Far Cry Instincts is an Xbox remake of the original Far Cry PC shooter, but with many changes and enhancements by Ubisoft Montreal, who collaborated with Crytek on this title. The main storyline has not been changed: you are still the charter-boat businessman Jack Carver, who is suddenly attacked while escorting journalist Valerie Cortez to a tropical island. While rescuing Valerie, you get revenge on the soldiers and scientists, and investigate the strange events on the island.
The Xbox version is true to the original, but adds small twists to the plot (already in the opening scenes) and enhances the game with new gameplay elements. Jack has both offensive and defensive attacks. He can use boats, gliders, water scooters, ATV's and even a hovercraft to move around, and the weapons range from a butterfly knife to rocket launchers. While sneaking, you can use backstab, or branch whips and claymore mines as traps.
New gameplay elements for the Xbox version are introduced when you are injected by doctor Richard Crowe. His serum gives you predator-like abilities. By killing enemies, resting, or taking physical damage, an adrenaline meter is filled, which can be used to activate feral abilities that enhance your instincts (hence the title) such as feral speed (extreme movement), feral vision (much like night vision), feral smell (trace enemies by odour) and feral strength to blast through doors.
There are extensive multiplayer options, from split-screen behind a single console to system link with up to 16 consoles connected. Also on Xbox Live, the following modes are available:
Chaos: FFA with a fraglimit.
Team Chaos: TDM with a fraglimit.
Steal the Sample: CTF where the player carrying the stolen sample cannot shoot, but is allowed to toss it to a team mate and then use a weapon.
Predator: Predators versus a group of mercenaries. The mercs need to activate a transmitter triggering a sonic alarm that kills the creatures. The predators on the other hand (no more than two per game) have a complete set of skills including feral abilities, regeneration and unlimited respawns, while the mercs remain dead when killed.
A map editor has been included as well. You can create, edit and save maps, and then share them with friends.
During development, the original developer Crytek entered a strategic relationship with Electronic Arts, a rival publisher and even a potential purchaser of Ubisoft. Even though the relationship was non-exclusive and Instincts was being developed at Ubisoft Montreal, it seems to have influenced the development of the game. The PlayStation 2 version was cancelled, and the Xbox game was delayed from the fourth quarter of 2004 to the second fiscal quarter of 2005 and finally September 2005.
Ubisoft has now "lost" Crytek, but still owns the Far Cry license.