Drew Holmes on emergent and reactive storytelling in Hope County.
One of the games to impress at E3 was Far Cry 5, which takes many of the staples the series is known for and has transplanted them in a new - and controversial - setting. While we were in LA we caught up with lead writer Drew Holmes, who had some interesting things to say about the American backdrop, but more interestingly he revealed that Ubisoft is looking to take the emergent gameplay that appears in patches in earlier games, and roll that out across the whole adventure.
"Far Cry at its best is what we call 'the anecdote factory'," Holmes told us, "where I'm just exploring the world, and maybe I'm going hunting, and then the bad guys roll up, so I get in and shoot one out with the bad guys and then animals show up. And from a little tiny choice, a huge emergent gameplay starts to happen."
"And so what we were looking at with Far Cry 5 was, is there a way that I can let the player experience that for the entirety of the game? [Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4] really put you on a very guided path in terms of your missions. You would go from here to here to here, and the story unfolded the exact same way for everyone else.
"This time around, after the events at the start of the game, the player has full control to go wherever they want. So I can go to the west, I can go to the north, and I can go to the east; there's no set guided path."
It's not just a case of the giving the player freedom to head out in any direction they like, the world will also react to you depending on your actions.
"So what's happening is, as I'm going along and I'm exploring and I'm doing outposts or I'm meeting characters, my resistance meter is filling up. And what that's doing is it's changing how people in the region feel about you as the player, that you're helping them out, you're helping them defeat the cult.
"But it's also changing the way that the cult is dealing with you. So they're going to increase their forces, they're going to change up their tactics to sort of make sure that it doesn't feel like the same thing throughout the world.
"And that's also, as you increase your resistance meter, that's when the villains are going to insert themselves into your story. It's not about I go to a mission and I play it and then I meet the bad guy. The cult is constantly reacting to the things that I'm doing, and so really the story unfolds as I progress through the game in any manner that I choose."
Far Cry 5 is heading to PC, PS4 and Xbox One on February 27.