Far Cry 2 has received its fair share of attention over the last 12 months, but with the game finally going into submission for the consoles this week, Leipzig may be its last major showing. For that reason, we couldn't help but swing by the Ubisoft booth at the Games Convention to see how the nearly finished game is looking. Thankfully it's more promising than ever, especially now that we've seen the level editor functionality as well.
Ubisoft booted up the Xbox 360 version to show off a mission labelled Andre, which apparently comes 20 percent of the way into the game. We saw a mission briefing take place, something that the developers say will change from player to player depending on their previous actions in the game. As an open-world shooter, you're free to tackle the core missions as you like, which means you're also free to take on side missions at any point. One such side mission was phoned in as we watched the developers playing, and a woman called Flora Guillen requested some help attacking a nearby base. The developers opened up their map, jumped in a boat, and headed down the river to meet her.
Most of the vehicles in Far Cry 2 will have mounted weapons, allowing you to stop whatever you're driving and take out any pursuers. While on foot you can carry up to three weapons plus your machete, and as weapons degrade over time you'll often need to swap them out. It helps to know where the ammo dumps are, so they're drawn out for you on the map, and you have the choice of using them to stock up or using explosives to blow them up. If you blow up a supply of rifle ammo, for example, the explosion will send bullets flying in all directions and killing any surrounding enemies.
While this demo didn't show us anything we hadn't seen before, it was an encouraging sign of how the console version is coming along. The developer says that the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC versions have been developed from the same core build, so they'll all share the same features. While we didn't see the PS3 version, it's claimed that the aliasing on Sony's machine outperforms that of the 360, while on the PC it's all dependent on the specifications of your machine. The minimum specs for the PC are high, but it's easily one of the benchmark titles for this coming year and, thankfully, holds up well on the 360.
Perhaps the most important thing we saw at Leipzig was the map editor, which will also ship on all versions. You're given a half a square kilometer plot of land from which you can shape hills, create roads, and scatter vegetation. It looked easy to do all three from the demo we were given, as the vegetation will automatically disappear if you place a road or other conflicting feature in the map. The custom maps will work in multiplayer games only, so you have to create spawn points for people. You'll apparently be able to share your creations on Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network, and the PC, while players can rate how you did once they've played them. We also spotted one other juicy piece of information in the demo--there will be 'platform-specific content' coming in the future, so expect some Xbox 360 exclusives postrelease.
Far Cry 2 is shaping up as one of our most anticipated shooters of the year, and the map editor is sure to add to the game's appeal. The game was submitted to Sony this week for approval, and it will go through the same procedure for Microsoft next week. There's still no solid release date, but it's looking increasingly likely that we'll actually see the game before the year is out.