The one thing I've noticed playing Far Cry New Dawn is that Hope County doesn't seem all that terribly worse off for having gone through a nuclear war. The roads are crappier but there are still plenty of vehicles lying around to ride around in, and the Highwaymen are jerks but there seem to be far fewer people gutted and nailed to things than there were in Far Cry 5.
The world itself doesn't look all that awful, either. While games like Fallout and Metro present players with classic "blasted wasteland" environments, Far Cry New Dawn's world is lush and pretty. Associate narrative director James Nadiger told GamesIndustry that the more colorful, upbeat setting helps set New Dawn apart from other end-of-the-world games, and it's not entirely fantastical.
"The cool thing about apocalypse fiction—not just in games, but across all media—is everyone gets to put their own spin on it," Nadiger said. "Some of them go very far into sci-fi, fantasy land, while some keep it more realistic. For New Dawn, what sets us apart almost immediately is what we've done with our environment."
The game world is based, loosely at least, on projections about how Earth could bounce back from nuclear Armageddon. Ubisoft consulted with meteorologists who develop different survivability scenarios based on the severity of the cataclysm, and then set out to hit the sweet spot of a nuclear apocalypse that wasn't quite so apocalyptic that the planet ended up hosed for centuries.
"So we've leveraged a bunch of real world things to create an apocalypse that's clearly an after the end of the world scenario but with an environment that's lush and inviting. When plants come back, animals come back, predators come back, and that sets up a classic Far Cry open world," Nadiger explained.
"I don't remember the exact number [of bombs we based on] but if there's too many bombs, there's no chance for anyone to survive or for plants and animals to recover. You can recover from radiation or nuclear disasters fairly quickly—if you look at things Chernobyl, or at Hiroshima or Nagasaki, where bombs went off, radiation came out, but life continued to soldier on."
The net result is that "the world didn't end," it just had a rough stretch for awhile and now it's starting over. "Where Nick and Kim have an idea of the world they've lost forever, Carmina has only ever known the world to be like this—this is the life she's fighting for," he said. "It's kinda fun to explore a younger generation stepping up and taking control of their world from arguably the generation that screwed it up."
I'm not the only one who thinks atomic weaponry didn't muss Hope County's hair too much, but that's not necessary a bad thing, as Chris said in his 70/100 review. He also has some ideas on how to go about reclaiming Hope County, and why the giant pig deserves your love.