Similar to its predecessors, Far Cry New Dawn is an action-adventure first-person shooter set in an open world environment which the player can explore freely on foot or via various vehicles. The game is set in the fictional Hope County, Montana and uses a reimagined version of Far Cry 5's map. The nuclear war portrayed in Far Cry 5 has reshaped the landscape so that new areas have become available for the player to explore while others are inaccessible.
The player will assume the role of a new character, whose gender and race can be customized. The Guns for Hire and the Fangs for Hire systems from Far Cry 5 return, with the character being able to recruit human survivors and animals for combat assistance. In addition to new characters, the game's cast includes an array of returning characters from Far Cry 5. The player character can also encounter several specialists who have their own personal missions, special abilities and story and help players to repair their weapons. New weapons are introduced in the game, including a "Saw Launcher" that fires the blades of circular saws. Players acquire new weapons and attachments, which can be upgraded to three different levels through crafting and finishing missions. Vehicles can also be crafted.
Players can embark on treasure hunts and liberate different enemy encampments and outposts. Once liberated, they become fast travel points that enable players to quickly navigate the world. These outposts can be occupied and used to manufacture ethanol fuel or raided for resources which leaves the outpost open to "escalation", in which the Highwaymen may reclaim these camps. This allows the player to replay the outposts on higher difficulty settings. The game also features an upgradable home base named Prosperity, which would slowly expand and grow in size as players progress. The game also features a mode called "Expeditions", which allows the player to travel to other locations in the United States such as Louisana to look for more resources and packages. As these regions are outside the main map and smaller in size, the development team was able to create more complex environments for Expeditions. Expedition missions can be completed with other players.