The second thing everyone no doubt thought about after Far Cry 4 was announced (the first was "Oh, cool! What the flying hell is that villain wearing?") was if there'd be a Blood Dragon-like spin-off to follow. Last night, I sat down with Far Cry 4's creative director Alex Hutchinson and asked if that would be the case. Rather than getting a no comment, he gave positive signs that something 'outlandish' could be in the offing.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Absurd neon FPS spin-off Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has sold over a million copies, revealed Ubisoft CEO (and Aisha Tyler sidekick) Yves Guillemot in an interview with Game Informer. Guillemot was explaining the publisher's success with what his interviewer called "mini-AAA" - smaller-budget download only titles, including Blood Dragon and the recent Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. As a result of the sales, Guillemot confirmed that more games of a similar scope were planned.
Aliens: Colonial Marines wasn't a fun game to play, it was no fun to make, and I wouldn't be surprised if the poor sales assistants stocking it all got nasty cuts from the box - like the tomb of Tutankhamun, anyone with any connection to it seems to have suffered in one way or another. And now we have another casualty: Michael 'Corporal Hicks/Kyle Reese' Biehn.
I’d just dropped the kids off at school when one of the fathers asked me what games I was playing. He’s no gamer but I thought he might at least gel with the concept of Blood Dragon: a sci-fi shooter and heavy pastiche of ’80s action films, voiced by Michael Biehn. You know, out of The Terminator. Neon, synths, one-liners, chrome, ultraviolence, pixel graphics. He looked confused, maybe appalled. I faltered. “It’s kind of, well, a joke.”
This time last year you'd never have guessed that news of Far Cry 3 would leak via the one and only Michael Biehn. But y'know, this is the future. Anything can happen. Speaking on Major Nelson Radio recently, Biehn revealed that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Creative Director, Dean Evans, is having internal discussions at Ubisoft about a potential future for the '80s sci-fi spin off.
And Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon's month-long campaign of hyperactive teasers comes to an end. It's been an mostly insane tour of slightly-off 80s cliches, most memorably the animated cartoon and cheesy live-action movie. Disappointingly, the launch trailer hasn't focused on the 80s most endearing legacy: the earnest montage. Still, this increasingly explosive look the game's violence and screaming is almost as good.
A static-filled cartoon depicting the post-post-apocalyptic wastes left in the aftermath of Vietnam 2? A cheesy live-action trailer detailing the neon war between man and android? Nope, this time Ubisoft have taken the bold move of just showing a chunk of the game they're promoting. Here's 8 minutes of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon's creative director Dean Evans talking you through laser-weapons, glowing beasties and cheeky euphemisms.
We've seen it in (brief) action, we've even played it, but a part of me still worries that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is an elaborate joke. May 1st will come around, and instead of the weird 80s-inspired neon expansion/total conversion releasing, Ubisoft will instead collectively jump out of their carefully chosen hiding spaces and shout "April Fool's Month!" This live action trailer isn't helping. It's a very silly thing, and all the better for it.
This trailer for the ridiculous Far Cry 3 expandalone Blood Dragon is like a powerful cyborg punch to the nostalgia glands. It's got everything: 80s people eating greasy breakfasts, grimy shop fronts, spandex, lasers, the post-post-apocalypse, and cartoon metal men battling around the sickening fuzz of a VHS filter. Somehow, amidst all this, there's also some footage of the game.
More information has appeared about the source of this morning's (now removed) leaked videos of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Eurogamer report that Ubisoft's uPlay launcher has been exploited by Russian hackers, allowing them to freely download the service's games. Supposedly, the hackers' software tricks the launcher into thinking the user already owns a particular game, allowing them to download it for offline play, and thereby bypassing the uPlay DRM.
Here's a generous 15 minute video of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It hasn't come through official Ubisoft channels, but it's unmistakably Red Dragon because it confirms a lot of what we've gleaned from the game's official website and screenshots. It basically re-skins Far Cry 3 with a colourful 1980s sci-fi action aesthetic. All the mechanics appear to be intact - including enemy tagging and stealth - and the environment has been confirmed to be open world.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Ubisoft's left-of-field Far Cry 3 expansion Blood Dragon will be standalone, which means you won't need to have purchased a copy of Far Cry 3 to play it. The news comes via a listing on the Xbox Marketplace website, which points to a May 1 release date and (take a deep breath) the involvement of Michael Biehn.
Far Cry 3 might very well rival Saints Row for the "biggest shark jump" award with its retro-rocking Blood Dragon DLC. The more distance each day increases from its sudden April 1 appearance hints increasingly strongly that this totally rad homage to '80s action flicks is a real thing, where psychotic pirates and killer valley kids melt away for oversaturated colors and a hero named Rex Power Colt.