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Ubisoft and PETA are probably not besties. In Far Cry 4, Ubisoft is allowing players to do some twisted things to elephants found throughout the Himalayas.
Far Cry 4 creative director Alex Hutchinson told OutsideXbox in the video below that a C4 upgrade lets you stick the explosives on random surfaces. For example, you can stick C4 on the back of an elephant and then sic it on enemies. Once the elephant reaches the hostiles, you can detonate the explosive.
FC4 isn't the first game to feature animal cruelty. Far Cry 3 encouraged you to hunt a range of species, aggressive and peaceful. It was all but required, because you needed their skins to create vital upgrades like ammo pouches. This crafting system actually returns in Far Cry 4.
Because elephants have a long history of being either exploited or killed by humans, the backlash toward killing them might be stronger than it would be toward other animals. To maybe lessen the cruelty toward elephants in the game, Hutchinson said that there are no upgrades related to skinning elephants.
"I don't think actually there's any upgrades with elephants. Everyone got very sad [when they found out you can kill them]. You can skin them and sell them but we didn't want to force people to do it."
Well, that's a weird solution. I'm not sure that letting players kill elephants for money instead of vital equipment is going to be received any better. The actual motive for the killing wasn't the source of dispute. Should be a fun summer for Ubisoft's PR department, though.
Questionable behavior's a natural consequence of any sandbox game. Developers want to give players as much freedom as possible so they feel like they're part of the world. In some cases, this means freedom to do terrible things. Watch Dogs players can empty people's bank accounts while GTA players can run over hundreds of pedestrians. I'm glad that Far Cry 4 gives you the freedom not to do terrible things, too, though.
Elephants won't just be explosive mules thankfully. Players can also ride them through the Himalayas and stampede through enemy camps. The elephant probably won't survive this ordeal but at least this plan sounds a little more cooperative than strapping explosives to its ass.
There are other less disturbing uses for sticky C4, too. Elsewhere in the interview, Hutchinson says that you can strap C4 to vehicles, cut their brakes and roll them down a hill to enemies. When they gather around the driverless vehicle, boom.
Far Cry 4 will launch on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and PC on November 18th.