The fight for survival in Far Cry Primal's vast Stone Age wilderness is about to get a lot more brutal. If conquering rival tribes and taming deadly predators has left you hungry for a new, harsher challenge, we have some exciting news: Far Cry Primal is getting a Survivor mode, which will arrive as a free patch for all platforms on April 12.
"The idea of doing this mode actually started from the team, saying they wanted to create this mode based on feedback they got from the community," says Thomas Simon, Far Cry Primal's game director. "The keystone of that survival mode is the change in the exploration, crafting, and difficulty of the game to make it even more realistic. After that, there are options the player can activate to go further."
The biggest such option is the addition of permadeath. If you felt the stakes weren't high enough before, you can now turn on full permadeath, which means your game is over the first time you die (except in vision missions, which aren't "real"). If that seems too abrupt, there's also a second-chance option that gives you one backup life, which is then replenished at certain completion points.
"We've also decided to make this combo of Survivor and permadeath available at any difficulty level," says Simon, "so even players that don't necessarily like to play extremely hard difficulty modes can still enjoy the change of experience in Survivor, and also try permadeath if they want to."
Permadeath is only the beginning. Survivor mode adds a stamina gauge, making protagonist Takkar slower and weaker when it runs out, and forcing him to sleep in order to replenish it. The minimap is now turned off by default, pushing you to pay more attention to your surroundings, and the fog of war has been strengthened, lessening the amount of the map you reveal as you explore. You'll encounter humans and animals less often as you explore, which means hunting takes a little more patience. Even fast travel is a little tougher, as it now consumes stamina and food.
Takkar himself has also been weakened in a few key ways. He can no longer rain remote-control death on foes using his owl, for example, and crafting ammo now takes a few seconds, instead of being instantaneous. He's also now a lot more susceptible to cold, which increases his dependency on fire, and makes crafting cold-weather gear a top priority if you're planning to venture into the chillier parts of Oros. On the upside, the duration of Takkar's Hunter Vision has been increased – which should come in handy for surviving the longer, darker, deadlier nights that now befall the land of Oros.
Survivor mode also retools one of Far Cry Primal's biggest cornerstones, the animals that Takkar can tame and command. "The beasts you're going to control are going to get less powerful," says Simon. "The most powerful beasts you control, like sabretooths and bears, will not let themselves be tamed so easily. You're going to have to fight them up to the moment that they are at half-life, then bait them and tame them."
The most striking and immediate change to beast mastery, however, is that animals who die are gone for good. You'll still have a chance to save them before they die, but if your previous strategy for, say, taking down a fort was to hide while your all-but-disposable animal friends winnowed down the enemy's numbers, you may want to come up with a new plan. That's especially true if you're able to bring Far Cry Primal's legendary beasts under your control; while you can always tame another leopard or wolf, creatures like the Bloodfang Sabretooth can't ever be brought back once lost.
So is there a benefit to all this, aside from grueling satisfaction and the pride that comes from extreme challenge? Of course, says Simon.
"We've created four new Ubisoft Club challenges," says Simon, adding that new PlayStation Trophies or Xbox Live Achievements aren't possible in this free update. "If you go for the ultimate challenge – activating Survivor mode, playing on expert difficulty and activating permadeath – you have the hardest and most insane challenge possible for the game, and there's a special reward at the moment you complete the game. I won't spoil it."
Survivor mode will be available as a free patch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 12, and the PC patch will also add 4K textures to the game. Also, you can check out Survivor mode with an in-depth livestream on www.twitch.tv/ubisoft on April 7th at 9:30AM PDT.