Three years. It's been three whole years since a then at-the-time little known German developer called Crytek amazed the PC first-person shooter world with its debut game Far Cry. It came out of nowhere, and proceeded to blow everyone away.
But despite its critical and commercial success, the game's publisher Ubisoft then decided to focus its efforts on console development where the franchise was concerned, and it was only last month that it finally announced the long-awaited return of Far Cry to the platform where it all began. Hello, Far Cry 2.
Due to the success and quality of Crytek's game, expectations for the sequel are massive, but Ubisoft is confident it can deliver a sequel that surpasses the original Jack Carver adventure.
CVG spoke with Louis-Pierre Pharand, Far Cry 2's producer and Clint Hocking, the game's creative director, to discover why that confidence is well-founded...
It's been just over three years since the original Far Cry game launched. Why has it taken this long for Ubisoft to announce a new venture in the series for PC?
Louis-Pierre Pharand: We were given a large mandate, to re-invent and rejuvenate the Far Cry series and re-establish Ubisoft as a top-tier PC developer, and naturally it took some time to achieve this goal.
Far Cry was an impressive FPS and there are those that argued that it was actually better than Half-Life 2. Expectations are going to be extremely high for the sequel - what can you say to reassure us that Far Cry 2 will be even better than its predecessor?
Pharand: We know that the expectations on Far Cry 2 are extremely high. We have been working really hard for the last two years to have a better game than the original. Ubisoft is aiming for a high-quality title.
In order to support our goal, we are developing a completely new dedicated engine for Far Cry 2.
This custom built engine allows us to create a truly open world of 50sq/km, and also features a new animation system called LivePosture. There will be dynamic environments, which means that our vegetation is destructible and reactive to elements, and that we have a dynamic weather system (dynamic time of day, rain, storm, procedural cloud system...).
We also implemented a new fire technology to enable real fire propagation. Every element that looks flammable can burn.
All of these elements are here to provide a realistic and believable gaming experience.
We're expecting everyone to compare the sequel to Crytek's Crysis - will that be a blessing or a curse?
Pharand: We don't feel there are many comparisons to be made. From what we know, both games are really different. We are offering a different gaming experience - which is great. PC gamers can expect to have two incredible titles to play instead of only one.
So what's the storyline and setting for Far Cry 2, and are we reprising our role as reluctant hero Jack Carver?
Pharand: You don't play Jack Carver in Far Cry 2. None of the other main characters return from the original Far Cry or from any of the console versions.
Far Cry 2 drops the player in the middle of a failed African state, still in chaos after a recent conflict. The player has been sent here to track down and eliminate an elusive weapons dealer responsible for arming both sides of the conflict. Tracking this target down requires the player to make deals with corrupt warlords and the opportunistic "consultants" that serve them.