Nuclear bombs were dropped in Montana at the end of Far Cry 5, proving that the dark prophecies of the Seed family were true. Doomsday happened. World War 3 happened. That’s now the prequel to 2019’s new franchise entry, Far Cry: New Dawn.

We had the opportunity to visit Ubisoft Montreal in advance of this announcement to see the game in action and learn about its unique new features, story, and development. Below is what you need to know about Far Cry: New Dawn, the most stylish Far Cry yet, one that embraces RPG elements as much as it does its post-apocalyptic setting.

Related: Far Cry: New Dawn Trailer, Release Date, and Screenshots

As the world fell apart so too did the military and power plants. Major cities were razed and a nuclear winter beset our planet for nearly six years, wiping out plant life with a lack of rain and harsh winds. As this extreme weather lifts, it birthed a new biome – what’s called “super bloom” which occurs from about year 10-17 after the events of Far Cry 5. It’s here in year 17 where Far Cry: New Dawn begins, bringing players back to Hope Country, first ruined, and then re-birthed with vibrant, new life. Wildlife is crazy and nature has taken over.

Far Cry: New Dawn is built upon three key pillars, first to be colorful and inviting – as evidenced by the trailer and exclusive screenshots below. Second, Far Cry: New Dawn offers an entirely transformed but familiar environment in its map, and last but not least, the theme of “makeshift” is key to all designs within the experience – from what people wear and drive, to all of the weapons and structures.

12. You’re Playing A Fully Customizable, Nameless Protagonist

In Far Cry: New Dawn, players step into the shoes of a brand new character, a blank slate if you will. You are the lone survivor of a a train ambushed by the Highwaymen and you make your way to Prosperity, the home base of the game and last line of defense against highwaymen.

Players recruit specialists to help rebuild certain things. There are also Guns for Hire (mercenaries) and of course, the fan-favorite Fangs for Hire, but more on that later!

When entering Prosperity and in other cinematic moments, Far Cry: New Dawn takes every opportunity to show the player their character. Their clothing and look can be fully customized by the player throughout the game.

11. You Can Leave Hope County on Expeditions

Expeditions are a new part of the Far Cry gameplay loop and newly introduced in New Dawn. They’re ‘away missions’ of sorts where the player can grab an ally (Fang or Gun for Hire) and take a ride with Prosperity’s helicopter pilot to new, separate locations around the U.S..

These isolated missions take place on one-square-kilometer maps and due to their smaller size allow Ubisoft to push the limits of their game engine in terms of visuals, effects, and most notably, AI player counts – something you’ll see when replaying them on harder difficulties. Expeditions allow the game to take players to all-new settings like a swamp in Louisiana, a theme park, or to a bridge over a canyon in Arizona. It makes the Far Cry fantasy more global and is an interesting testing ground for future games or wild ideas.

Note: Entry and exit points change each time, and there are harder difficulties for replayability (and more loot!).

10. Far Cry: New Dawn Removes Weapon Mods/Attachments

The trick to most Far Cry games is to simply get a good long-range scope and a suppressor and you’re set. No so in Far Cry: New Dawn which intentionally tries to get around that by changing up the weapons system entirely.

In Far Cry: New Dawn there are only “signature weapons,” none of which look like conventional modern day firearms. These things are held together with tape, fabric, and wire or straight up built with tools and scrap, like a scope made from bolts and piping, and a crossbow made with motorcycle parts that fires buzz saw blades. These weapons cannot be modded but can be leveled up with scrap to unlock a new version of the weapon which replaces the lesser variant. And yes, in keeping with the RPG theme of this game, they even have color-coded rarity levels.

This means there’s not going to be too much incentive to pick up stock weapons from downed enemies.

Note: Far Cry: New Dawn is the first game in the series to feature bayonets on weapons!

9. Far Cry: New Dawn Goes RPG With Levels For Weapons, Enemies, Vehicles, and the Homebase

As hinted at above, Far Cry: New Dawn is taking a page from the latest Assassin’s Creed games by leaning into RPG elements. Weapons have levels, upgraded in rarity levels by spending scrap.

Enemies have levels as well, and the higher the challenge level of an Expedition or Outpost, level 3 enemies enter followed by “Enforcers.” The devs compare these heavily armed and armored foes as The Punisher. The player’s Guns for Hire allies can similarly be leveled up in training camps at the Prosperity home base.

Interestingly, if an enemy is higher level than your weapon or takedown ability (there is a skill tree of sorts that brings back more blade-type takedowns like from Far Cry 3 and Primal) then you can’t easily kill the enemy, you need to level up.

Prosperity itself, the home base, evolves as you play. At the beginning of the game, it’s relatively barren but later, you’ll see gardens, more buildings, and even kids playing.

8. Enemy Units, Including Animals, Have Health Bars in Far Cry: New Dawn

In additional enemy levels, Far Cry: New Dawn adds in health bars which may be off-putting to long-time players looking for something more immersive. That means due to levels, and the way health bars and damage numbers work, it means small wildlife may require a lot of hits to take out.

Yes, enemies and wildlife all literally have health bars in Far Cry: New Dawn.

7. Far Cry: New Dawn Features Two Top-Level Enemy Leaders

Every Far Cry game has its top level boss, but not this time. Mickey and Lou, featured on the Far Cry: New Dawn’s cover art are twin sisters are co-leaders of the Highwaymen. Think of them as land pirates, suited up Max Max style in biker gear and makeshift weaponry and vehicles.

They are daughters of the original founders of highwaymen before they were called that, back when they started out at their docks before making their way inland.

Their philosophy: you’re a problem solver or a problem maker. If you see painted up cars sticking out of the ground, that’s there

6. Far Cry: New Dawn Has Two Threats For Players

There are two factions in Far Cry: New Dawn, the Survivors and the Highwaymen. The former are your people, mostly farmers and other residents of Hope County who you are joining and helping. And the latter are the invaders – scavengers, like pirates. The only threat was the new, evolved wildlife until the Highwaymen showed up. They weren’t prepared.

The Highwaymen, the pirates of the road, are the main threat in Far Cry: New Dawn alongside some of the evolved wildlife, but the other is scarcity. Random elements are used by people in this setting as protection, or as parts to build… anything and everything. Your goal, for much of the game to fight and survive, is to gather resources.

5. Outposts (And Expeditions) Are Replayable as Part of Far Cry: New Dawn’s Gameplay Loop

One big piece of player feedback addressed in the core design of Far Cry: New Dawn is how outposts work since in prior installments, once you get them they’re yours or you can re-do them exactly as they were. In Far Cry: New Dawn, replayability is a priority and the Outpots (and Expeditions) have been built into the main gameplay loop and may be required to really max out progression.

How it works it that once the player takes over an outpost, they have the option of returning to it and replaying it. This means the Highwaymen re-take it, and fortify the outpost, making it more challenging (also with higher level enemies) on added playthroughs. It also means there’s more loot to get on replaying them which is needed to upgrade… everything. The higher challenge of replaying them also is by design to encourage co-op play.

Note: Like Far Cry 4 and Far Cry 5, New Dawn can be played fully via two-player co-op. Like those two games however, only the host player gets story progress while both players keep their in-game loot.

4. New and Returning Fangs and Guns for Hire Join Far Cry: New Dawn

Most AI allies are being kept under wraps, but we were shown a few in our gameplay preview session, the main one being an older lady named “Nana” who’s described as “the sharpest gun in Hope County” – a sniper who also uses a silenced sidearm.

Another is Carmina, who you may recall as the baby of Kim Rye (from Rye & Son’s Airfield) that players help deliver (sort of) during the wonderful “Special Delivery” mission in Far Cry 5. Carmina’s interesting because of her age, she’s only grown up in the post-apocalyptic reality. It’s all she knows.

One is definitely Hurk, of course. We didn’t get to see him but his outline (including his infamous rocket launcher) was visible via silhouette… and he’s in all the games.

As for the non-human allies…

3. Far Cry 5’s Boomer is Dead and Has Been Replaced

We loved Far Cry 5’s canine ally, Boomer. He was cute, he was loyal, and wow, was he a fighter! We even met him at a Far Cry 5 event, and nabbed a nice little photoFar Cry: New Dawn is set 17 years later so he’s long gone, but don’t fret, there’s a new pup!

The two Fangs for Hire in Far Cry: New Dawn are Timber, an Akita dog, and Horatio – a giant boar that according to creative director Jean-Sébastien Decant is a mixture of cute and violent and disgusting. He’s featured prominently in the Far Cry: New Dawn trailer.

2. Far Cry: New Dawn’s Progression is Through Scrap and XP

As we mentioned up top, everything from vehicles and weapons, to enemies and more is tiered, and for the player that means progression of gear and skills is essential.

Far Cry: New Dawn brings back the perk points of the last few games as the progression system, and includes melee skills from Far Cry 3 and Primal since bladed weapons and melee are big part of combat.

As for the big picture goal of the game, there’s no gas. Ethanol is the key resource in game. The loop of doing expeditions and outposts, and then replaying them again (they build up and get more difficult) is to get more scrap to unlock/level up weapons, vehicles, etc. alongside the player skills from XP.

Of course, players will unlock all the specialists from playing the game, and weapon/vehicle upgrades through earning.

1. Far Cry: New Dawn Makes It Easier to Craft On The Go

The traditional Far Cry weapon wheel interface is improved and more efficient to use in New Dawn. In one screen players will be able to see everything, including consumables that can be crafted all from the same screen with the touch of a button.

It’s also simpler because players will not dealing with attachments, and for each slot on the main wheel, the weapon simply gets replaced by the better version when it’s leveled up.

More: Exclusive Interview With Far Cry: New Dawn’s Creative Director

Far Cry: New Dawn releases February 15, 2019 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One for $39.99 (CDN $49.99).

Source: ScreenRant