There’s a new map editor in Far Cry 5 (opens in new tab) called Arcade that not only lets you use all the bears, and madness from the main game, but also a whole bunch of other Ubisoft stuff. So far the list includes Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, Rainbow Six and all the Far Crys back to number 3. Plus there are Beyond Good & Evil, Rabbids and For Honor in-game T-shirts which... well, make of that what you will.
As well as that huge range of options, this new map creator has been more fully incorporated into the main game, making it easy to dip in and and play with. Rather than existing as a stand alone component, that Arcade name ties into how you can now access both the editor, and the user created content, by finding an in-game arcade cabinet. As producer Dan Hay explains, you can “walk into a bar, anywhere in the world, step in, play the game.”
The idea is to reduce the barrier to discovering, playing and creating new content, as you don’t have to load up anything other than the main game. “If you go back and look at [the in-game editor] in Far Cry 3 (opens in new tab) and Far Cry 4 (opens in new tab), it wasn’t always easy to get to it, it wasn’t always easy to curate,” says Hay. “It felt like it was off to the side. We want to bring those features in, bring them into the world.”
As well as making the mode easier to access, the possible game types have been expanded. Previously Far Cry 4 only featured Assault, Hunt, Outpost and Extraction modes; respectively: kill all the guards, kill all the animals, take down an outpost, and reach an objective. The two levels I played included a new ‘Journey’ type, with the goal of ‘get to the exit,’ and ‘Bounty Hunt,’ an ‘eliminate the targets and escape’ objective. While Ubi isn’t showing off the finer points of the actual editor just yet, it suggest this has far more varied and interesting options across single player, co-op and [important fanfare] multiplayer - a feature previously missing at launch for Far Cry 4 and later patched in. The potential to create user generated multiplayer games is especially exciting when you look at successful in-game creators like Halo’s Forge and Doom’s SnapMap.
The Journey mission type I played was called Upside Down and was basically a horror maze, full of weirdly orientated rooms, carcasses and trippy dream-like arrangements of stairs, doors, floating furniture and goats. It was a surreal and faintly disturbing display of what could be done, demonstrating an interesting narrative potential. The Bounty Hunt level, Terminal Station, involved reaching an assassination target hidden away in a room only accessible via a roof hatch. That involved fighting or sneaking past guards to get to the victim, before escaping by stealing a truck and smashing through some gates to freedom.
Both of these felt far more substantial that the usual loose accumulation of props and AI guards people usually cobble together in map editors. There will still likely be a ton of ‘watch one bear fight 40 wolves’ type creations - and, let's be honest, we are all going to watch them - but the potential to craft more is clearly here, especially with all those extra assets. As you can see from the screens and videos, the mix of various Ubi game sources creates far more scope for building something unique.
When I asked Dan Hay how far the asset sharing would go between games - specifically if you could use Assassin’s Creed guards, for example, and make a first person AC game - his answer was cagey. “In terms of the breadth of the offering there’s going to be a ton of opportunity,” he explains. “The goal is to let you do what you want to do. The thing is, we're a shooter, so we’ve got to be able to make sure you can go through and shoot with enemies that make sense.” That’s not exactly a no.
“If you wanted to be you be a dev, you can”
There’s a ton of stuff to play with as well, with over 9000 objects at launch, and six ‘post-launch content updates’ bringing over 1500 new objects. “We think the offering is pretty good,” understates Hay, adding “it just allows us to kit the world and be able to make it so that everyone can make maps that look like they’re born of more than just Far Cry.” Perhaps the most interesting thing he adds, that hints at the ambitions Ubi have for Arcade, is that “if you wanted to be a dev, you can.”