On its face, Far Cry 6’s newest class of weapon, the Supremo, doesn’t need any justification. When Far Cry 6 launches Oct. 7, 2021, players will strap on the Supremo backpack of their choice. When bad shit goes down, it will unload a brutal attack when they need it most — like firing off a barrage of rockets. It’s awesome. Enough said.
But David Grivel, Far Cry 6’s lead designer, and his team came up with a backstory for these Supremo contraptions anyway. “Supremos are inspired by Yaran comic books,” Grivel said, referring to Far Cry 6’s setting on the island nation of Yara, an in-fiction analog for Cuba. When the subject of these comics, created as part of Far Cry 6’s backstory, comes up during our interview he’s positively beaming.
“I won’t say comic books are a giant part of the game,” Grivel continued, “but they are definitely there. You will find some of them throughout the game.”
Basically, Far Cry 6 hero Dani Rojas — or Danny (players may choose a male or female protagonist) — will develop a jetpack, or the “Exterminator” rocket launcher, or the “Furioso” flame-throwing defense, to mimic the superheroes of the island’s pre-revolution comics. Like Yara’s 1950s-era automobiles, they’re not so much collector’s items as they are modern day relics of a nation frozen in time.
That exchange gave me a sense of just how much care Ubisoft Toronto — and six other supporting studios spread all around the globe from Canada to Shanghai — put into developing the fictitious, forbidden-island nation of Yara, and how much fun they had thinking up its lore. Yara, in both story and environment, is a land under a totalitarian regime that is both physically and economically cut off from the mainstream. That’s given its citizens a very resourceful spirit, which they apply to a kit-bashed Far Cry 6 armory that looks like it’ll be a lot of fun to play with.
- Los Supremos are backpacks with secret weapons, inspired by the classic superheroes of Yara’s comic book culture. Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft
- Players adopt the character of Dani — or Danny — Rojas (right) and are aided by the former KGB agent Juan Cortez. Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft
- The urban setting of Esperanza, Yara’s capital, will provide combat gameplay not seen before in a Far Cry series that has mostly stuck to wildlands. Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft
- Cuba’s “resolver” ethic — it means “to get by” — inspires the improvised weaponry and gadgets of Far Cry 6. Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft
- Giancarlo Esposito — the dreadful Gus Fring from Breaking Bad — stars as Anton Castillo, tyrannical ruler of Yara. Diego (Anthony Gonzalez) is his son. Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft
- Vehicles like this Megaforce reject play a big role in Far Cry 6, too, and they can be improvised and fit with all sorts of capabilities Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft
“The idea is [to provide] this super-skilled, super gadget [for players] that they can use every now and then,” Grivel said, “and that can also help you support the different play styles that we have in Far Cry”
Obviously, a rocket barrage is a none-too-subtle way of solving life’s problems. But stealth remains a vital component of Far Cry’s one-person army approach. In fact, there’s a bit more subtlety than in past games. Players may now holster their weapons, for instance, and try to slip past guards. There will also be Supremos to assist more covert-minded playstyles.
Supremos were an idea cooked up after Grivel and his team visited Cuba for a research trip, after quickly settling on that nation as the model for the next entry in the globe-trotting Far Cry series. While in Cuba, the developers were charmed by numerous expressions of the country’s “resolver” spirit. Resolver — it means “to get by” — is the culture of meticulously maintained vintage appliances and jerry-rigged repairs for which Cubans have become known over more than 50 years of near-total economic embargo. In one such example, Grivel saw a desk fan whose replacement blades were crafted from a vinyl record.
Perhaps not coincidentally, one of the weapons shown to media in a Far Cry 6 preview last week is a record-playing dart gun, which plays Los del Rio’s “Macarena,” no less. Far Cry 6 revolutionaries will also develop EMP grenades in a kitchen to knock out security cameras and other electronic defenses, and use nail guns alongside military-grade weaponry. Developers counted 49 such arms in the arsenal, touting it as the series’ largest armory to date. Improvised mods will also help to augment standard weapons; a semiautomatic pistol, for example, was shown with a drum-type magazine crafted from a tuna can.
Developers say that the emphasis on improvised weaponry, and not just modded or customized arms, allowed Far Cry 6’s developers to shift the game’s perk system away from the skill trees and into the gear itself. This means that players will have access to all of the perks found on those skill trees, either by finding appropriate gear in the wild or by crafting it themselves. Once in hand, they can simply add it to a loadout tailored for their next mission. In previous Far Cry games, players would have needed to re-spec their character from scratch to achieve the same results. Grivel said there will still be a set of common perks suitable for all players, but noted that his team sees gear “more as an extension of your play style.”
The other shift in gameplay, brought about by the Yaran setting, is the urban guerrilla warfare of Esperanza, Yara’s capital. “It’s [...] the first time that we’ve built a whole country,” Grivel said. “And that was an interesting challenge for us. [...] How does that work? We have now a capital city, Esperanza, so how do you apply the Far Cry gameplay to urban environments? That was interesting.”
Again, in the preview video shown to the press, the player is seen clambering to rooftops and ducking into alleys to break an enemy’s line of sight, make a fast get away, or get the drop on a target below. This kind of verticality, reminiscent of earlier Assassin’s Creed games, wasn’t really available in previous Far Cry games set in wild or rural areas.
Far Cry 6’s story will still follow the series roots, a single individual working against a tyrant figure to liberate a captive society. Giancarlo Esposito has already been revealed as the game’s big bad, a delightful casting for fans of Breaking Bad or The Mandalorian. The traveling companions introduced with Far Cry 5’s Guns for Hire expansion are also back. Players already saw “Chorizo,” the adorbs weiner dog scampering about in its gadget-filled wheelchair. There’s also a mysteriously domesticated croc named Guapo who, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes in handy during the swimming levels.
The game’s launch, originally slated for Feb. 18, 2021, was delayed back in October, partly because of challenges encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was also partly a strategic decision by Ubisoft’s corporate leadership. Grivel said his team — comprising developers at Ubisoft’s Toronto, Montreal, Kiev, Shanghai, Berlin, Philippines, and Montpellier, France studios — all appreciated the extra time and used it to refine Far Cry 6 to meet the public’s blockbuster-movie expectations.
“It gave us the time to deliver the full Far Cry 6 experience we wanted to deliver, with quality, on all the platforms that we support,” Grivel said. The game launches on Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. “I believe it’s awesome for us because, you know, in this industry it’s not always that we have the time to make things the right way, to really balance them, and make them really refined. That extension [of time] is really welcome, from that perspective.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect launch date for Far Cry 6. It is Oct. 7, 2021, for Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.