Here’s how engine changes make Far Cry 5 feel real and grounded

Nathan Lawrence 13 March 2018 NEWS

Far Cry 5’s associate producer Phil Fournier spills the beans on the big engine changes to Ubisoft Montreal’s latest shooter sandbox.

The Far Cry series has a long tradition of being pretty. After all, it started in the hands of Crytek, a studio that’s renowned for PC-melting visual fidelity. When the series moved to Ubisoft Montreal with Far Cry 2, things became more ambitious. Obviously, subsequent Far Cry games still looked great, but more features were pushed beneath the hood of its pretty exterior.

Fast-forward to today and Ubisoft Montreal is somehow cramming even more features beneath the hood of the Far Cry 5 beast, yet somehow haven’t had to compromise on the overall prettiness of the package. I recently had the chance to take the opening hours of Far Cry 5 for a spin and had a blast.

Scrub up on Far Cry 5

As part of that preview event, I had the chance to sit down with associate producer Phil Fournier to talk about how Ubisoft Montreal is approaching the game differently for this fifth entry to the series. Read on for what he had to say about engine tweaks and improvements that helped make the game world more grounded, more believable and, most importantly, more immersive.

I just wanted to start with the engine improvements that have been added. Far Cry has always looked gorgeous. It's the best it’s ever looked, and it also seems to be the most ambitious Far Cry you’ve ever made. Those two don’t usually go hand in hand. Usually, you have really pretty and limited, in terms of gameplay, or lots and lots of features in a less-pretty package. What kinds of improvements have been added to the engine for Far Cry 5?

We took a step back, basically, on all of our technology, production pipelines, to really bring that level of fidelity that we were looking for, meaning that we’re setting the game now in something that’s a bit familiar to some people. It’s the US, it’s Montana, people might have seen it in movies or a TV series or whatnot. So, it was really important for us to push those limits and put even more stuff on screen and have more NPCs but also, graphically, have something that stood out a bit better.

One thing that we didn’t understand at first was, "How can we create that world?" A world that is alive, a world that feels that everything is grounded, everything is in there, that people have personality. And one thing that we developed is actually a lot of brands and branding, in general. You go to the US and you remove all of the signposts and all of the ads and whatnot, and it feels like it could be almost anywhere. But when we added all of those touches of, like Joe’s Restaurant or Bob’s Garage, it started feeling like, okay, this is real, this is true, and we started tying that up with the narrative, and it really felt like Montana Hope County was alive, basically.

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