Ubisoft truly has done something special with their new First Person Shooter game Far Cry Primal. They’ve taken an already established franchise and reinvented it in a way which is both familiar and new.
Whether you’re a film director, novel writer, game developer, or other creative, you need to know how to build on a franchise. And that’s exactly what Ubisoft has so masterfully achieved.
Whenever you reinvent a franchise you’re at risk. Having an established franchise under your belt can be the difference between dining out at the finest restaurants or eating tinned spam.
Independent writers, for instance, often live off of the sales that their established franchises bring in. So naturally they have to be careful when they make changes to those franchises. Get it wrong and all those royalties that you’ve been living off can vanish overnight. But at the same time, if you don’t allow a franchise to evolve it will eventually grow stale.
The key to building on a franchise is to make it feel both familiar and fresh at the same time. That way, you please your fans who have come to love the franchise as it is but you also deliver something refreshing to give them a reason to buy your new product.
This is precisely what Ubisoft has done with Far Cry Primal. And they’ve done it masterfully.
If you’re not a gamer you might wonder what Far Cry Primal is. It’s the latest in a series of First Person Shooter games.
Games in the Far Cry series are high octane shooters that are set in the modern world and take place in wild environments full of animals and psychotics. The overall feel of Far Cry is a bit like a cross between the TV show LOST and the movie Proof Of Life.
With Far Cry Primal, Ubisoft wanted to move the series in a new direction. But they also wanted to satisfy the millions of gamers who already loved Far Cry.
They achieved this by going back to basics and asking What is the heart and soul of Far Cry? To which game directors Jean-Christophe Guyot, and Maxime Béland, along with game designer Thoman Simon realised that Far Cry, at its core, is about high octane action out in the wilderness.
The team at Ubisoft then looked at ways to reinvent Far Cry while keeping that core of high octane wildness. And they realised that the best environment for them to base their game in would be a tribal prehistoric world. What better environment than to produce the sense of high octane action in a wild world?
In making this creative reinvention, Thomas Simon and company delivered one of the best evolutions of any franchise in many years. Far Cry Fans still love Far Cry Primal because its familiar, but it’s also very new, and thereby injects novelty into the franchise, helping to keep the franchise fresh.
This is a shining example of reinvention, and it can readily apply to all forms of storytelling.
Whether you’re a novelist, a film director, or a game developer, there’s a lot you can learn from Ubisoft and Far Cry Primal. The way in which the team reinvented their franchise while keeping it familiar is exemplary. A true shining example of how to please your fans while giving them something new.