Just Cause 4

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Just Cause 4
Just Cause 4 cover.jpg
Developer(s)Avalanche Studios
Publisher(s)Square Enix
Director(s)Francesco Antolini[1]
Designer(s)Joe Ishikura
Writer(s)Omar Shakir[2]
Composer(s)Zach Abramson[3]
SeriesJust Cause
Release4 December 2018

Just Cause 4 is a 2018 action-adventure game developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Square Enix's European subsidiary. It is the fourth game in the Just Cause series and the sequel to 2015's Just Cause 3 and was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 4 December 2018. In the game, the player assumes the role of series protagonist Rico Rodríguez who arrives in the fictional nation of Solís to take down The Black Hand, the world's biggest private military. The game uses a new version of Avalanche's Apex game engine. The new technology allows the game to feature diverse and extreme weather effects, including blizzards, sandstorms, tornadoes and more. It received mixed reviews upon release.


In this gameplay screenshot, Rico is driving towards a tornado.

Just Cause 4 is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. The player assumes the role of series protagonist Rico Rodríguez.[4] The game takes place in the fictional nation of Solís, a large open world consisting of different biomes including snowy mountains and deserts. Rico can travel the game's world using his wingsuit and grappling hook, whose functions are expanded to include the ability to attach hot air balloons and rocket boosters on objects.[5] A new wind and particle system was introduced, and it affects Rico's traversal with his wingsuit. The game also features a weather system and environmental hazards such as tornados and thunderstorms.[6]

The game features a large variety of vehicles and firearms, including exotic weapons like the Wind Gun and the Lightning Gun. Each weapon also has an alternate firing mode. Players can call for supply drop any time in the game.[7] During combat, he may be assisted by allies who are controlled by artificial intelligence. The game includes a frontline system in which the rebel forces fight against the Black Hand army at the borders of their territories. Rico can participate in these battles at any time.[8]


Characters and setting[edit]

The game is set in a fictional South American country called Solís, which is home to extreme weather conditions.[4] Rico Rodríguez takes on the Black Hand, the world's most powerful private army run by Gabriela Morales, a newly introduced character.[4] The Black Hand served as a mercenary group to dictators Salvador Mendoza of Just Cause and Sebastiano Di Ravello in Just Cause 3. When Rico is shown evidence that his late father was working with The Black Hand, he plunges into the South American nation of Solís, the homeland of the Black Hand in search of answers.[9]


After the events of Just Cause 3, Rico Rodríguez is approached by Mira Morales, a native of Solís, who says that Rico's father, Miguel Rodríguez, was working on the Illapa Project, a weather weapon that Oscar Espinosa is using to control the people of Solís with.

After a failed attempt at deposing Espinosa and a run-in with his private army, the Black Hand, which is led by Gabriela Morales, Rico forms an army of his own with Mira, named the 'Army of Chaos', aimed at taking down Project Illapa and ending Espinosa's regime. Along the way, he meets up with Luis "Sargento", an eager commander of the Army of Chaos; Izzy, a hacker; Garland King, a filmmaker obsessed with filming stunts in Solís; and Javi Huerta, an archeologist wishing to uncover the history behind Solís and the Espinosa legacy. As Rico sets out to destroy the four prototype weather cores being tested in Solís, he also meets up with Lanza Morales, Mira's uncle and a scientist who worked on Project Illapa; César Pedrone, a former pilot turned conspiracy theorist; and Tom Sheldon, Rico's old handler at the Agency.

Soon, it is revealed that years ago, Miguel, together with Lanza, and Espinosa's father, Leon Espinosa, worked on the project with the aim of controlling the weather for the good of the people. However, Espinosa, convinced that his father was wasting his family's money on the project, took over after his father's sudden death and intended to weaponise Illapa's technology and research to sell to the highest bidder. Miguel, disgusted by the idea, left the project, but Espinosa used his control of Sebastiano Di Ravello in Medici and connections with the Agency to kill Miguel, before proceeding to imprison Lanza to force him to continue working on the project.

After Rico succeeds in destroying the four weather cores, and the Army takes over Espinosa's main base, Espinosa reveals that he has already created a perfected weather core that combines all four of the weather cores' abilities and is intending to sell it to the Agency for trillions of dollars. As Espinosa leaves in a jet and the weather core is poised to strike both the Army and the Black Hand at his main base, Rico, along with Gabriela, who turns against Espinosa after she realizes that he is sacrificing her army for his gain, gains control of the core, and drives it into Espinosa's jet, killing him and ending his regime.

As the Army of Chaos is celebrating their victory, Rico reveals that he and his father were just 'pawns in a larger game', and that everything 'always comes back to the Agency'. With that reasoning, Rico suggests attacking the Agency next, and both Sheldon and Mira agree to join him.

Development and release[edit]

Just Cause 4 was developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Square Enix.[4] The game uses a new version of Avalanche's Apex game engine.[1] The new technology allows the game to feature diverse and extreme weather effects, including blizzards, sandstorms, tornadoes and more.[1] Developers of the game noted that improvements had been made to the game's artificial intelligence over Just Cause 3. These changes were intended to make non-player characters smarter so that they behave more tactically and pose more of a threat to the player.[10] Other improvements to the game engine include physics-based rendering and a new animation system.[2]

The game was announced during Microsoft's press conference at E3 2018, and also appeared later at Square Enix's showcase and the PC Gaming Show.[4][1] On 30 October, the game was announced as having "gone gold", signifying the completion of development on the base game.[11] The game was released for PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One on 4 December 2018.[12]

Square Enix released three pieces of downloadable content (DLC) upon the game's release. Dare Devils of Destruction, released on 30 April 2019, introduced weaponized vehicles and challenge modes.[13] The second DLC, Los Demonios, which sees Rico defending Solís against an invading demonic force, was released on 3 July 2019.[14] The last DLC named Danger Rising, which features new missions against the Agency and adds a hoverboard, was released on 5 September 2019.[15]


According to review aggregator Metacritic, Just Cause 4 received "mixed or average" reviews from critics.[21][22][23] While the open-world gameplay, controls, graphics and soundtrack were praised, its story, mission design, cutscenes and voice acting were criticized.[24] The game was also heavily criticized by users who noted the game's regression in graphics quality relative to past installments in the series, in particular pointing out the greatly simplified water effects and flat-looking vegetation.[25] This led to Square Enix developing a patch in an attempt to alleviate these complaints,[26] with partial success.


The PlayStation 4 version of Just Cause 4 sold 16,100 copies within its first week on sale in Japan, which placed it at number seven on the all-format video game sales chart.[27]

During a financial briefing session, Square Enix explained that Just Cause 4 had sold fewer copies than expected and that the number of copies sold did not cover the development costs.[28] Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda also cited the slow sales of Just Cause 4 as a significant reason for the company's low operating income in 2018.[29]


Year Award Category Result Ref
2019 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards Control Design, 3D Nominated [30]
Game, Franchise Adventure Nominated
2019 G.A.N.G. Awards Best Original Instrumental ("Main Theme") Nominated [31]
2019 Webby Awards Action Game Won [32][33]
Technical Achievement Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d Roberts, Samuel (11 June 2018). "Just Cause 4 shows off its shiny new engine at the PC Gaming Show". PC Gamer. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b McCaffrey, Ryan (10 June 2018). "E3 2018: Just Cause 4 First Look: Physics Like You've Never Seen Before". IGN. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  3. ^ "OUT NOW: Blockbuster Video Game Just Cause 4, Scored By YTCW's Zach Abramson". YouTooCanWoo. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e Donlan, Christian (11 June 2018). "Just Cause 4 announced, and it's due 4th of December this year". Eurogamer. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  5. ^ Smith, Mat (8 November 2018). "The best weapon in 'Just Cause 4' is Mother Nature". Engadget. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  6. ^ Caldwell, Brendan (27 June 2018). "Just Cause 4 wants you to kick up a storm". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  7. ^ Skrebels, Joe (5 November 2018). "9 New Things In Just Cause 4". IGN. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  8. ^ Skrebels, Joe (9 November 2018). "Just Cause 4's Army of Chaos: The Frontline - IGN First". IGN. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  9. ^ Felt, Kris (16 October 2018). "Just Cause 4's latest Story Trailer". Twitter. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  10. ^ Higham, Michael (11 June 2018). "E3 2018: Just Cause 4 Video Shows Off New Features During Square Enix Conference". GameSpot. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  11. ^ Makuch, Eddie (31 October 2018). "Just Cause 4 Goes Gold, System Requirements Revealed". GameSpot. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  12. ^ Plante, Chris (11 June 2018). "Just Cause 4's latest trailer explains its big new features". Polygon. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  13. ^ Vincent, Brittany (16 April 2019). "Just Cause 4 DLC Dare Devils of Destruction out this month". Shacknews. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  14. ^ Takahashi, Dean (21 May 2019). "Just Cause 4 gets Los Demonios DLC and spring update on July 3". VentureBeat. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  15. ^ Brown, Fraser (10 August 2019). "Just Cause 4: Danger Rising gives Rico a hoverboard". PC Gamer. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  16. ^ Marchiafava, Jeff (11 December 2018). "Just Cause 4 Review = An Explosive Sandbox of Possibilites". Game Informer. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  17. ^ Higham, Michael (5 December 2018). "Just Cause 4 Review - Mildly Wild Ride". GameSpot. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  18. ^ Stapleton, Dan (3 December 2018). "Just Cause 4 Review". IGN. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  19. ^ Benson, Julian (3 December 2018). "Just Cause 4 PC review – a sequel that struggles to break new ground". PCGamesN. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  20. ^ Zak, Robert (3 December 2018). "Just Cause 4 review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Just Cause 4 for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Just Cause 4 for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  23. ^ a b "Just Cause 4 for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  24. ^ Marchiafava, Jeff (11 December 2018). "Just Cause 4 Review - An Explosive Sandbox of Possibilities". Game Informer. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Just Cause 4 is Mostly Negative on Steam in just a day, video comparison between Just Cause 3 and 4". N4G.com.
  26. ^ "Just Cause 4: Development Update". Square Enix.
  27. ^ Romano, Sal (12 December 2018). "Media Create Sales: 12/3/18 – 12/9/18". Gematsu. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  28. ^ Papadopoulos, John (19 February 2019). "Just Cause 4 performed below expectations; "we sold fewer units on launch than we had anticipated"". Dsogaming.com. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  29. ^ Kim, Matt (19 February 2018). "Square Enix Profits Declined in 2018 as Just Cause 4 Tanked". Usgamer.net. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Nominee List for 2018". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. 11 February 2019. Archived from the original on 13 February 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  31. ^ Lagumbay, Emmanuel (14 February 2019). "2019 G.A.N.G. Awards Finalists". Game Audio Network Guild. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  32. ^ Liao, Shannon (23 April 2019). "Here are all the winners of the 2019 Webby Awards". The Verge. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  33. ^ "2019 Winners". The Webby Awards. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.

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