WP : How does Jack move from prey to predator skills? Is that please linked to the story?
PR: Jack’s evolution is at the heart of the Far Cry Instincts experience. Our theme is “Adapt or Die,” and in the story this is linked to the research of the main antagonist, Dr. Krieger. Krieger believes that modern humans have become too disconnected with the natural world. He develops a serum that allows humans to tap into their dormant animal abilities. After Carver receives this serum (involuntarily), he begins to manifest improved strength, speed, stamina and senses. But he also finds it easier to fall back on raw aggressiveness to deal with his enemies, and this pushes him steadily towards savagery and inhumanity. Carver starts out at a disadvantage, but over time becomes uniquely suited to the tropical wilderness. He becomes the perfect predator.
WP : Is Jack becoming a sort of animal? Specimen?
PR: Outwardly, Jack’s physical form doesn’t change much. He’s becoming a Feral human, which is reflected more in his behaviour, his instincts and his awareness of the world around him. After he first receives the serum, the player will notice some subtle changes in his first-person animations: His arms will reflect increased muscle tone, his veins and sinew will be more noticeable and in a cool subtle effect, the tattoos that he starts with at the beginning of the game have faded slightly because his body is actually regenerating. We really want to reinforce to the player that Carver’s evolution is manifested through an inner conflict, between humanity and inhumanity.
WP : Why did you choose to make this variation compared to PC? What feeling do you think that bring compared to other shooters on the market?
PR: For one thing, looking at Far Cry Instincts as a console-specific experience, we knew we needed to provide the player with a certain amount of depth, and enough variety of systems and mechanics to appeal to different tastes and gaming styles. For another, Far Cry as a brand proposition in the mind of gamers is about open environments, exploration and the ability to tackle challenges in your own way, with often surprising results. We wanted to ensure that Far Cry on the console retained that ability to thrill and delight. So we decided that evolution would be the core value of the game. We would start Jack out in the situation that players of the PC game are already familiar with, and then take this surprising turn in order to allow them to unlock new options for taking on the world. When you factor in our new trap system and the new terrain types and adaptive AI, what you get is a shooter that really takes full advantage of its outdoor settings, and plays with the idea that these visually beautiful settings, are really lethal just below the surface. This is something that has yet to really come to the fore in another FPS title. I like to say that Far Cry Instincts claims sole ownership of the “wilderness shooter” genre.
WP : How the predator feeling does transcribe in terms of gameplay?
PR: The first levels are designed to reinforce the sense that Jack’s outnumbered and outgunned by providing the player with more opportunities for stealth-oriented action, or with hit-and-run tactics as he begins to acquire better weapons and vehicles. We’ve brought in a trap system for Jack that lets the player improvise branch-whips and set tripwire mines. After Jack receives the serum that unlocks his Feral Abilities, he finds himself having to be more proactive, raiding enemy camps or conducting guerrilla-style missions. This puts him in a more offensive role, but against progressively tougher enemies who know how to manoeuvre. Also, the Feral Abilities come with a cost, since the same injection also renders Jack vulnerable to some of Krieger’s special countermeasures, including a Sonic Alarm that causes great pain and loss of perception. Because the Feral Abilities force Jack to expend Adrenaline as a kind of fuel, the player will also have to conserve that Adrenaline and when necessary go stealthy to give himself time to regenerate. In the last act of the game, Jack has unlocked all of his Feral Abilities and suffers fewer drawbacks, making him tougher and less inhibited, for instance expending less Adrenaline to perform the same feats and being able to restore it quickly in a surge of bloodlust by using his Feral Attack on his enemies. Once he becomes this powerful, we introduce big set-piece battles pitting him against larger numbers of human and inhuman foes in more dangerous terrain.
WP : Could you please give us more details on the 3 feral attacks?
PR: There are three main classes of Feral Ability. Feral Strength allows the player to punch through light materials bare-handed; uproot mounted weapons and carry them around manually; and perform a kind of lunging slash attack against targets a short distance away. Feral Sense encompasses Jack’s vision, hearing and smell and lets him see in the dark, track scent trails and locate living beings around him. Feral Speed, as the name suggests, lets Jack run cheetah-fast. In addition to these three “active” abilities, Jack automatically regenerates both his health and Adrenaline over time.
WP : How would you gain the predator skill?
PR: The various abilities are unlocked incrementally over the course of the game following the injection. Initially, Jack’s only aware of his increased strength and regeneration. Later, when he finds himself in situations that put pressure on his survivability, he “adapts” by manifesting a new aspect of his Feral nature. For instance, he learns to recognize scents and track by smell when he finds himself in a dense rain forest where it seems like he can get lost easily if he tries to rely on vision alone. This incremental approach lets us create a strong connection between the Feral mechanics and the game’s story, because it’s more than just a high-level plotline; it’s a series of events that unfold on the ground, where Jack is fighting for his survival.
WP : Would you be able to use them whenever you want?
PR: In general, once you’ve unlocked a particular ability, you have access to it whenever you need it. Of course there are two wrinkles to this: The first is that using your Feral Sense or Speed expends Adrenaline, which takes time to recover. The second is that if you employ your Feral Attack for an instant kill and to recharge your Adrenaline, you’ll experience a temporary degradation in your vision and hearing – think of it as “seeing red” or having that roaring in your ears that comes with the primitive rush of combat. These drawbacks will force the player to pace himself somewhat.
WP : Could you please give us more info on how will it work in terms of interface?
PR: In terms of controls, you will access your Feral Sense by tapping the Y button. Immediately the player will notice changes in their first-person worldview, but the mode is also reflected in the HUD, where the situational awareness “radar” scope flashes with a yellow iris effect. The player can activate their Feral Speed by holding down the Y button. The stance icon in the HUD will change to a more aggressive posture. Feral Strength is always trigged by hitting the B button, whether you’re lining up a prey for a slashing attack, or yanking up a .50 cal machine-gun. Once evolved, the HUD also displays a persistent Adrenaline meter, with a yellow bar that shrinks and grows as the player uses or relaxes their Feral Abilities.
WP : Could you please describe a moment in the game where you’ll be the predator?
PR: In the last third of the game, Jack infiltrates a kind of no-man’s land in the middle of an electrical storm; an area where Crowe’s mercenaries are in disarray and under attack from some of Krieger’s… other test subjects. One of the player’s objectives is to find some C-4 that can be used to destroy Crowe’s electrical substation. The explosives are in the stockpile of a small group of mercs who have barricaded themselves in a shed and are trying to hold off waves of marauding creatures. In the midst of the confusion, the player can get on the roof of a neighboring building and use his Feral Speed to leap across to the mercs’ roof. Our mercenary AI react in an incredibly lifelike way in stressful situations like this, so the sound of Jack landing on the roof is enough to put them into a panic, firing wildly and generally creating more chaos. When Jack drops into their building, the mercs are completely unhinged and he’s able to pick them off in close-quarters using his Feral Attack, or by uprooting their heavy machine gun and turning it on them. It’s a very satisfying, very bloodthirsty moment for the player when these mercs realize that they’re trapped inside with him.
WP : Will player have the chance to also benefit from these predator skills in the multiplayer mode? Can you please give us more info on this?
PR: Absolutely. In addition to the classic multiplayer modes that FPS gamers expect, we’ve introduced a completely unique Predator gametype, that pits several co-op Mercenary players against a single Feral player. We’ve tuned the Feral Abilities to make them optimally suited to competitive play. We’re offering players the chance to take on multiple enemies and still feel like they have the advantage! The Feral Speed leap manoeuvre has been enhanced for multiplayer and we’ve added some additional ambience to the mode to put the Mercenary players in the position of feeling stalked for the whole duration of play.
WP : Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add?
PR: When players see the evolution system and the Feral Abilities in action, it’s going to not only set the bar for all the other shooters out there; but it’s going to create heightened curiosity as to where Ubisoft will go next in the Far Cry universe…
More articles about Far Cry Instincts