Far Cry Primal

Client Ubisoft Montéal
Type Entertainment
Date November 2013 - November 2014

The creative process was a huge success and Ubisoft has shown an interest in collaborating again soon.

The Project

In early 2015, Ubisoft Montréal approached us about creating the sound for another installment in their popular series, Far Cry. This time being set in prehistoric times with neanderthals, vicious wild animals, and the ultimate goal of survival and evolution.

In the game, there are three distinct tribes which were to have their own unique music and sound based on their evolution and technological/cultural advancements. The problem was that we needed to create authentic sounding music for a time when music had not yet been invented. An incredibly interesting and challenging brief from Ubisoft. We jumped right into it.

Our Angle

Because of this challenge, we experimented extensively in order to craft the right sound that felt raw and primal. We were restricted to raw materials due to the lack of technological advancement and discovery. Which meant no metal instruments (as iron had not yet been developed) as well as no known musical patterns. We were starting completely from scratch. Wood, rocks, bones, and clay were our sole tools.

With the dynamic of the three tribes, Ubisoft wanted them to each have their own unique horn sound which would aid the player’s ability to recognize them. Using wood as our main influence, we built several instruments and tested hundreds of objects from our collection to land on the perfect sound for each tribe.

The Neanderthal Tribe: The music needed to feel brutish, and couldn’t be sophisticated in any way. It was all about raw force. Hard, heavy, and powerful sound.

The Wenja Tribe: An increase in sophistication called for more delicate, detailed, and textured instrumentation.

The Easila Tribe: Being the most evolved tribe in the period, we added more voice, guttural sounds, and animal calls. Drawing a lot of inspiration from amazonian tribes.

The Nuts and Bolts

We tested dozens of horns, pvc pipes, seashells and tibetan prayer horns in search for the exact rallying calls for each tribe. One of the instruments we built for this project was essentially a massive log drum. It needed to sound big, deep, and dark. And in order to get the sound we were looking for, we developed a technique to play this instrument while hanging from the ceiling. It still took us weeks to get that exactly how we wanted it.

After lots of iterations, each rallying call was a combination of 3-5 horns blended in such a way that it became a unique and rich sound for the respective tribes.

There was lots of back and forth between us and Ubisoft throughout the duration of this process. Our original work was far too musical and Ubisoft pushed us to truly embrace the primal nature of this project. To try and create music that was not musical at all.

After this feedback, we continued to iterate with consistent feedback from Ubisoft. After many months of work, we had come to a final result that truly immersed the player in the primal experience.

For a game of this calibre, Ubisoft and it’s many fans expected the best, so we needed to deliver. Therefore, we were also tasked with handling post production at the end of the creation process to ensure that everything blended cohesively, and was top-notch production quality.

The Result

The game was released in February, 2016 to critical acclaim on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It sold 2.6 million copies around the world across all platforms.

The creative process was a huge success and Ubisoft has shown an interest in collaborating again soon.