Comment: Is Far Cry Primal catching, cresting or crashing the Stone Age wave?

Jumping the Mammoth

Moving the Far Cry-verse back 10,000 years fits the spirit of a series whose raison d’etre is man vs nature vs psychotic man. The series has already “jumped the shark”, in the best way, with Blood Dragon and Valley of the Yeti; yet visiting the Stone Age is perhaps more grounded than Isla Nublar or Nosgoth, as per leaked Ubisoft surveying questionnaires. It is worth noting that given the 23rd February 2016 release date, the commissioned market research perhaps had more to do with the series after Far Cry Primal (FCP).

To be clear, the Far Cry architecture can accommodate a title like FCP – and will fit into series in tone, engine and gameplay. Moving crafting to the forefront fits within the existing framework established by the title and will also look to attract some of the 5 million + survival title owners on Steam. Whilst there is no multi-player; Ubisoft will be hoping a solid single player experience twinned with the innate desire of gamers to pit their wits against the wilderness will result in the best selling title yet. Based on the performance of the last two titles; and potential value of the “crafting” market, if solidly executed, FCP can expect to ship up to 25 million titles in the first year of sale across all platforms, source data can be found below.

However, the stickler will be that lack of multi-player. Some will also bemoan that Ubisoft doesn’t always have a fantastic track record with producing solid games but this is part and parcel of the corporate process when dead-lines must be met. Multi-player would risk producing a poorly executed FCP, potentially missing the all important release date and ruining the goodwill generated in the series.

Indie-spiration

Polygon’s excellent spotlights The Fall of THQ and How EA Lost its Soul, show how corporate processes can stifle game development, however with share-holders to answer to companies with announced games must hit publishing dates or risk adversely affecting share prices. I only mention this because, I don’t doubt that Far Cry Primal will be released 23 February 2016, personally I think the title will be solid and as enjoyable as other entries in the franchise.

The symbiotic relationship between larger and smaller studios is no different from any other sector. Smaller players, ultimately producing smaller titles, are more agile and can test the video game market without the ire of share-holders because they have none, Ubisoft cannot. When gamers moan about the boilerplate shoot man titles, it is because these titles sell. However, companies like Ubisoft, do look to differentiate themselves and the indie market and its popular titles can inspire behemoths to emulate with their own better resources.

However, the publicly traded leviathans of the video game industry are not agile. This could mean the crafting and pre-history angle promoted in FCP is approaching a market saturated with similar ideas.

Whether the title can attract the players of ARK: Survival Evolved and Rust is debatable particularly without online multi-player. Furthermore one wonders if prehistory is the new Zombies and we have already reached point where the uniqueness of living in the Stone Age has already passed.

@MegaAlligator


7 Days to Die, Ark: Survival Evolved, Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4, RUST and The Forest: Steam ownership and physical copies shipped

Release Date Steam Ownership, m (1) Shipped, m (2)
Far Cry 3 29/11/2012 2.6 10
Far Cry 4 18/11/2014 0.5 7
RUST 11/12/2013 2.3
Ark: Survival Evolved 02/06/2015 1.8
The Forest 30/05/2014 1.5
7 Days to Die 13/12/2013 1.2

(1) Steam Ownership represents copies owned by Steam Users.

  • Sourced from steamspy and is an estimate. Presented in millions (m) and dated between release date and 8 October 2015.

(2) Shipped represents physical titles shipped for sale.

Featured image is Rancho la Brea Tar Pool by Charles. R. Knight. Used under public domain.

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