The Far Cry series can be really hard to follow at times. There isn’t a single, overarching story that every game fits into, and the individual stories aren’t fully linear. You generally have to connect the dots between the games using the few points they have in common. One of the easiest way to do this is by playing the series in order of the timeline, rather than their release date. To help you out, we’ve listed the Far Cry games in order of their setting!
Also, if you’re interested in which Far Cry games are the best, take a look at our article on that topic here!
Does Far Cry Have a Connected Storyline?
So, this question is a bit complicated. The Far Cry series is not known for having a connected storyline across games, but there are some story aspects that carry over. For example, “The Collapse” storyline that centers around nuclear war and fallout is mentioned in several games, even though it is largely ignored in others. The series timeline on the Far Cry wiki lists many canonical events that link the games, but also acknowledges the tons of non-canon or alternative universe content. Therefore, it’s a hard series to plot out.
At its core, Far Cry is about being stranded somewhere unfamiliar, surrounded by dangerous enemies — both humans and animal. Everything else is where it gets confusing.
Far Cry Timeline in Order
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the Far Cry series in the order they appear in the timeline!
Far Cry: Primal
- Setting: 10,000 BCE
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
- Release Year: 2016
Primal is a strange but welcome entry in the series. Set in 10,000 BCE, it feels drastically different to the other games. In terms of story, Primal is pretty much irrelevant to the series’ timeline. It’s a really cool game that’s certainly worth playing, but you can skip it if you only care about the storyline. It could be argued that Primal is connected to the rest of the series, but since it takes place so long ago, it’s hardly important. Even if that is the intention, nothing that occurs in this game has an impact on any others. It’s a cool game, but not an essential one for the series as a whole.
- Setting: Unknown
- Platforms: PC
- Release Year: 2004
The original Far Cry game is far from perfect, but it can be fun to see where the series started. We don’t know exactly when FC1 is set, but based on information the community has dug up, it seems like it probably occurs sometime around the early 2000s, which also lines up with its release year. However, others claim it was set in the year 2025 — some time after a nuclear war in the late 2010s. Really, it seems like there simply is not a set year for this to take place in. The team behind the Far Cry series changed from Crytek (the company that also made Crysis) to Ubisoft Montreal before FC2, so its’s likely they simply didn’t bother to establish a timeline. We do know, however, that it is set sometime after Primal (obviously).
Far Cry: Instincts Evolution
- Setting: Between 2004-2006
- Platforms: Xbox (original)
- Release Year: 2006
There really isn’t much reason to play Far Cry: Instincts Evolution these days, but since it does offer a unique story, we felt it was right to include it. It follows the same protagonist from FC1, and it functions as a brief sequel to the port of FC1 for the original Xbox. There are a few other Far Cry games released between 1 and 2, most of which were ports. Evolution is the only one with a fully unique story.
If you’re interested, the other games mentioned are as follows: Far Cry: Instincts, Far Cry: Instincts Predator, and Far Cry: Vengeance. Instincts was a port of FC1 to the original Xbox, Predator was another port of that game to Xbox 360, and Vengeance was a Wii port of Instincts: Evolution.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
- Setting: 2007 (alternate universe)
- Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3 (original); PC, Xbox One, PS5, Stadia (remastered/”classic edition”)
- Release Year: 2013
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is another spinoff entry in the series. It’s set in an alternate 2007, in which nuclear war has ravaged the world. Nuclear war and its fallout has been referenced in several versions of the FC timeline, but this entry doesn’t necessarily take place in any specific line of continuity. This game is really weird and fun, so we do recommend it heavily, but you can mostly ignore it when regarding the full series.
Far Cry 2
- Setting: 2008
- Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
- Release Year: 2008
Far Cry 2 starts the trend of main-line, numbered entries taking place in the same year the game released. So, FC2 takes place in 2008. The events of FC2 are relevant to the main story presented by the series, and it also introduces players to FC gameplay elements that remain even today. In an interview in 2021, one of the FC2 developers stated that the game’s villain is based on the protagonist of the first game, but this idea doesn’t seem to be fully developed. It might have been intended, but since it’s not confirmed in the game itself, it doesn’t really prove much. It does provide a great “what-if” scenario for if that had been expanded upon.
Even though FC2 is canon in the timeline, it can feel a bit outdated at times. It came out fifteen years ago, so that’s to be expected. However, it’s not an unplayable game by any means. If you enjoy the FC series and want a glimpse of how it got its footing, this is the game to play.
Far Cry 3
- Setting: 2012
- Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4
- Release Year: 2012
Far Cry 3 was a massive success for many reasons, but most notably its story and characters. The trailers alone were enough for many players (including myself eleven years ago) to rush to GameStop and preorder it. If for no other reason, players were entranced by the characters showcased in that year’s E3 trailer and the insane world surrounding them. This is the game that is responsible for the series’ continued success today, as it was the first to have real mainstream appeal.
As with most FC games, its connections to the rest of the franchise are blurry. The protagonist, Jason Brody, is referenced in other games, but that’s about as far as it goes. We know this takes place in the same universe, but very little of what happens here is expected to have lasting effects on the world. This is a game that did everything it needed to do, and you cannot play through the FC series without playing FC3.
Far Cry 4
- Setting: 2014
- Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4
- Release Year: 2014
Far Cry 4 takes place in 2014 and does not follow the story of Far Cry 3 directly, but it is strikingly similar to it. Where FC2 and FC3 both greatly improved the core mechanics of the series, this one focuses less on innovation and more on updating/improving minor aspects of the game. That being said, FC4 did a great job of making yet another game that felt better mechanically than the ones that came before it.
Once again, actually linking this game to the plot outside of brief references is really difficult. The story of this game is similar to the others in that it centers around a protagonist that finds himself stranded in a hostile environment. This time, the setting is the the fictional country Kryat, which is based on the real-life country Nepal (according to the wiki). You spend a lot of time liberating outposts and helping the local rebels, which should be expected throughout this entire series. Overall, it’s an important entry with some of the more memorable characters the series has to offer.
Far Cry 5
- Setting: 2018
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
- Release Year: 2018
By the time Far Cry 5 was released, players were really hoping for something fresh to make the series more exciting again. Whether or not we got that is up for debate, but the story here is much more “connected” than it usually is. We can’t say too much without explicitly spoiling one of the game’s endings, but it’s relevant to several other games in the series. This is also one of the only instances in the series of one game leading directly into another (New Dawn), which is great to see.
Due to its major story implications within some plotlines, Far Cry 5 is essential to the series. Time will tell if Ubisoft comes back to the great plot and themes of this game again, but we can hope.
Far Cry 6
- Setting: 2021
- Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Stadia
- Release Year: 2021
This game is set in its release year of 2021, and the game’s narrative director actually did confirm that it would not be in the same world as Far Cry 5. The narrative director, Navid Khavari, stated in a Reddit AMA that “[w]e tried to approach this with the idea that each Far Cry has its own stories and world… we wanted to focus on the story of Yara and its revolution, set in the present day…” And while we don’t want to take one person’s statement and apply it to the entire series, we can confidently say that Far Cry 6 is not tied to the events of FC5 or any other game.
Therefore, you could technically skip this game if you wanted. But, by that logic, you could also skip a bunch of the recent games. Far Cry 6 is just as relevant as most games in this series, so it’s worth playing.
Far Cry: New Dawn
- Setting: 2035
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
- Release Year: 2019
New Dawn is the newest spinoff entry , but it’s much more plot-relevant than either Blood Dragon or Primal before it. This entry is a direct sequel to one of the endings to Far Cry 5, and is treated as a sequel to that game. If you enjoyed FC5, New Dawn is a must-play. It follows the story of the survivors of the events of FC5, showing Hope County as it is in the future. It’s basically what you expect from a Far Cry game, but the fact that it’s a direct sequel makes it stand out more.
While Far Cry 6 is technically set between Far Cry 5 and New Dawn, we recommend playing New Dawn right after FC5. Since New Dawn is a sequel to FC5 that FC6 ignores completely, it doesn’t make much sense to wait before playing it.
What Order Should I Play the Far Cry Series in?
There are a few ways to play through the Far Cry series, and they’re all roughly equal. You could play the series in chronological order, as we’ve listed above, or in release order (the easiest way). Here’s a quick rundown of what that looks like.
Far Cry Series in Release Order
- Far Cry (2004)
- Far Cry: Instincts Evolution (2006)
- This was a sequel to Instincts (an FC1 console port). It offers some new story content with the same protagonist as FC1, but isn’t anything special. You can easily skip it.
- Far Cry 2 (2008)
- Far Cry 3 (2012)
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (2013)
- This was a standalone expansion to FC3, but isn’t directly connected to it.
- Far Cry 4 (2014)
- Far Cry: Primal (2016)
- Far Cry 5 (2018)
- Far Cry: New Dawn (2019)
- This was an expansion to FC5, but unlike Blood Dragon it is actually connected to its predecessor’s story.
- Far Cry 6 (2021)
Join the High Ground!
Thanks for reading our breakdown on the Far Cry games in order. There’s really no way to figure it all out for sure, but hopefully we’ve helped put it into perspective! Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more content like this.