Far Cry 5’s Arcade Mode is a map-making’n’sharing joy

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I made my first Far Cry 5 map in the game’s Arcade Mode this morning, in collaboration with my 4-year-old daughter. It took me about an hour, it stars 20 cougars, two enormous yetis, half a dozen windmills and a tasteful pink pillow. It even has a puzzle, of sorts, involving a rocket launcher and a very high ladder. It was remarkably easy to create – you should give it a go yourself (you don’t have to include quite so many cougars, though).

Arcade Mode is the umbrella term given to a fairly accessible map editor and a menu in the main game from which you can call up and play on the spot anything made by anyone else, including your own creations. Its ranks are swelling fast, and clearly much of it at this very early stage is absolute drek, but a user voting system means at least some of the better maps are floating to the top.

Clearly, this will not be the case for my inaugral map, ‘a tunnel made of windmills with 20 cougars and two yetis‘. (To play it yourself, visit that link, sign in with your Uplay details if asked, click ‘add to favourites’ and then boot up Far Cry 5, choose Arcade Mode from the main menu then select ‘My Favourites’; it should be there).

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I am nonetheless somewhat proud of having painlessly created something that a) works b) has a specific solution despite being a mismatch of disparate aesthetic styles and which is centered around the extremely My First Map concept of a small arena with a very large amount of angry animals/mythical monsters.

More importantly, I feel as though I could go on to create something far more deft and coherent, such was the rapidity with which I picked up the editor’s controls. Now, I have had some very fleeting experience with map-making tools in the past, which gives me a slight leg up in terms of working out which button spawns characters and which spawns furniture.

Even so, tooltips pretty much tell you what does what, and then it’s a matter of selecting the object or entity you want from a list down the right-hand side.

Duplication – in order to, say, add 20 cougars or two rows of conjoined windmills to your map – is straight-up copy’n’paste controls, so creating something at least functional is remarkably rapid. If you are feeling fancy, though, the editor contains assets from across the Ubiverse, including period buildings from Assassin’s Creed 4 & Unity, techbro fare from Watch_Dogs and a whole mess of stuff from earlier Far Cries, including the prehistoric Primal. Making this stuff slot together artfully is a far steelier challenge than sticking it in there.

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I wouldn’t quite say the editor has gone full game-making-for-everyone – there’s plenty of presumed knowledge, in terms of the arrows used to adjust something’s position, the need to validate a map and then identify where the errors are and what to do about them before you can play it – but it’s certainly not a hard nut to crack if you’re willing to.

Like I say, I’ve used a few of these things in the past, and I would say that this is one of the most accessible, at least in terms of something that you get fairly impressive and non-template-based results from fast. I really strongly recommend giving it a go if you were otherwise planning to overlook it – it’s a huge, and hugely entertaining, chunk of your expensive videogame that you’re giving short thrift to. If my four-year-old and I can make A Tunnel Made Of Windmills With 20 Cougars And Two Yetis, then you can almost certainly do better.

And if you can’t, well, there’s always the in-game element of Arcade Mode, which is already bursting with intriguing short-form spins of the Far Cry formula. You can’t make something set in an enormous open world full of quests and whatnot with the editor, but you can make fairly sizeable challenge maps. Objectives entail the likes of ‘kill everyone’, ‘escape’ and the ever-popular outpost liberation missions from the main game, and there are plenty of devious spins on these cropping up already. You can also make multiplayer and co-op maps, though I’ve yet to dabble in that myself.

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Such is the behind-the-scenes work done by the editor in terms of AI and structure alignment that user-maps don’t necessarily scream home-made. Sure, there’s a ton of barebones (yet somehow still ingenious) stuff like The Island Of Fred Durst, but they still function perfectly well as a slice of Far Cry chaos.

Meanwhile, the assets parachuted in from other games mean that, very often, these maps don’t look like Far Cry 5’s verdant Montana setting – I’ve seen post-apocalyptic stuff, drowned worlds, ice-locked places, trad. Far Cry tropics, all sorts. If you tire of FC5’s endless trees, maybe this can be your balm.

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The editor won’t allow you to publish your map until key criteria, such as a start and end goal and no entities overlapping, have been met, which is a fairly effective gatekeeper against fully broken crap. Meanwhile, user reviews (star ratings only for now) and map type filtering mean this at least has a shot at providing an ongoing answer to the ol’ “I feel like some mindless violence today but I’ve played everything in my Steam library” dilemma. A lovely feature to that end is ‘Arcade Hero’, which will drop you into a random map with few or no votes so far.

Such is the ease and power of both the tools and the sharing systems in Far Cry 5’s Arcade Mode that I think we’re going to see some really impressive stuff in the coming weeks. Maybe even… 30 cougars.

15 Comments

  1. brucethemoose says:

    “I feel like some mindless violence today but I’ve played everything in my Steam library”

    You’ve played your whole Steam Library? My thought process is usually “I feel like some mindless violence today”, then I proceed to stare at the enormous pile of cheap games I don’t even remember buying for way too long. Sometimes I pick one (often only to realize I don’t have the SSD space, or to spend day(s) modding it without ever playing it), but usually I just get overwhelmed and go back to some familiar violence that’s already installed. And thus the process repeats in a vicious positive feedback loop.

    I guess that makes me a creature of habit? And/or an addict?

    Anyway, yeah, some of my most memorable experiences have been in games with a user-created maps feature, going way back to Halo’s Forge and Spore Galactic Adventures. Or server-side mods, like custom ME3coop waves and Minecraft. I wasn’t even considering FC5 before, but this user-made map thing is really tempting me.

    • Lord Byte says:

      I know the feeling brother… 1560 steam games…

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I only have 1/10 of Lord Byte’s collection, but even to me, the words “played everything” are so alien that Star Trek is like a documentary in comparison.

        Mods are one of the reasons why I hadn’t played more than 20% of my Steam library before I started to only play new games a few years ago (now at 50 %). I’ve never played or been that interested in the Far Cry games, but this map maker certainly makes it a better game.

    • April March says:

      For me, it’s more of a case of “I feel like some mindless violence with lifelike graphics today, but I know that every one of the dozens of game in my Steam library that will provide that will force me to go through a long tutorial that will suck up all the time I have for playing before I even get to the mindless ultraviolence.”

      Of course, having an AAA open world game in a semi-perpetual state of incompletion helps. It was Sleeping Dogs for a long while, then I finished it. Now it’s Mad Max.

  2. Railway Rifle says:

    Assets from previous Far Cry games – I wonder if you can make a level of 2018 graphics inhabited by 2004 graphics people.

  3. racccoon says:

    I have stated this many times about game editors.
    They do not help the game as its too public. These editors spoil the game as you can now see (supposedly, as the devs have narrowed all it down to these editors ) just how simply the game is made & therefore this makes the game look simple & not what you wanted to know about..you just wanted to play the Game, for the games sake.
    I firmly believe that all game editing should be left in the hands of modders, its far greater & a passion to acquire from Modders as they edit the game on its merits and enter into raw code its an achievment! These silly editors just show publicly the simplistic nature of how the games made.
    Modders help far more than editors, as editors do not help the game player they just help them not appreciate the game for its value as they play with a raw bits. game editors are stupid unles they are alone and bare from the game insides like modders find and make themselves.
    A ramble but a good valid point I think. lol, have fun :)

    • BockoPower says:

      I see you have never played Warcraft 3, StarCraft, Half Life or ArmA 2? The editors in those games kept them alive for more than 10 years after release. One of the most famous player-made ones are DotA, Counter Strike and DayZ which created completely new genres and inspired massively played games like League of Legends or PlayerUnknown’s Battleground. If the Far Cry 5’s editor is even remotely good as Warcraft 3’s then this game could turn into the best FPS game ever with great custom maps in different styles and gameplay.

    • HiroTheProtagonist says:

      Even with some valid points, I can’t help but feel like your post smacks of being too young to remember games before this generation. Map/game editors were boons for extending the shelf life, not to mention they often led to an interest in deeper modding. I still have many fond memories of creating levels in Timesplitters 2 as well as parks in the various Tony Hawk games, and to see so many games released without the ability to create anything is saddening. Hell, even Halo’s given players the ability to create with a good amount of success.

      To throw out editors because “game editors are stupid” is like saying modding should be done away with because some people decided to make “realistic horse vagina” mods for Skyrim.

      • TeePee says:

        Yeah, but if Bethesda hadn’t cut corners in the first place, I wouldn’t have needed to spend four days hand-rendering 57 different horse hoo-hahs in the first place. The vanilla horse vajayjays were woefully inadequate. Lazy devs, man.

        • 4Valhal says:

          TeePee’s work was weak, no disrespect intended. Please try 4Valhal’s Horse Vajene and Dangley Realistic Mod v3.7 – Includes realistic hair and bouncing movements.

    • DeepSpace69 says:

      I will try to respect your opinion here, but I have rarely seen something to totally opposite of my own beliefs.

      As kids, tools like these gave us many more hours of fun and creativity after we had played the main game. It allowed us to enjoy this thing we loved so much even more, and even try to be a bit clever in pushing the boundaries and limits of the games as learned more. As people have pointed out, we have gotten so much from the heritage of map editors from Half-life and Blizzards stuff, it is crazy for me imagining trying to limit the access.

      I imagine very, very few people have booted up a game for the first time and felt like a map editor gave them the experience of the normal game.

      Edit: Also I don’t think these games are easy to make….

    • lukibus says:

      Stated many (no very precise) times, and you don’t mention the number of agreement / disagreement replys. It would be helpful to the understanding of whether you stating something is the worth of reading you.

  4. Caiman says:

    Ah yes, map creation. The first one involves, like you say, piling a ridiculous amount of monsters into a tiny area strewn with rocket launchers. The second one is a 15 part epic Battlestar Galactica / Star Wars cross-over with full voice acting, new textures and sound effects, and you’ll only ever finish half of the first map.

  5. Jackablade says:

    Millions of Peaches. Peaches for me…

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