Shanghai by night. It’s raining. Everywhere’s a film noir set in January. A slender figure, framed against neon, runs as if pulled by his nose. He reaches the postbox, thrusts something inside, and slumps; assailants close over him like a venus fly trap.
Four days later, a dossier falls across my desk. From our man in China, it spills the beans on a Far Cry sequel. The case, it is blown wide open.
Oh, alright. It was a LinkedIn profile.
Xavier Plagnal is a studio design manager at Ubisoft Shanghai. Veteran of both Splinter Cell and the 3D Raymans, his LinkedIn page suggested yesterday that he’d worked since September as content director on “the next Far Cry”.
The entry has since been deleted - and the trail gone cold. But this scant evidence is corroborated by Cliff Martinez, composer for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, who in October let slip that he was scoring “a video game named Far Cry 4”.
It’s worth remembering, too, that Blood Dragon and Far Cry 3 both sold more than enough copies to justify the series’ ongoing existence to its publishing overlords. Far Cry 3 in particular exceeded expectations at Ubisoft HQ, shifting itself to no fewer than 4.5 million players.
Since finishing work on I Am Alive in 2012, Ubisoft Shanghai have acted the supportive sibling to their sister studios in Montreal and Toronto. They helped develop both Far Cry 3 and Blood Dragon - though both games were directed by design teams in Montreal. Expect a similar setup here.
What are the crucial elements of a Far Cry to you? I’d go with the wide-open spaces, obviously, and a player perspective that swings dynamically between prey and predator - but there’s that pulpy element to the series too. Is that an important ingredient?