The Far Cry franchise is one of the most well-known names when it comes to video games, thanks to its exotic settings and lunatic (yet lovable) villains. The chronology of the main series is pretty straight forward, they're set in the year they were released in. While there isn't a lot of confusion surrounding the timeline of Far Cry 1-6, the stand-alone expansions and spin-offs make the chronology iffy.
Today, we're here to set you free of any doubts you may have about the chronology of all Far Cry games, including spin-offs and stand-alone expansions.
Far Cry Primal (10,000 BC)
Far Cry Primal is, unsurprisingly, the first-ever chronological game in the Far Cry universe. Released rather recently (2016), Far Cry Primal redefined what a Far Cry game could be. Previously, the protagonist was almost always some kind of outlaw badass gunslinger. Primal changed all that, even if it was just for one game.
Set in the stone age, players dawned on the role of Mesolithic hunter fighting to survive against nature. The AKs were replaced by bow and arrows and goons were replaced by sabre tooths and such. Ubisoft even went the extra mile to create a completely new language with a team of experts linguists to complete the aura of the Mesolithic age.
The best part about Primal was the ability to tame animals, so every 12 years old's hidden desire to tame and ride a wolf was finally realised. Not only wolfs, but bears, sabre-tooths, badgers and more were a part of the package.
The announcement of Far Cry Primal was met with a lot of scepticism as one of the core components of the series, the guns, were removed. But today, it's safe to say that Ubisoft nailed down that adventure.
Hours of Darkness (1960s- 70s)
Hours of Darkness is a stand-alone DLC for Far Cry 5 that takes you back to the Viet-Cong. Leaving the politics of the war aside, you'll step into the role of 'Gun for Hire' assisting American troops. While there is a whole load of new weapons, the DLC is focused heavily on stealth. Being an expansion, Hours of Darkness is much smaller than the main series game and the main story lasts less than 2 hours. However, you do get a proper feel of the Vietnam war in those two hours.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (Dystopian 2007)
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is another stand-alone DLC to the main series. The game is set in 2007, but the 2007 of the game is pretty different than the 2007 you and I know. You see, it's the 2007 as imagined by the directors of 1980s action movies. So think about a world made by the people behind The Terminator, Predator, and Rambo, and RoboCop among many others.
In Blood Dragon's timeline, the US and Russia finally crossed the line and, as a result, the world is a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. You'll play as Rex, an American cybernetic super-soldier and do whatever an American cybernetic super-soldier does in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.
Far Cry 2 (2008)
You'd be surprised to know that the first game in the chronological order of the main series Far Cry is not actually the first game, but Far Cry 2. Set and released in 2008, Far Cry 2 took you to the jungles and savannas of Central Africa. 2008 was an exciting time for the video game industry as the PS3/ Xbox 360 generation of consoles had just released and they were so much more powerful than their predecessors. Ubisoft took a risky step and made a game that was nothing like the original Far Cry game in terms of characters, gameplay and setting, yet called it a direct sequel to the original title. The risk paid off and, thanks to that, today all Far Cry games are independent titles.
Far Cry 3 (2012)
Far Cry 3 took us on a tropical vacation, quite literally, in the fictional Rook Island in 2012. But the party time of the vacation was cut short when the protagonist Jason Brody's friends were abducted by pirates. Far Cry 3 was the first series to put the psychopathic, yet lovable, the villain in the spotlight by featuring them on the cover. Vaas Montenegro, the villain, became an iconic part of the Far Cry series and set the pattern of volcanic-focused covers for the upcoming titles. In terms of gameplay, Far Cry 3 solidified the pillars of Far Cry 2, so more exploration, open worlds in an exotic location and hostile wild (and civil) life.
Far Cry 4 (2014)
Fancy a virtual trip to the Himalayas, then step into the war-torn world of Kyrat in Far Cry 4. Set in 2014, the game actually started out as a direct sequel to Far Cry 3 with the same characters, but that idea was soon scrapped. However, the core elements that made Far Cry 3 a success were preserved and improved upon. So the location was more exotic, the villain was more tyrannic yet memorable, the wildlife was hore hostile and the guns were more 'brrr'. Far Cry 4 also marked the first Far Cry game with a multiplayer component, map editor and branched out RPG elements. Far Cry 4 also received two expansions, Escape from Durgesh Prison and Valley of Yetis, but they were not standalone expansions. You still played as Ajay Ghale and they were set almost around the same time as Far Cry 4.
Far Cry 5 (2018)
If you like a good-old rustic and happy American setting, you'd love Far Cry 5, as long as you are willing to compromise on the 'happy' part. Set in the year 2018, Far Cry 5 is set in Hope County, a fictional region of Montana that would make the perfect set for an American high-school Netflix film. Hope County has been overrun by a doomsday cult headed by "the prophetic Father" Joseph Seed and his minions. In Far Cry 5, Ubisoft became so engrossed with villains that they made 3 side villains, all hailing from the 'Seed' line, but forgot to name the main protagonist.
Far Cry 6 (2021)
The next main title of the Far Cry series is headed to the totalitarian Carribien island nation of Yara. This time, Ubisoft stepped up their villain game to the next level and got the legendary Giancarlo Esposito to play the part of El Presidente Antón Castillo. While the setting of Far Cry 6 isn't yet confirmed, it's almost certainly 2021, the release year of the game. What's different about Far Cry 6 can be only said once the game is out later this year.
Far Cry (2025)
Unbeknownst to the common lot, the first Far Cry actually took place in the year 2025 after what's called 'The Collapse' in the Far Cry universe. 'The Collapse' was a global nuclear catastrophe that occurred in September 2018 in the Far Cry universe.
Today, the original Far Cry may have aged like milk but back when it came out in 2004, it was known as the sibling of 'Crisis'. The game was thrashing the PCs of the time and had to be scaled down to release on consoles. The game set the path for the series by introducing stable Far Cry elements like massive jungle/forest environments, a variety of vehicles to drive, and fast-paced run-and-gun action.
Far Cry New Dawn (2035)
Set in the year 2035, Far Cry: New Dawn, is a stand-alone expansion, as well as a 'mini' sequel of Far Cry 5. The game follows the same principles as Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. So you've got the same setting with a post-apocalyptic touch-up where seemingly everything is purple, and a completely new storyline and protagonists.
The Future of Far Cry
The chronological order of Far Cry games mentioned here is accurate until the release of Far Cry 6. However, Far Cry 6's setting makes things a bit complicated. Remember "The Collapse" mentioned in the original Far Cry, the global nuclear catastrophe that happened in 2018, the same year Far Cry 5 was set in? So far, all the main series games have adhered to the timeline of "The Collapse".
Hence, Ubisoft has got two options when it comes to the setting of Far Cry 6:
- Ignore 'The Collapse' and set the game in its release year, 2021.
- Honour 'The Collapse' and set the game in the past
Only time can tell how the chronology of the Far Cry series will play out after the release of Far Cry 6.
Far Cry Series Recommended Play Order
All Far Cry games are stand-alone titles, which means you don't need to play through the whole series to understand the plot of the latest title. The only thing that is shared by all Far Cry games is a common DNA, which is a fancy way of saying gameplay.
All Far Cry games feature survivalist gameplay in a harsh, yet exotic location that is ruled by some sort of tyrant who always happens to be quite a charismatic fellow.
Hence, there is no such thing is the the 'best play order' of Far Cry games, just pick the setting you like and game on! If you'd like to play in the Himalayas, then hop into the shoes of Ajay Ghale. Prefer something a bit more western? Then Far Cry 5's rural American setting is perfect for you! If you're a history and anthropology nerd, then Far Cry Primal will be a treat for you.