Far Cry is a first-person shooter video game developed by Crytek Studios from Germany and published by Ubisoft on March 23, 2004 for Microsoft Windows. Far Cry sold 730,000 units within four months of release and has currently sold over 1 million copies worldwide. The original game has since spawned several console ports and a movie.
The game's story follows an ex-Special Forces operator, Jack Carver, who is stranded on a mysterious archipelago in Micronesia. He is searching for a female journalist he was escorting after she went missing when their boat was destroyed by mercenaries. The game includes thematic elements relating to the dangers of genetic engineering and the genocide of local islanders as can be seen by the deformed creatures created by a mad scientist named Krieger.
The terrain in Far Cry varies greatly. Set on a South Pacific archipelago, the landscape includes beaches, dense rain forests, towering canyons, mines, swamps, and even volcanic forests. Many of the interiors range from simple beach huts and army camps to elaborate complexes, an underground temple, and ultra-modern research labs. Several of these mazes use the remains of WWII Japanese-era fortifications and bunkers.
Jack Carver has left his mysterious and bitter past behind him and dropped out of society to run a boat-charter business in the South Pacific. He is hired by Val Cortez to take her secretly to an uncharted island in Micronesia. After Val takes off on her own with a jet-ski, Jack's boat is blown apart by a mercenary rocket. Jack manages to escape but is stranded thousands of miles away from home. With his only friend lost somewhere in the depths of the jungle, he must now find his way back to civilization. The mercenary commander, Col. Richard Crowe, orders his men find Jack as his body has not yet turned up.
Hopping across the islands in the area with the help of a mysterious man named Harlan Doyle, Jack battles mercenaries in search of Val, searches a beached Japanese aircraft carrier, knocks out the mercenarie's satellite communications, and destroys a mercenary camp ammo depot.
Through encounters with the Trigens (genetically altered primates) and information from Doyle, Jack soon discovers that the island is part of an experiment involving genetic modification. As the game progresses it becomes clear that the Trigens are becoming too large a problem for the mercenaries to handle, breaking though security perimeters and massacring the guards and workers. Furthermore, the experiments are not limited to just non-human primates, but moved on to mutating humans in order to create the ultimate soldier.
When Jack finally catches up with Val, she is being taken to another area by a helicopter. Jack attempts to stop the helicopter and Val manages to escape. After swimming to shore, she reveals that she is Valerie Constantine, an undercover CIA agent and is investigating Krieger's operations. Val then suggests that the two of them split up in order to better investigate the islands.
After further exploration, Jack must again search for and rescue Val. This is made increasingly difficult as more Trigens have escaped, some of them with powerful weaponry. To add to the chaos, the Trigens have begun a revolt against the mercenaries on the island, causing Krieger to call his personal elite special forces to control the situation. After Jack battles through both parties to reach Val, they split up again, and reunite shortly after Jack kills the mercenary commander, Richard Crowe. The information that Crowe had with him indicates Krieger has a tactical nuclear weapon on the island. Val further discloses that Doyle was sent by the CIA to infiltrate Krieger's research under the guise of a lab technician.
After the Department of Defense has supposedly analyzed the situation, Jack and Val steal the tactical nuclear weapon Krieger had intended to use as a last resort in covering his tracks, should his projects be investigated. Jack seems uncomfortable about setting off a nuclear weapon, but Val assures him, "it's only a tactical nuke, just enough to take out the factory and the base. By the time it goes off we'll be upwind and out of range." Before entering the factory Doyle warns that the mutagen might infect them when the blast goes off, and advises them to take some antidote before arming the nuke. Inside the factory, he directs them to inject themselves with serum from a red box with a biohazard symbol on it. They do so and arm the nuke, which detonates directly behind Jack and Val as they exit the factory, leaving them unconscious.
While Jack and Val are unconscious, Krieger visits the site and abducts them. Jack wakes up on a helicopter with Krieger and Val, and is kicked off by an elite guard as Krieger taunts "survival of the fittest, good luck!" On the ground, he finds a rifle has been tossed out as well, loaded with only ten rounds. The player, as Jack, now has to fight through the Trigen-infested area to rescue Val — for the third time — and escape the islands with his life. His task is made easier as the Trigens have broken through the security perimeter. Upon reaching a mercenary weapons cache, Jack notices his arm is turning green. Doyle responds, "The antidote should have been able to handle it, but the explosion could have saturated the air with mutagen. That's what happened to Dr. Krieger. He developed a serum to keep it from spreading, and he's still on the treatment." Jack is thus directed to find Krieger and thus more treatment.
Due to the chaos caused by the mercenary-Trigen battles, Jack ascends the volcanic slopes to reach the headquarters without much trouble, where Krieger had apparently found a way to prevent the eruption and harness the lava flows for energy. After mortally wounding the mutated Krieger, Jack asks where the antidote is. Krieger responds "Who infected you? The mutagen can only be administered through sub-dermal injection. I wish I could take credit, but I had no time to prepare the serum. You should turn out to be a beautiful specimen. Give it another hour... much less for her [Val]." Then Doyle comes up on the nearby volumetric display and says "The old man was always one for melodrama. Too bad he had no head for business," and reveals the 'antidote' they took earlier was the very mutagen they were trying to protect themselves from. He also remarks that "Working for the government taught me that where there's a weapon, there's money to be made." Jack resolves that Doyle will not leave the island without handing over the antidote and carries a weakened Val up to the docks. He then heads back into the facility.
In the crater of the volcano, with Krieger's lava harnessing system damaged and eruption imminent, Jack battles through a horde of Trigens angry at him for killing Krieger, their "father". Most likely, Doyle kept Jack around so that he could take the blame once Krieger's time had come. Jack, unfazed, finishes off the Elite Special Forces guarding Doyle, likely among the last humans left on the island as they stood back from fighting the Trigens. A cornered Doyle tries to explain the situation saying, "You don't understand. They sent me. They're all watching. They're always watching. You can't change this. You can't change the future," to which Jack replies, "Probably not, but I can make sure you're not a part of it!" and shoots Doyle, killing him. "Stupid bastard," Jack remarks.
Jack then escapes just before the volcano erupts, using a blast door to shield himself from the initial explosion. Both he and Val make it off the island in a sailboat, just as the eruption destroys what is left of Krieger's labs. Jack, having already administered the antidote to himself, proceeds to cure Val of the mutagen. The ending cutscene shows Val looking at a thick folder of papers and two CDs tied together labeled "Project Far Cry" (in the French localization of the game, it is labeled "Project Mutant").
Graphically, the game makes extensive use of pixel shaders. For example, water shaders are frequently used throughout the levels and have a significant effect on visual quality.
The tropical rain forest provides concealment and the game allows the player to use it to hide from the enemies. These enemies don't know the position of the player unless they see or hear him, but notably, they can remember his last known position and go there to investigate. As a counter, enemies react dynamically to the player's tactics and actions. For example, if the player was hiding in a bush and fired on a mercenary, the mercenary, unable to return fire because the player's position is not known, would crouch and quickly sneak towards cover. Mercenaries will often work together to outflank a player, often surrounding and firing where they think the player is. Once enemies enter the thick of the lush undergrowth, it often becomes a game of cat and mouse, with each side stalking each other and neither having an advantage. However, the player is able to track the position of all enemies on an onscreen radar screen that are sighted and marked through the special binoculars, as long as they scan the area before provoking foes.
Mercenaries, being less disciplined compared to Krieger's security guards and elite special forces, are often engaged in various recreational activities, such as fishing, carrying boxes, and even push-ups. They are frequently visibly chatting with each other (CryTek wrote a lot of humorous dialog for mercenaries that provides a backstory, showing how players' actions affect the archipelago population), idling, fixing equipment, etc. The conversations can be picked up afar by the binoculars.
AI movement area and cover are defined in the level design. Without this definition set by the designer the enemies are far less effective against the player. They will also not move as realistically as would otherwise be expected.
The game was notable for its open ended structure, providing a multitude of ways to complete a given objective. It incorporates a mix of arcade-like and realistic gameplay, encouraging the player to effectively use cover while still allowing an upfront approach. There are no forced stealth segments and setting off an alarm would not result in mission failure.
At the same time, considering that enemies are usually well armed and entrenched, this makes a straightforward assault difficult and encourages alternative methods of accomplishing objectives, whether it be dealing with the enemies piecemeal, picking them off with a sniper rifle, or even finding a way to sneak around that strongpoint entirely. Late in the game, the player will discover that it is best to let the Mercenary-Trigen battles play out, and then pick off the survivors.
In terms of action, Far Cry runs a middle ground between shooters and stealth games. Unlike most stealth game protagonists, Carver can survive considerable damage before dying. Combined with the game's impressive arsenal and relative availability of ammunition, this allows for some high-action firefights. At the same time, it is not that easy to find health packs or armour, which tends to encourage the player to avoid as much damage as possible especially in later levels, where enemies begin carrying high-powered weapons such as rocket launchers or sniper rifles that can kill Carver in one or two hits.
The ragdoll physics are not limited to corpses. It is possible to throw rocks at either Valerie (a character you meet later in the game) or mercenaries who have fallen into water and can't return fire. The rocks damage them and make them move realistically according to the place the rock was thrown at. Dead fish also have ragdoll effects, slashing at one with a machete would make it fly around realistically. The boars also have similar effects.
Also, a mysterious backdrop relating to dinosaurs is revealed via in-game radios that will sometimes carry programs that discuss the history of dinosaurs and the possibility that some might still be alive. This is further developed by appearance of lizard-like animals (which resemble small dinosaurs) that reside in the jungles on the island.
Far Cry has received some criticism as certain areas of some maps are not well-balanced. These apply mostly to indoor levels which tend to be linear (few if any alternate paths) and rely more on scripted sequences (notably when the player triggers enemy reinforcements). The difficulty increased sharply in the later part of the game, with the introduction of incredibly tough creatures created by the game's villain which can quickly kill even a fully healthy player. The increased difficulty required stealth and precision to even up the odds against the player, but many found being forced to replay the same sections over and over tedious or frustrating.
The game has a "checkpoint" saving system, which eliminated manual saving. While often frustrating as it takes away the freedom of manual saving, most checkpoints are located throughout the level as the player progresses, although they are not obvious, they are usually before a major battle. The promised quicksave-update was never widely publicized, however it can be activated by bringing down the console (pressing ~), and typing
save_game filename and you can later load it with
On April 8, 2004, Ubisoft announced Far Cry Instincts for the Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation 2 systems. Far Cry Instincts is not a direct port of the original, being designed specifically for consoles. By comparison, Instincts is less open-ended and more linear, due to the console's reduced processing power which prevents the full rendering of the PC version's vast islands and landscape. However, Instincts added new multiplayer modes, weapons, and feral abilities, which is also added to the storyline. The PS2 and GC ports were later canceled because the systems were not powerful enough to support the game. Far Cry Instincts is now exclusive to Xbox and was released to wide acclaim on September 27, 2005, in North America.
On March 28, 2006, Ubisoft released a sequel, Far Cry Instincts: Evolution for the Xbox, which was met with less enthusiasm than the first versions of Far Cry. On the same day, for the Xbox 360, Far Cry Instincts: Predator was released, which essentially contains both Instincts and Evolution, running in 720p high-definition. Evolution includes a new single-player campaign, although it is considerably shorter than the campaign found in the original Far Cry Instincts. The storyline focuses on Jack Carver's work for a woman named Kade, which results in him being hunted by local governments due to a frame-up during a botched arms deal. Jack again meets up with Doyle, who is practicing damage control, and eventually must battle a native warrior named Semeru who possesses the same "feral abilities" as Jack.
A game based on the franchise was released as part of Ubisoft's launch lineup for the Wii (Far Cry Vengeance). In the Wii version, the Wii Remote is used for many of the tasks assigned to buttons in previous iterations of the game, including driving vehicles, shooting, and running. Far Cry 2 has been officially announced by Ubisoft, although it will not be developed by Crytek, but by Ubisoft's Montreal studio.
Far Cry is the film adaptation of the video game. The game-to-film enthusiast Uwe Boll (Alone in the Dark, House Of The Dead) gained the rights to a Far Cry movie, purportedly even before the game was released.
There are currently weekly On the Set clips and interviews being shown on youtube.com.