One of the most fun elements of Ubisoft’s latest entry in the Far Cry franchise is the companion system, which allows you to recruit nine colourful sidekicks to help you kick butt in the state of Montana.

This group of Specialists, made up of six human Guns for Hire and three animal Fangs for Hire, add a lot of personality to the game and the missions required to add them to your party are some of the best in the game. They also have their own special abilities and will complement different playstyles. Each of your animal pals performs a cute animation when you pet them, too.

This guide will explain who each Specialist is, what they do and how to unlock them. But first an explainer on…

How to use the Specialists

You can start searching for the Specialists after liberating Dutch’s island at the beginning of the game. Once the map unlocks, you can locate your future best friend by scanning for the icon showing their face. This helps you know who you are going to unlock by going to that location.

The map is split into three sections, each controlled by a member of the Seed family (the game’s main villains) – army vet Jacob, fuckboi John and manic pixie nightmare girl Faith. They respectively control a region called the Whitetail Mountains, Holland Valley, and Henbane River.

In each region you can unlock one Fang for Hire and two Guns for Hire – one man and one woman. Once unlocked, your companion can be selected from the pause menu and assigned to the d-pad. Pressing the d-pad will give them an order to move to or attack the thing you’re looking at. Holding it will tell them to follow you. It’s best to do this while using the binoculars as it’s more accurate. 

Your companion will automatically try to revive you if you fall in the heat of battle, unless they also get taken down. If a companion takes too much damage they will slump to the floor and you’ll need to go revive them. If you don’t do this within the time given, they’ll slip away in a huff and will ignore your WhatsApp requests for a lengthy amount of time – up 20 minutes or so, depending on the character, though you can unlock perks for each sidekick to reduce this timeout.

Initially, you can only summon one companion at a time. It’s worth unlocking the Leadership perk, which costs six Perk Points and won’t become available until you’ve recruited three Specialists – this allows you to bring along two buddies instead of one. This is really fun, as each pairing of companions offers unique lines of dialogue, much like the Mass Effect games.

Lastly, experiment with all the companions to see which you like the most and matches your preferred playstyle. As each companion racks up kills, you’ll be rewarded with Perk Points to unlock new skills and abilities.

HOLLAND VALLEY SPECIALISTS

How to recruit Boomer the dog

Who: Boomer is a very good pupper and probably the easiest companion to recruit at the start of the game.

Where: Rae-Rae’s Pumpkin Farm, which is south west of Dutch’s island. It’s the closest location to your position at the beginning of the game.

Recruitment difficulty: Very easy

How: Boomer’s locked in a cage and several Peggies (members of the game’s evil doomsday cult) are patrolling the farm. Take ‘em out and Boomer’s cage should unlock during the battle (that or you’ll need to whack it open with a weapon). Boomer will grieve over his now-deceased owners, but once you comfort him with a quick pet he’ll become your new best friend. So much for animal loyalty…

Weapons: Teeth, claws, being a good doggo.

Abilities: Boomer is able to tag enemies for you without arousing suspicion, which puts a little red icon above their head so you can tell friend from foe. Boomer will also fetch weapons for you during fights. He suits most playstyles, but may be more useful for stealthy players.

How to unlock Grace Armstrong the sniper

Who: Grace is a former US Army Sniper and is the strong, silent type. She prefers to take foes down from a distance.

Where: The Lamb of God Church, near the south west corner of the map.

Recruitment difficulty: Moderate, but quick

How: Grace is protecting a graveyard from Peggies who are trying to destroy three memorials to fallen US soldiers. Take out the first bunch then climb onto the church roof and speak to Grace in the tower. There’ll be a sniper rifle here for you to use, and Grace will ask for your help defending the church. Several waves of Peggies will attack the church from three sides – the road in front and the woods to the left and right. Be careful as the final wave will include a couple of guys with flamethrowers – keep your distance from these firey fiends. She’ll join your party once the last wave is finished. Simple.

Weapons: A sniper rifle (obviously) and an SMG pistol.

Abilities: Grace is a cracking shot. Her rifle has a green laser beam so you can tell who she’s attacking and tell it apart from the red beam of enemy snipers. Her shots will also scare away some enemies.

how to recruit Nick Rye the pilot

Who: Nick’s a crop-duster pilot from a family of military flyboys and is running an aviation company. Nick’s a family man and initially just wants to escape from Hope County with his heavily-pregnant partner Kim.

Where: Rye & Sons Aviation, an aircraft hangar and runway a short drive south east of the Lamb of God Church.

Recruitment difficulty: Not too difficult, but a lot to do

How: Nick’s recruitment mission is one of the longest but is very fun. Arrive at the hangar and help Nick defend it from a bunch of Peggies. They’ve stolen his prize possession – a bright yellow biplane inexplicably armed with a minigun and several bombs. He’ll ask you to go and retrieve it from the Seed Ranch further south. Drive to the ranch and either sneak into the hangar on the west side of the ranch to steal the plane, or liberate it (by killing all the dudes here and destroying the alarms). This’ll net you lots of Resistance Points needed to progress the main story. Once you’re in the air, Rye’ll ask you to fly a set course and blow up some stuff using the plane’s weapons – this serves as the game’s flying tutorial. Along the way, try and destroy the bright red silos owned by the Peggies for extra Resistance Points. Finally, land back at the ranch and talk to Rye. The Peggies will launch a final attack, but this time Rye will be up in the sky raining down hellfire. Climb up to the roof of Rye’s garage for more supplies and a sniper rifle. Watch out for the snipers on the hangars on the opposite side of the runway. 

Weapons: Call in Nick and he’ll provide substantial air support with his plane’s bombs and machine gun.

Abilities: Giving Nick orders to attack and he’ll either drop a bomb on them or perform a strafing run. He’s also great against enemy helicopters and planes.

WHITETAIL MOUNTAINS SPECIALISTS

How to recruit Cheeseburger the bear

Who: He’s a grizzly bear. Called Cheeseburger. He’s also diabetic.

Where: The F.A.N.G. Center (basically Hope County’s local zoo), straight north from Dutch’s island. If you head there first thing from the island, as I did, don’t go by road – you’ll get blown to pieces at a road blockade in the centre of the map. Instead, grab a boat or jet ski and head up the river. 

Recruitment difficulty: Some tough fights but otherwise quick to complete

How: You’ll first have to liberate the zoo from Peggies, who’ve turned it into a cult outpost.This is a very hard fight: there’s two alarms, a lot of cultists, a couple of vicious wolves and an enemy helicopter to deal with. If you manage that, speak to Wade Fowler by the animal enclosure, who released Cheeseburger before the Peggies showed up. Head north to a stream to fish up Cheesburger’s favourite snack – salmon. The game will provide a fishing rod and a tutorial here. Next head east to the Linero Building Supplies. There’ll be a couple of cultists to deal with, then head to the east end of the yard where Cheeseburger is taking a nap. Once you feed him the salmon, a large posse of Peggies will arrive, but you have a 600 pound bear on your side so don’t sweat it. Congratulations, you’ve now recruited the game’s best character!

Weapons: Teeth, claws, being adorable.

Abilities: Cheeseburger will draw aggro from your opponents who will concentrate their fire on him. He is a giant bear after all. This means you’ll be shot less, but will have to revive Cheeseburger more often. Cheeseburger may not suit a stealthy approach, as he is likely to rush at the first enemy he sees – on the other hand, he’s a grizzly bear who swats enemies away like flies and will carry you through many fights.

How to recruit Hurk Drubman the idiot

Who: Fans of the Far Cry series should recognise Hurk from previous games. Hurk likes to rock it all the time and slam brews, bro! Hurk is meant to be the game’s comic relief, but Hurk’s also a dumbass so your mileage may vary…

Where: Fort Drubman, a hop, skip and a jump south from the supplies yard where you finished recruiting Cheeseburger.

Recruitment difficulty: Moderate

How: Fort Drubman is a wood lodge and garage where Hurk lives with his Republican daddy Hurk Drubman Senior. Hurk’s off to the side praying at a shrine to the Cult of Hurk, so speak to his dad instead. Daddy Drubman is running for political office and his feckless son’s lost the campaign truck, so you need to take Hurk and get the truck back. Let Hurk drive you to a nearby lookout tower, where you’ll need to fight several Peggies. Then ride down a set of ziplines and assault a lakeside cabin. These two fights are fairly tough. The campaign truck is parked here and it turns out to be a military personnel carrier with a mounted machine gun! Hurk can take the wheel while you mow down Peggie forces – this section’s a cakewalk. Return to the lodge and Hurk agrees to be your new buddy.

Weapons: Hurk, somehow, owns a rocket launcher. He also has a pistol.

Abilities: Hurk’s missiles will track enemy vehicles and cause more damage to them. Great if you’re going in loud against lots of boats, choppers or trucks.

How to recruit Jess Black the hunter

Who: If Cheeseburger and Hurk are the game’s silliest characters, Jess is the game’s edgiest. If you complete these recruitment missions close together, watch out for the tonal whiplash! Jess is a scarred (both emotionally and literally) archer fighting with the Hope County Whitetail militia. 

Where: Baron Lumber Mill, south west of Fort Drubman.

Recruitment difficulty: Moderate, but grim.

How: Liberate the Lumber Mill outpost from the Peggies, then Jess will arrive and thank you for your help. She’ll ask for your assistance dealing with one of the cult’s lieutenants, a sadist known as The Cook. Follow Jess through the woods, where you’ll come across two camps where Peggies have captured several civilians – the fights here aren’t difficult but be careful not to let any of the hostages die or get shot. During this time she’ll tell you a dark story about how The Cook tortured a bunch of children to earn his nickname. At the third camp you’ll find The Cook setting a man on fire with a flamethrower. There’s lots of Peggies here and this could be a difficult fight if you try and wade into the camp, but there’s a handy mounted machine gun to the right hand side if facing the camp which will make short work of The Cook – flamethrowers aren’t that scary from behind a long-range turret. Once everyone’s dead Jess will gladly join your gang. 

Weapons: A compound bow. Jess also uses flaming arrows which set the target on fire. Great for stealthy attacks.

Abilities: Jess is good at hiding so Peggies are unlikely to spot her, and wild animals are less likely to attack you because of Jess’ feral edgelord reputation.

HENBANE RIVER SPECIALISTS

How to recruit Peaches the cougar

Who: Peaches is a tamed cougar belonging to taxidermist Miss Mable. The residents of Hope County have a strange definition of what the word ‘pet’ constitutes.

Where: Peaches Taxidermy, due east of Dutch’s Island.

Recruitment difficulty: Fairly easy, but fun

How: Arrive at the location and speak to the foul-mouthed Miss Mable, who says her pet cougar is missing and asks you to look for her, suggesting you check a nearby campsite. Pick up a bag of bait from Peaches’ pen, then head west through the woods to a campsite where Peaches is brawling with a handful of cultists. Deal with them, then throw out bait to lead Peaches back to base. She’s pretty responsive and will rush to any bait thrown to the ground. At the base, you’ll find a host of Peggies preparing to attack. They aren’t expecting you, though, so use this to your advantage. You also have a ferocious feline on your side so enjoy the spectacle of her mauling foes. Finally, lead Peaches into her pen with the bait. Miss Mable will rant at Peaches for running off, then say you can have her. Congratulations on your new pet kitty.

Weapons: Teeth, claws, being a purrfect pussy cat.

Abilities: Peaches can silently pounce on foes and stalk hidden through tall grass. She’s great for stealthy play styles and pairs well with Jess.

How to recruit Sharky Boshaw the nutjob

Who: Sharky is a pyrotechnics fan and a quintessential redneck. He even lives at a trailer park.

Where: The Moonflower Trailer Park, due south of the Taxidermy. The place has been turned into an arena to ward off Peggies, but Sharky’s hard to miss – he’s standing on the roof of a trailer east of the entrance, shooting a flamethrower into the sky.

Recruitment difficulty: Moderate and very silly

How: Talk to Sharky and he’ll ask for your help with his game. He likes to set off loud music to attract the 'Angels' whom he then shoots. Angels are Peggie cultists so high on the in-game drug Bliss that they can only be hurt if you hit them in the head. You can spot Angels by the pale green smoke floating around their heads. Anyway, Sharky plays some rock music and you need to defend against a wave of Angels, who favour melee combat. It’s best to stay on top of the trailers and pick them off as they run at you in a straight line. When they climb up ladders they’re also vulnerable to headshots or a quick melee attack. After the first wave, Sharky messes up and the music starts playing again, except louder and with more fireworks. Another wave of Angels come to attack, as well as well-armed Peggies in trucks. You’ll need to rush around the arena, turning off switches at four separate loudspeakers to stop the music and end the attack.

Weapons: Sharky likes to fight up close and personal with a shotgun and a flamethrower.

Abilities: Sharky is resistant to explosives and impacts, and is good at setting people on fire, even with his shotgun, somehow. He pairs well with the destructive Hurk and Cheeseburger, or as a contrast to ranged fighters Grace and Jess.

How to recruit Adelaide Drubman the other pilot

Who: Seems like Peaches isn’t the only cougar in the game – hey-oh! Seriously though, Adelaide is the tough-as-nails mum of Hurk who likes to fly attack helicopters when not making outrageously filthy statements. She’s kind of like a Far Cry version of Samantha from Sex and the City.

Where: Drubman Marina, north of Peaches Taxidermy and next to a big lake. You can buy helicopters and boats here after you liberate it.

Recruitment difficulty: Tough, long and kind of boring

How:  The marina needs to be liberated from the Peggies when you first arrive. Adelaide will thank you for your help once this is done, then ask you to retrieve her stolen helicopter. She also wants revenge on three pilots complicit in the theft, so you’ll need to visit three locations around the region. At the first two, you’ll need to kill all the Peggies and the pilot. The pilots can be identified by the green smokey haze around their heads, just like Angels. Annoyingly, the locations are really far apart, so you’ll need a helicopter or fast vehicle to get between them. At the location furthest south is a tough one, as you’ll first need to climb to a hill and look out nearby for the helicopter. It’s being flown between a garage and another camp. You’ll only have a short window between the pilot landing and getting out of the chopper to kill him before he gets back in and flies off. If he spots you while flying the chopper, it’ll be very hard to kill him, as you need to retrieve the chopper rather than blow it up. Once you control the chopper, you’ll have to make a very long, slow flight back to the marina, which is once again under attack. Try and use the chopper’s machine guns to clear up the bad guys, then set it down safely to complete the mission.

Weapons: Adelaide will fly her helicopter with twin mounted machine guns into most missions. She carries a machine gun when outside of the chopper. 

Abilities: She flies a helicopter. That’s pretty much it. It provides decent air support, although Nick’s plane, with its bombs and minigun, seems to be better. Adelaide is really useful for getting around the map quickly, though – set a waypoint, then summon her and grapple up to her chopper when she arrives. Once inside the vehicle, she’ll quickly fly you to your destination.

Well done! You’ve now successfully recruited all nine Specialists!

Carry on the conversation on the VideoGamer forums!