Farming Simulator 19 commemorates the series’ 10th anniversary, and Giants Software plans to make it its biggest title yet. An overhauled presentation raises the visuals to impressive heights. The addition of wildlife introduces a new level of life and dynamism. Bigger than all of that, though, is the long-awaited inclusion of the iconic John Deere license.
The world’s most popular farming brand makes its Farming Simulator debut after years of fan demand. John Deere’s popular 8400R tractor graces the cover art and will be one of several machines players can hop behind. Alongside John Deere will be the usual robust suite of agricultural brands, including Case IH, Challenger, Fendt, Valtra, New Holland, and more.
Giants Software also showed off weeders and sprayers. Though they’ve appeared before, they’re now used to deal with new, troublesome weeds. These pesky plants grow in between crops and reduce their yield. The weeder can eradicate of these weeds while leaving crops intact. Unfortunately, weeders can only deal with weeds at a certain height; if it grows too high, it won’t be of use. That’s where sprayers come in.
Sprayers kill weeds too tall for the weeder to eat up. To use it, players must refuel by purchasing herbicides. However, the dual-purpose machine can also be filled with fertilizer to quickly cultivate a field. Between the weeder and sprayer, the players have a choice between using chemicals or manual labor to remedy weed issues.
Forestry, a fan favorite activity, has been made easier thanks to improvements to the crane used for tree cutting. When players move the crane forward, the head always stays at the same height–no need to constantly re-adjust it like in past titles. Giants Software plans to add more forestry equipment and the trees themselves have been remodeled to look better than ever.
On the subject of things looking nicer, the aptly named Giants engine allows for new levels of realism. Effects such as HDR rendering, global illumination, depth-of-field, and 3D shadows make the scenic farms look more gorgeous than they ever have before. Grass casts shadows, and the formerly flat bushes have been upgraded to thick ones. The sky box, once a static flat image, now contains 3D objects like the a sun and moon that move across it. Furthermore, improved clouds grow darker to signify impending storms.
Thanks to the realistic temperature changes, heat will rise on sunny, cloud-free days. Conversely, more overcast weather results in a temperature drop. Weather can even produce fog. Smaller touches, such as the farmer inside the vehicles having a pedal-pressing animation and more realistic machine movements, lend to the increased authenticity.
The equipment customization introduced in the previous Farming Simulator also sport improvements. The old 2D preview image, which limited how much players could observe customization changes before finalizing a purchase, has been replaced by a fully viewable 3D version. Now, players can see exactly what they’re getting before they commit to a change. Customizations options include front-loaders, engine setups, and color changes (except for John Deere equipment). More tire setups will also be included and affect gameplay. For example, wide tires have more friction and narrow tires destroy less crops as players drive through them.
Farming Simulator is all about the crops and 19 introduces cotton and oat. A cotton harvester comes with the former. Oat plays a vital role as not only a crop but also as food for horses, which segues into the other big addition: wildlife.
At the request of fans, Farming Simulator 19 includes animals for the first time. The aforementioned horses can ridden around the farm. Players can own a dog, though his use was not finalized at the time of the presentation. Non-domesticated creatures function as a randomized gameplay mechanic. Sometimes when players plant seeds, birds will swoop down to pick those seeds out of the ground to eat. Beyond birds, Giants Software plans to include other species though they didn’t confirm any specifically.
Player-created mods have become a popular aspect of the series. One award-winning mod, called Seasons, added all four seasons to one of the previous entries. Farming Simulator 19 continues to support these creators thanks to its compatibility with the developer’s mod website. Mods will also be available on console versions, albeit with some differences due to hardware and licensing limitations.
For the first time, Farming Simulator 19 will ship with two brand new maps (it’s usually one new and one returning map); a European and an American area. The U.S. map offers a wide open space, addressing prior complaints that they were unrealistically similar to the smaller U.K. maps. Additionally, a bonus third map, the South American area featured in Farming Simulator 17’s Platinum Expansion, will be a free download on launch day.
Giants Software aims to improve the sandbox feeling of the game. They plan on giving players more options to freely mess around and plow their fields as they see fit. On top of that, they want to improve the looks of placeables objects like solar panels, wind turbines, garages. Farming Simulator 19 once again supports multiplayer; 16 players on PC/Mac and 6 on consoles.
With a decade of experience under its belt, Farming Simulator appears on track to be the biggest and most complete package yet. Budding and veteran farmers alike can pick up the game when it releases for PC, Mac, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on November 20.
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