By Nick Romano
December 06, 2018 at 09:45 PM EST

The post-apocalypse never looked so… colorful.

Far Cry 5, Ubisoft’s latest entry in the first-person open-world game franchise, left behind a literal scorched earth. So what comes after the nuclear fallout? We’ll find out in Far Cry New Dawn, the new sequel announced during The Game Awards on Thursday night.

A cryptic teaser released ahead of the ceremony hinted at a direct follow-up to the Far Cry 5 story, which is a drastic departure for the series as all previous games were standalones. The sequel nature of New Dawn is now confirmed, but, Ubisoft clarifies, it’s not an official Far Cry 6 release.

Far Cry 5 dropped players into the fictionalized Hope County, Montana, where you and your strike team of FBI agents attempted to end a cult’s hold over the region. (By now, interested parties should’ve had plenty of time to play this game, but just in case, spoilers ahead.) The game ended with your group reuniting and subduing the cult’s leader, Joseph Seed (a.k.a. “The Father”). Ubisoft clarified Seed didn’t trigger a bomb, but correctly predicted The Collapse, which took the form of all-out nuclear war.

Ubisoft

New Dawn will pick up 17 years after this nuclear catastrophe when life is finally returning to Hope County, but with life comes new threats — like mutated boar, moss-covered bison, and white deer with pink-splattered antlers.

It’s like we just took a trip inside the Shimmer from Annihilation.

The big reveal wasn’t as grand of a surprise as it was initially intended, as the cover art leaked hours before the ceremony on Amazon. The imagery was also hard to pass over: two black women, armed with makeshift weapons, smirk as a white man is strapped to an overturned car.

Ubisoft

There’s no more cult, but players will face the Highwaymen, a group of vicious scavengers raised in a lawless frontier and led by The Twins, Mickey and Lou. As an ally to the remaining Survivors, holed up at their home base named Prosperity, it’s your job to craft makeshift weapons (like frickin’ crossbows that fire frickin’ saw blades) and vehicles, recruit Guns for Hire, and interact with “new and familiar faces.”

Another Far Cry first is the Expeditions function, which are accessed at Prosperity and drop gamers into “memorable locations across the U.S., from wetlands to canyons and more,” according to a press release. Yes, that blast affected all of America. For each destination, the objective will be to grab a package containing valuable materials and then get the heck out of there.

Far Cry 5, which hit in March, broke sales records for Ubisoft. With $310 million in revenue, the title marked the fastest-selling title in the franchise and the second-biggest launch for the game publisher (behind Tom Clancy’s The Division).

Additional DLCs, including a zombie-centric addition and the Red Planet mission Lost on Mars, launched after the game’s initial debut.

Some interpreted the leaked Dec. 7 date as the official release. While pre-orders are now available for Far Cry New Dawn, the game will be released on Playstation 4, the Xbox One family of devices, and Windows PC on Feb. 15 for $39.99.

To get more intel on what’s coming for gamers in New Dawn, EW chatted up creative director Jean-Sebastien Decant

Ubisoft

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know you guys had a few DLCs for Far Cry 5. What was the decision behind releasing a new sequel game as opposed to another DLC? 

JEAN-SEBASTIEN DECANT: It started when we were working on Far Cry 5. I was toying with a few ideas for the end of the game and the doomsday scenario was one of the more exciting ones. We liked that we could actually finish Far Cry 5 in a dramatic way, something that would be very exciting but at the same time something that would set the table for a new story, a new world… It fits very well with the thematics of the franchise — the lawless frontier, this place where there’s people you have to fight and the wilderness is also quite dangerous.

What was super cool was having the opportunity to use some characters that we created in Far Cry 5 who were quite powerful and being able to say let them be harmed by the collapse and let’s see what we could do with them later. 

Is there anyone specific you can mention at this point from Far Cry 5 who will be appearing in New Dawn

At this point, not really. There were survivors, which is pretty obvious. 

The Father is back for sure. There will be some others, but it’s a different approach. The world is in a space that it wasn’t meant to be. He wanted the collapse to happen for a chance to rebuild the world and so that’s gonna be featured in the game. 

Just to confirm this isn’t officially Far Cry 6, right?

No, it’s not the number Far Cry, it’s a bit like what we did with Blood Dragon and Primal. We call it a standalone sequel only in the sense that it follows the world and the character of Far Cry 5 but also you could approach Far Cry even if you didn’t play any Far Cry. There is a new protagonist, you’re starting with a clean slate. You’re discovering that world where people don’t know you and we really tried to balance the feeling of Far Cry 5 with creating a brand-new experience for all players. 

What can you tell me about the Highwaymen and specifically The Twins? What kind of villains are they gonna be and how do they compare to the Peggies [the Cult members of Far Cry 5]? 

It’s very different because the Cult was driven by something that was religious. This time we have a group that are scavengers. They go from place to place, they scavenge all the resources, and then they move to the next one. They are much more nihilistic. They live for the day and if you’re in their way, it’s not gonna go very well. 

For Mickey and Lou, they have this saying. They see the world with two types of people: there are the problem makers and the problem solvers — and there better not be a problem maker. 

I wanted to try and create a threat that would be dual. It’s been a while since Far Cry 3, since we’ve had this one-on-one, these very powerful, surprising enemies and the idea of bringing two at the same time in your face. The idea was the familiarity of The Twins, you interrupting their world. There are a lot of interesting dynamics that we haven’t explored before. So that was really the starting point. 

Ubisoft

Is there anything you can further tease about how Joseph Seed is involved in the story?

Well, what I can say is that obviously he’s not the main villain anymore. It will be surprising to see. 

Are we also going to find out what happened to Rook [the main character] from the last game, or is that a surprise you’re hoping to save? 

As I was saying, we’re really trying to make a game separated from Far Cry that everybody could enjoy without any knowledge of the previous one. But, yes, we will show a carefully cut answer that surprises around all the interesting points of the previous one, including the Rookie. 

What I loved about those Far Cry 5 DLCs was your ability to bring in those weapons into the main Far Cry 5 story. For people who already own the previous game, is there gonna be any crossover between Far Cry 5 and the weapons and vehicles of New Dawn

We will have a crossover concerning some of the suits, costumes you can get. I’m not sure about vehicles and guns. 

We also are approaching the weapons in a totally different way. The style is a makeshift approach. Nothing has been released from the factory for years so people have to make due with what they have. So gathering elements and crafting these makeshift weapons is gonna be key and the one that was featured in the teaser yesterday, the Hero Weapon of the game, it’s the Saw Blade. 

I’d imagine New Dawn will be a generally similar experience to what people were playing in Far Cry 5, given the timeline with which you were working on the game. But is there anything new in terms of fighting mechanics, skill building that’s coming in New Dawn

To me there are three really cool new features that we’ve pushed on this one. One is the light RPG approach in the sense that now weapons are all signature weapons, they all have one specific [function]. They also come in tiers — so there’s tier one, tier two, tier three — and they become much more efficient to tackle the challenges. 

It’s the same with the enemies… We wanted to try to find a way for them to last a little bit longer. We now have levels of enemies with much more protection that’s justified visually. 

The other one is we brought Prosperity, the home base. It belongs to the Survivors and you will have to rebuild it to get perks and cool stuff for your character. The way we structured the story, the more you invest in that space, the more you get what you need to confront the enemies and to move forward in the story. 

The one that I’m really excited about are the Expeditions. [The bomb blast] is not something that happened in Hope County, Montana, it happened all across the Northern Hemisphere. So for us, having the opportunity to visit other spaces was kind of cool. We created these Expeditions all across the U.S. that will allow you to actually go there, gather resources, and come back to Hope County. We go to the valleys on the West Coast and the canyons and there will be multiple missions like that that extend the law and the world of the game. 

Ubisoft

 

Is there anything you can say that’s more specific about who we’re playing?

In New Dawn, you will have a fully customizable character. You’re part of a group that has been thriving on the West Coast trying to rebuild America. You’re part of an operation that’s supposed to come and defend Hope County against the Highwaymen. You’re on the train and on the train there are economists, architects, soldiers, everything that could help rebuild that place, but all these hopes and dreams will be crushed by the Highwaymen and you’ll find yourself being one of the survivors. And then you stumble upon some of the characters of the place and with them you’re going to try to do what you were planning to do, which is helping them rebuild. 

Are there any plans right now to expand on New Dawn with add-ons, DLCs, and the like? 

At the moment we’re really focusing on doing the expeditions and the world of Hope County by the nuclear apocalypse and that’s it. 

I’m curious if there’s anything specific about the critics’ response to Far Cry 5 or the fan response that helped inform what you guys were doing in New Dawn

Absolutely. For instance, the animal companions, people were asking if they could come and accompany you in the vehicles and that’s something that’s gonna happen in this one. The new dog, Timber, will be able to join you in the vehicle. Also, some people didn’t like the forced captures that we had with the resistance system in the previous game, so we pushed that to the side and we changed the system to make sure the player would be the one in charge for making the story move forward and not being interrupted in his adventures. 

There are many little things, but those are the ones I think of. 

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