Far Cry is as much about capturing natural beauty as it is about explosive mayhem, and with Far Cry 5, the bar for re-creating the wilderness is especially high. Unlike the fictional Kyrat or Rook Islands, Montana’s forests, farmlands, and highways will feel familiar to a lot of players – and that means the developers needed to accurately capture every detail, from the wildlife to the logos on roadside shops to the bark on trees, to make Hope County feel like a convincing place.
That meant taking a series of trips to Montana, during which the developers trekked into small towns and wilderness locations. They got to know Montana’s ecosystem, wildlife, and people, and took thousands of photos, many of which were used to re-create the landscape in a process called photogrammetry. Using photogrammetry, objects like trees, vegetation, buildings, and even people are photographed from multiple angles and scanned to create lifelike 3D objects. This technique led not only to some of the most detailed environments Far Cry has seen to date, but to a few surprises that made their way into the story.
The team’s photos ended up informing not just the look of Far Cry 5’s environments, but the way the game world itself was structured. Like the real Montana, Far Cry 5’s landscape is dotted with road signs and billboards, and they aren’t just set dressing; they’re there to organically alert you to where you are, direct you to specific businesses or locations that might be of help, and even unlock intel about good fishing spots. And a big part of making those messages stick out is through branding.
Another key part of understanding where you are is in the businesses themselves, which are frequently named for their region or town, or after the characters who run them. In fact, says Graphic Assistant Marco Beauchemin, it wasn’t unusual during development for a business and its branding to develop from characters who appeared in the storyline.
The approach to branding isn’t just about business, either. It extends to the homes of the characters themselves; the team wanted to create interiors that felt lived-in, with decorations that tell you something about the person who lives there, what they do, and how well they take care of their stuff.
Another thing that came out of the branding process was the identity of the resistance movement you’ll build in Hope County, which stems from the Hope County Cougars, a local baseball team. Starting out as a sign to dress up a part of a baseball field, the team’s branding spread to pennants and promotional calendars in the game’s bars.
All of these elements combine to create a rich backdrop for an explosive adventure to liberate Hope County from the grip of The Project at Eden’s Gate cult. Far Cry 5’s world is packed with activity and danger – not the least of which comes from the bears, wolves, skunks, and feared wolverines that might complicate a mission by attacking at any time – and its version of Montana is a beautiful, diverse place to explore.