Since the announcement of Far Cry 5, details of its map editor and multiplayer portions have been surprisingly thin on the ground. I’m a big fan of that kind of stuff though, so during a trip to try out the campaign, I badgered the developers for a bit more info about Far Cry Arcade and in particular, the map editor.
You can watch a pretty exhaustive list video below, which covers my findings, but I’ve also jotted down the main points in the following article. There’s a load of information in here, from the simple stuff like how many modes are available, right through to some really detailed breakdowns of new assets, effects and the way you can alter the environment to suit your needs. If you’re interested in map-making in any way, you need to check this out because from what I’ve learnt, it looks like Far Cry 5’s level editor will be shaping up to be the tool of map makers’ dreams!
Let’s start with the basics. Far Cry Arcade is the new hub in Far Cry 5 for playing user-made solo, co-op and multiplayer missions and it is a separate entity to the main campaign. Far Cry Arcade can be accessed through the main menu, or by interacting with a number of arcade machines found dotted around the single-player game world. You cannot however access the Far Cry 5 map editor through Far Cry Arcade. The level editor is only accessible through the main menu of Far Cry 5, so if you want to build rather than play, you’ll need to exit out of Hope County and head back to the title screen.
Far Cry 4 was a major disappointment for map makers because, for the first time in the series, the level editor wouldn’t let you make multiplayer maps. Thankfully, Ubisoft has listened to the community this time around and multiplayer map making is back with a (Far Cry) vengeance. In the map editor you can make maps for two types of multiplayer game modes: Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. Multiplayer is limited to 12 players in Deathmatch or two teams of up to six players each in Team Deathmatch.
You’ll also be able to make challenge maps for solo and co-op play, choosing from four available game modes: Assault, Outpost, Bounty Hunt and Journey. In Assault maps you need to kill every last enemy on the map, while in Outpost you have to liberate user-made outposts in a similar way to how you do it in the main game. Bounty Hunt is a new game type that lets players track and kill targets before reaching an extraction zone, whilst Journey tasks them with finding the exit in user-created mazes. This should be particularly welcome news to those in the map-making community who loved creating obstacle course style maps.
There are over 9000 assets to pick from in the level editor and they’re all available from day one. These include over 5000 assets from Far Cry 5 alone and they’ll cover the full roster of weapons, vehicles, animals and enemies found in the main game. Later down the line, there’ll also be six updates after launch that’ll add even more assets to the editor. These assets will be lifted directly taken from the bonkers DLC chapters that are set in places like Vietnam, a zombie apocalypse and even the planet Mars!
The rest of the assets come from other Ubisoft titles, namely Far Cry 4, Far Cry Primal, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Unity and Watch Dogs. The assets from these games include things like objects and structures, vegetation types, rocks, caves and decals. Using these assets means there’s a huge amount of potential for varied levels, for instance you could set up a deathmatch in a pirate town using Black Flag assets, or you could create a modern day city using Watch Dogs assets. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you could even mix and match assets and have something like a 10,000 BC environment from Far Cry Primal mixed with the 18th century Parisian buildings from Assassin’s Creed Unity. The possibilities for imaginative map-makers out there seems to be limitless!
NPCs in Far Cry 5’s level editor are restricted to Far Cry 5’s NPCs only, although you can change their appearance using the many different outfits available in the main game. This should help provide a lot more variety across all your maps compared to previous games in the series where you could only add cookie cutter enemies and allies.
Far Cry 3’s level editor was a notable failure because you weren’t able to add vehicles to maps published online. Thankfully this was remedied in the following game, although only on solo and co-op challenge maps due to its lack of multiplayer. Thankfully this time round Ubisoft has listened to fan feedback and given us the best of both worlds: in Far Cry 5 you’ll be able to place vehicles in solo, co-op and multiplayer maps. As I mentioned in a previous point, all the vehicles from Far Cry 5 will be available, so as well as the usual cars and boats, we’ll also be able to build maps that include helicopters and even planes! Think of the possibilities for aerial obstacle courses or maps built solely around dogfighting in the skies. It’s quite exciting really!
Size wise, whilst I couldn’t get an exact measurement from Ubisoft, I have been told that the map size for Far Cry 5’s level editor will be the same as previous iterations of the map editor. Previous level editors have been pretty decent in size to be fair, so they probably didn’t need to get any bigger.
On the subject of size, let’s talk a bit about AI. Whilst Ubisoft wouldn’t go into specifics I was told that there would once again be a limit placed on the amount of AI allowed on each map. This is due to performance issues, which is fair enough, but whether we’re allowed more AI than in the previous games remains to be seen. Ubisoft has also added in the option to place something called ‘Control Zones’ in Far Cry 5. These zones tell an AI, either an NPC or an animal to stick to a specific area on the map – great news for those of you wanting to create more elaborate maps with ambushes or enemy patrols.
In Far Cry 5 you can personalise load-outs for players in your map; this means you can pick their starting weapons, right down to their attachments and also ammo types and throwables. This also extends to the player gear like the wingsuit or the grappling hook. The most interesting thing here though is that you can also create asymmetrical load-outs for each team in Team Deathmatch, so for example, maybe you could make a jungle map where one team spawn as snipers in tree top hides, while the other team spawns as a ground force with explosives and machine guns. Again, the possibilities seem endless. You’re not confined to just these starting load-outs either. You can also strategically place weapon pickups throughout your maps as well, so you could make secret weapon caches or place a powerful weapon in the center of the map for players to fight over.
Along with the standard building blocks like houses and structures come loads of new assets never before seen in a Far Cry map editor. These include things like omnilights and spotlights that have multiple editable parameters like colour, intensity and flickering frequency. These could give you the option to make some super spooky maps or perhaps even levels set inside a funky disco. You can also add visual effects like electrical sparks, fire and smokes and you can also place resize-able water volumes anywhere you like. You can even change the appearance of these volumes, which means, at a guess you could make pools of green acid, or surround your islands with a blood red sea. Ubisoft has also given us the option to add generic shapes to the map and the apply over 100 different textures to them, something that can be used to make more abstract maps.
It’s not just visual assets you can add though, you can also add musical themes to your maps using tracks from the Far Cry franchise and Black Flag and Unity. Not only that but you can also add an ambient sound to your map. From creepy forests and quiet jungles to the echoey horrors of a deep dark dungeon, there are many different sounds to choose from so any map you make has extra potential to be super atmospheric.
Things get even more impressive when it comes to environmental changes. As before you’ll be able to alter the time of day and the type of weather from a bunch of presets including sky colour, types of clouds and wind force. You’ll also be able to change the position of the sun and moon, change the global map luminosity and even, using some kind of God-like powers, resize the moon itself! You can also add fog to maps now, with the option to change its height, opacity and colour.
To add extra realism to your creations, you’ll also be able to place pre-made 3D backdrops into your maps. In previous Far Cry map editors, your surroundings were basically limited to either water or rocks but in Far Cry 5 you can make city levels that actually look like they’re set inside actual cities, rather than just being perched atop a tiny island.
To make things even more cinematic you’ll also be able to apply a post-FX filter to your maps. That means things like black and white filters, jungle filters and even hallucination effects; handy if you want to make something really trippy and weird.
Talking about trippy and wierd, modifiers will help you give a different feel to each map you create. There’s a load of them to choose from, but the ones mentioned to me were no fall damage, low gravity, friendly fire and being able to add a timer. No fall damage and low gravity sound especially fun to me and they could see users creating missions set on creepy, haunted moon bases!
Along with all the new additions come a raft of improvements too. Overall upgrades to the editor include improvements to the terrain textures tiling so it’s easier to make things like cliff faces. Zip line entry and exit points can now be customised freely. You can select the appearance of the ocean and the strength of its waves, which should be great for creating some Black Flag style ship to ship battle maps. Another neat addition for the deathmatch side of things is the ability to add respawn timers to weapon and ammo pickups placed on your maps.
Multiplayer lobbies have been sadly missed in recent Far Cry games but in Far Cry 5 they make a welcome return, sort of. There are two types of multiplayer lobby available, public and private and they both behave slightly differently. In public lobbies, after each round, three players are randomly selected to pick a map. All players in the lobby then vote amongst those three maps and the one that receives the most votes is the one everyone will then play. When it’s your turn to pick a map you can choose either a featured map, a map you’ve favourited in the past, or you can choose one of your very own to showcase your map making skills! When selecting maps in private lobbies the same process is followed, but here only people who know the lobby password will be able to join. Private lobbies can be used in conjunction with parties to easily create multiplayer matches between friends so that you only play the maps you want. It’s not a complete return to the classic multiplayer lobbies of Far Cry 2, but it’s damn close and sounds like it should work out pretty well.
In terms of refinements made to map publishing, when you publish a map multiple times it’ll automatically replace the previous version. That means you won’t need to keep uploading and then deleting maps as you refine your designs through gameplay tests. You’ll also be able to see which version a map is by checking its details in the arcade.
As you play user-created maps in Far Cry Arcade you’ll earn something called Arcade Progression Points. The more you play and for each level of Arcade progression you reach, you’ll be awarded in-game currency and perk points. You can use both of those to unlock weapons, avatar clothes, perks and more, which can all be used in either the main game or brought along to Far Cry Arcade.
Unfortunately right now there are no tangible rewards for successful map makers other than fame among the community. I was told that the Far Cry team will be playing close attention to the map-making community though and they’re working on ways to reward their talents. Just what those rewards will be remains to be seen.
Phew, and there we go! That’s everything I could find out about Far Cry 5’s level editor. I’m pretty hyped about this – after the disappointments of 3 and 4 it seems like Ubisoft has finally gotten its act together and given the map making community exactly what they’ve been asking for.