Far Cry is as much about capturing natural beauty as it is about explosive mayhem, and with Far Cry 5, the bar for re-creating the wilderness is especially high. Unlike the fictional Kyrat or Rook Islands, Montana’s forests, farmlands, and highways will feel familiar to a lot of players – and that means the developers needed to accurately capture every detail, from the wildlife to the logos on roadside shops to the bark on trees, to make Hope County feel like a convincing place.
“We needed to change the way we prepared ourselves,” says Isaac Papismado, graphic assistant on Far Cry 5. “In the past, we used the internet, we used a lot of secondary sources, books, things like that. Whereas now, we really want to go onsite with a team with cameras, and get as much as we can.”
That meant taking a series of trips to Montana, during which the developers trekked into small towns and wilderness locations. They got to know Montana’s ecosystem, wildlife, and people, and took thousands of photos, many of which were used to re-create the landscape in a process called photogrammetry. Using photogrammetry, objects like trees, vegetation, buildings, and even people are photographed from multiple angles and scanned to create lifelike 3D objects. This technique led not only to some of the most detailed environments Far Cry has seen to date, but to a few surprises that made their way into the story.