Far Cry is a first-person shooter PC game with horror elements developed by German studio Crytek GmbH and published by Ubisoft on March 23, 2004, for Windows. Far Cry sold 730,000 units within four months of release. The game's story follows Jack Carver, ex-Special Forces operative and private boat charter struggling to survive in a tropical paradise turned into hell.
Jack Carver has long since left his mysterious and bitter past in the Special Forces behind him and abandoned society to run a private boat charter business in the South Pacific. He is hired by Valerie Constantine, a reporter, to secretly take her to a chain of uncharted islands in Micronesia to supposedly study its little-known World War II ruins. They approach the islands, and soon Val leaves for shore on a Jet Ski while Jack anchors down the boat. As Val reaches the beach, Jack's boat is suddenly destroyed by a missile in an attack from an army of mercenaries on the island. Jack manages to escape with his life but is stranded in the remote tropics. With his only friend lost somewhere in the depths of the jungle, he must now rescue Val and find his way back to civilization.
After escaping yet another attack, Jack awakes inside a decrepit, almost century-old Japanese fort. There he finds that the mercenaries are searching for him. He discovers an audio-video PDA, through which he contacts and receives help from a man who calls himself Doyle. With Doyle's assistance, Jack travels across the various islands, battling the mercenaries and digging up intel in search od Val. Jack eventually manages to infiltrate several research facilities and discovers some unsettling information. Doyle informs Jack that he was a head scientist on the island, and has recently been tracking the activities of a man named Krieger, who has been secretly and illegally performing twisted biological experiments, and hired the mercenaries to protect his assets and make sure that no one finds out about his studies. It is revealed that the island's scientific facilities are in fact part of an elaborate experiment involving adverse genetic modification. Krieger has been developing a mutative serum designed to enhance the intelligence, strength, speed, endurance, and natural fighting ability of living things. He has been testing the serum on non-human primates such as chimpanzees and monkeys. The serum did indeed enhance every facet of the primates' abilities that Krieger expected but at a price. The primates transformed into what the scientists called Trigens – abominable perversions of nature infused with pure homicidal rage. Intel reveals that Dr. Krieger has incorporated his own DNA into the serum, hoping it will give rise to a primal genetic urge in the Trigens to obey Krieger. Jack battles these vicious mutants through the island's experimentation centers. It is not long until he makes another chilling discovery: Krieger is not just mutating monkeys. Jack finds human Trigens, former mercenaries that have been unwittingly dragged off by order of their own boss to be forced to take part in testing of both the serum and cybernetic enhancements in a number of phases.
As the game progresses it becomes clear that the Trigens are becoming too large a problem for the mercenaries to handle, and have escaped from the testing facilities to revolt against their mercenary captors and overrun the islands. When Jack finally tracks down Val, she is being taken by helicopter to another area where she can be kept in lockdown. Jack attempts to stop the helicopter, and just in time, he climbs aboard. He and Val jump off the helicopter and fall into the sea below. After swimming to shore, Val reveals that she is not a reporter, but in fact, an undercover CIA agent and is investigating Dr. Krieger's operations. Val suggests that the two of them split up in order to better investigate the islands, and Jack breaks into a major base of operations.
As Jack disables the base and tries and to cripple the mercenaries' main forces, Valerie makes an important discovery related to the source of the Trigens but is trapped in a flooded power station under siege from Trigen hordes. Jack saves her just in the nick of time, and they head off. Things are not easy, as the Trigen situation has gotten so out of hand that the regular hired guns are being absolutely decimated. As a result, Krieger has opted for tougher, smarter, professional firepower and called in elite mercenaries to defend the islands. They split up once more, and reunite when Jack chases down and kills the mercenary commander, Crowe. Information Crowe has with him indicates Krieger has a tactical nuclear weapon on the island that he plans to use as a 'failsafe' to cover his tracks should officials find out about his activities.
After the Department of Defence has supposedly analyzed the situation through Val, her and Jack head into a swamp base to steal the tactical nuke from a factory lab that produces the Trigen mutagen serum, and prepare to pre-detonate it to eliminate Krieger's failsafe. Jack is 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 laboratory Doyle warns that the mutagen might somehow infect them when the blast goes off and advises them to apply the mutagen antidote before arming the nuke. Inside the lab, he directs them to inject themselves with serum from a red box with a biohazard symbol. They do so and arm the nuke. It detonates directly behind Jack and Val as they exit the factory, knocking them unconscious.
While Jack and Val are unconscious, Krieger visits the site and abducts them. Jack wakes up on a helicopter with Krieger, his goons, and Val. Looking out at the secluded island below him, and sees what can only be described as a living hell. The entire island is ruled by hundreds and hundreds of Trigen abominations. Every human has been brutally slaughtered and eaten. Krieger tells Jack of his insane vision; a vision to replace humankind with his 'superior' creation, the Trigens, and conquer the planet as their all-powerful leader. He is promptly kicked off by a goon as Krieger shouts after him "Survival of the fittest! Good luck." As he gets to his feet, a gun loaded with 10 bullets is tossed out for him. "Thanks," he mutters sarcastically. Jack now has to survive his toughest situation yet to rescue Val — once again — and escape the infested island with his life. Jack runs and fights for dear life, and manages to reach the safety of an old weapons cache. As he grabs the necessary guns and ammo, Jack suddenly notices that his arm has swollen up and turned green. He informs Doyle, to which he responds: "The antidote should have been able to handle it, but the explosion could have saturated the air with mutagen. That is what happened to Dr. Krieger. He developed a serum to keep it from spreading, and he is still working on the treatment." Jack is thus directed to find Krieger.
Jack reaches Krieger's offices, which are built upon an active volcano, and finds Val terribly ill from the mutagen and feeling the full force of its early effects. Jack confronts Krieger, who has since their last encounter suffered from the mutagen just as Jack and Val did, and mutated into a semi-Trigen. However, when Jack defeats Krieger, an unexpected twist develops. Jack asks a dying Krieger where the antidote is, and 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." Krieger pauses to muse over his thoughts. "You know, you could turn out to be a beautiful specimen. Give it another hour... much less for her." Krieger takes his final breath and passes away. Doyle comes up on the nearby volumetric display and remarks "The old man was always one for melodrama. Too bad he had no head for business," and reveals that the 'antidote' Jack and Val took earlier was, in fact, the mutagen. They were tricked by Doyle into infecting themselves and killing Krieger. He states "Working for the government taught me that where there is a weapon, there is money to be made." Jack threatens Doyle, who refuses to give him the real antidote. Doyle tells him that the Trigens will be particularly enraged at him for killing their 'father' (the Trigens think of Krieger as a father due to the shared DNA infusion). Jack takes Val to a boat in the docks and leaves her in a bed with a pistol for protection before he sets off to get revenge on Doyle.
After battling through a horde of Trigens set loose to block Jack from reaching him, Jack catches up with Doyle and corners him. Doyle's last words are, "You don't understand. They sent me. They are all watching. They are 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 in the head, killing him. "Stupid bastard", Jack mutters and leaves, taking a cure vial with him.
Jack then escapes just as the volcano on which Krieger's main offices were located erupts. He administers the cure and both he and Val are cured of the mutagen. With the island completely destroyed by the eruption, Jack and Val head back to society. As they leave, Val, still recovering in bed, takes a look at a thick file filled with photos, documents, notes, disks, tapes and data, labeled "Project Far Cry".
Crytek developed a new game engine called CryENGINE for Far Cry. Reportedly, the game was born out of a technology demo called X-Isle: Dinosaur Island made by Crytek to showcase the capabilities of the NVIDIA GeForce 3. The game features relatively long view or draw distances, similar to Operation Flashpoint, but has a more advanced rendering system for vegetation. Also, all of the level territory is accessible to the player without loading pauses. The game engine features seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor areas (for which slightly different lighting and rendering models are utilized).
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.
Character detail is also improved thanks to Crytek's Polybump normal mapping technology. These effects are used extensively in both indoor and outdoor levels.
The release of the v1.3 patch saw the introduction of HDR (High Dynamic Range) in the CryENGINE. It can only be enabled on a graphics card that supports Shader Model 3.0 and 64bit blending support.
Human enemies in the game exhibit advanced artificial intelligence (AI), which can be favourably compared to other shooters (though its capabilities make minor glitches more apparent) The enemies are capable of navigating the large levels, using vehicles when necessary. They are frequently visible patrolling, chatting with each other (CryTek wrote a lot of humorous dialogues for mercenaries that provide a backstory, showing how players' actions affect the archipelago population), idling, fishing, fixing equipment, etc. One mercenary was seen doing push-ups. They can call for reinforcements and execute coordinated attacks, outflanking and surrounding the player.
The tropical jungle provides a lot of concealment and the game allows the player to use it to hide from the enemies. These enemies do not 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. On the other hand, the player is able to track the position of all enemies on an on-screen radar that are sighted and marked through the special binoculars found early in the game. Far Cry's AI is scripted, but not scripted to the point that the enemies can only follow one path. Crytek had decided to make the AI as such because of the open environment of Far Cry. Over-scripted AI would allow the player to easily pass by, approaching from a path not covered in the script, messing up the enemies and letting the player move through the game with relative ease. With the AI that Crytek instead made, the enemies now 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.
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, forcing the player to effectively use cover while still allowing an upfront approach. For instance, there are no forced stealth segments and setting off an alarm would not result in mission failure.
The ragdoll physics were not limited to corpses. It is possible to throw rocks at either Valerie or mercenaries who have fallen into the water and can not return fire. The rocks would knock 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.
However, Far Cry was criticized for being poorly balanced. The difficulty increased sharply in the later levels with the introduction of incredibly tough creatures created by the game's villain, causing many problems when combined with the game's "checkpoint" saving system, which eliminated manual saving. The increased difficulty required stealth and precision to even up the odds against the Trigens, but many found being forced to replay the same sections over and over tedious or frustrating. The promised quicksave-update was never widely publicized, however it could be activated by bringing down the console.
German Release Controversy
Although the game was developed by a German company, it was subject to one of the most heated controversies about video games in Germany. Upon release of the demo version in March 2004, the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien und Schriften found the violence level of the game (including gore and ragdoll physics) to be too high even for adults and quickly indexed the demo. The full version had most of that violence edited out (e.g. removed ragdoll behavior of corpses), nevertheless it received a "Not suitable under 18" rating. A storm of indignation broke out, however, when German gamers found out only days after the release, that a slight modification of some files in the game's directory brought back most of the original gore. The first issue of Far Cry was also indexed, and several weeks later a new version followed with the same censored content but without the possibility to revert the changes. This version (also rated "Not under 18") is now for sale and can be recognized by the note on the cover saying "Deutsche Version" (German version).
Multiplayer is available in three different modes:
- FFA or "Free For All" — score points by killing other opponents.
- TDM or "Team Death Match" — score points by killing opponents in the other team.
- Assault — a type of game where the attacking team must capture three enemy bases, one after another. The defending team must repel the enemy until the timer runs out. Victory is awarded to the team that fulfilled their mission. Note that in this mode it is important that there are not too many and not too few players. If there are too many players the game will become a stalemate, the attacking team having no chance to overpower the defending team (similar to World War I trench warfare).
Grunt: Has the most health and carries the biggest weapons. Used for assaults on outposts.
- M249, AG36, XM-29 OICW, Pancor Jackhammer, P90, grenade, Machete and the Falcon .357.
Sniper: Best for taking out targets at long range. Perfect on jungle maps, especially when 'camping'.
- AW50 Sniper Rifle, Rocket launcher, Falcon .357, MP5, smoke grenade, binocular, Shocker and Machete.
Support/engineer: Builds barriers and other equipment as well as laying bombs in the enemy base. Can also carry medkits to heal wounded teammates. Also, the fastest of the classes.
- M4 Carbine, MP5, medkits (or) explosives, smoke grenades, Falcon .357 and the Wrench.
The game engine features a built-in real-time Sandbox Editor that makes creating large outdoor levels easier, circumventing the need to load the game to test a custom level, or to see the in-game effects of any changes. This enabled CryTek designers to add much detail to levels, creating many different paths while reducing the time spent on level design. It also allows the player to choose more approaches to solving goals, providing a more open and non-linear experience.
The SDK (Software Development Kit) and the FarCry modding community can be found on the crymod.com site.
- Operating system: Windows 98 SE/ME/2000/XP/XPx64
- 1 GHz CPU
- 256 MB RAM
- DirectX 9.0b
- Video Card: 64 MB DirectX 9.0b-compatible graphics card
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0b compatible PCI expansion card
- 4x DVD-ROM; 16x CD-ROM
- 4 GB hard drive space
- Multiplayer: Broadband with 64 kbit/s upstream to play (512 kbit/s upstream to host 8 players)
- AMD Athlon 2400-3000+ or Intel Pentium 4 2 GHz
- 512 MB to 1024 MB RAM
- Video Card: 128 MB GeForce 4 to GeForce FX 5950; ATI Radeon 9500 to 9800 XT
- Sound Card: Sound Blaster Audigy series
- 8x-16x DVD-ROM or 32x CD-ROM
There is also a free patch for the game to upgrade to the 64-bit edition. This version only works with a 64-bit CPU and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, although an after-market patch has been released to convert the 64-bit features to 32-bit systems. The 64-bit enhancements include bump-mapped rockface textures, increased environment activity (extra birds, insects), as well as some 64-bit-specific improvements. Several new maps were also added.]
- According to an old GameSpot interview, the game was originally going to be a squad-based tactical shooter called X-Isle, where the player would have to fight an ancient alien life-form closely related to the dinosaurs. The aliens would have re-created a colony of dinosaurs in an attempt to take back control of the globe, and the player would have to overcome the advanced alien technology in addition to the brute strength and power of the dinosaurs in order to succeed.
- Official Far Cry website
- Official Far Cry Community site
- Official Far Cry Community Website — UK
- Crytek Community Site
- Russian Far Cry Community site