than they are on consoles...but i suppose this is upto them. That is the problem with people who prefer consoles, when developers bring out outstanding games, they all want it on consoles, and with the pc the majority of games developed are amazing, and thats why for instance...they brought Oblivion to the 360/ps3... Im not saying consoles are bad...I just think they keep to the pc's with these kind of games because consoles as someone has mentioned (rocketman97) the consoles become outdated... and pc's keep on growing and growing in power and get visualy stronger... so consoles just cant keep up, and most likely the next xbox or ps will come out, in about 3 to 5 years...so this again is probably why they dont bring all the really awsome pc games out on consoles... and like others have said... about far cry being competition to crysis... WTF! The sound of the second farcry already makes big competition compared to crysis...so when farcry comes out, undoubtedly it will be much much bigger and better than crysis. But i do not doubt that crysis will be an amazing game, i just think this is a stepping stone towards farcry 2...AND how they managed to keep it a secret for 2 years i dont know...but they did a good job, and the pics are awsome...and they aint even in alpha stage of production yet!... thats enough said i think lol

X-MANGAMES
X-MANGAMES

I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Platearmor_6
Platearmor_6

To rocketman97 - the problem with consoles is it cut the price to something reasonable, so generaly things like the RAM is not quite up to scratch as it could be. So console play games like R6 and GoW to perfection but once the shooters start getting into bigger landscapes with more going on they begin to struggle. Its not that consoles are bad, there just a bit lopsided in the specs.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

Everyone does realize that because they are going for an open-world, this game will more than likely be released with bugs?! And you know what - I don't care! If it's a choice between easy to program and therefore bug-free 15 hour gameplay, on the rail, scripted shooters and open-world games with 10 times the content, 20 times the world size and one fifth the cost by virtue of being at least five times the gameplay, I will go for open games every time!

jayme22
jayme22

i hope t comes to consoles but i bet we dont get all these weather effects and stuff the are talking about

rocketman97
rocketman97

boy, i wish that they would bring this to consoles. but even just looking at these make me thing that this game would REALLY push consolses right now. and heck, theyve only been out for a year or 2. It's kinda sad for us console owners that tech becomes outdated so fast. too bad consoles arent as easily upgraded as pcs

omerdv
omerdv

this game looks amazing!!! i'll pick it up when it comes out after i'll see some reviews though...