Far Cry 4 will allow players to invite friends to play alongside them in the game for free. Creative director Alex Hutchinson explained at San Diego Comic Con how these free multiplayer codes will work and why Ubisoft included them in the game.
"The inspiration came from the Super Nintendo days, and the way you tried out games then was to go to a buddy's house and sit on his couch and play," Hutchinson said at an SDCC panel (via Polygon). "How long you got to play depended on how long his mom let you sit there and keep playing, and when she said go home, that was it."
Far Cry 4 owners will have 10 codes to distribute to friends. These friends will then be allowed to download a chunk of the game.
These guests will be able to play as Hurk, the crazy guy who strapped explosives to monkeys in Far Cry 3. Hurk will fly to the main player's location using a Gyrocopter, which you may have glimpsed during the E3 demo. The second player will be able to come and explore the open-world of Far Cry 4 with you. However, he can't participate in campaign missions.
"Basically, the guy who comes in to help you is a friend who has agreed to just blow shit up," said Hutchinson. "Who in our universe is the guy who would put his life at risk to blow shit up? It's Hurk."
Hurk, by the way, is also the star of the game's pre-order DLC. The Hurk's Redemption pack provides you with three new missions. You'll also get access to a Harpoon gun with the colorful name "Impaler."
The guest player can stay in the game as long as his host is playing. Once the owner of the game leaves, though, the guest will get kicked out. I'm sure they'll be presented with some sort of "Buy the game to keep playing!" ad before that, though.
It's interesting that Ubisoft would opt for these friend codes rather than just releasing a single-player demo. I suppose the advantage to this approach, though, is that it introduces Far Cry 4 in the best context: co-op with a buddy. Ubisoft thought highly enough of open-world co-op to make it one of FC4's top new features, and this trial puts it front and center. Technically there's nothing stopping them from releasing a standalone demo somewhere down the line, too.
Far Cry 4 will launch with pink suits and exploding elephants this November on PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.