Producer Dan Hay shares with us the design process behind Far Cry 3′s campaign, plot and major characters.
Far Cry 3′s character-driven campaign is something we weren’t expecting when we sat down to review the game earlier this week. The central character Jason Brody has an arc which is not only surprising but also rather fascinating. Recently we sat down with the sequel’s producer Dan Hay to discuss exactly why Ubisoft Montreal decided to construct the campaign the way they did, and here’s how it all went down.
DH: I think what we want to be is credible. We want to make it so that if you or I were having an adventure [like the one in Far Cry 3]. We’d probably go to the island, eat some things we weren’t supposed so, take some things we weren’t supposed to and have a series of experiences we never had before; and the idea is to make it credible. If you pick up a gun and you’ve never fired it before you aren’t going to be great at it right away, and that gun is going to be a rough tool in Far Cry. When you kill something it is a messy experience. Through audio and the realisation of things on screen, the idea is that those instances are serious moments. We try to show a credible experience that is rough.
GZ: The primary driver for the antagonist is saving his friends and some members of his family from the clutches of Vaas and his pirate clan, but really they have ventured into a foreign land without acknowledging the risks, so their fate isn’t perhaps as tragic as it first appears. Do you think that’s right?
DH: Honestly we tried to make the plot function like a play. When you look at Grant, and you’re sat in a cell with him captured.. You’re in a cage, and you’re a bit of a victim obviously because Vaas is there and he’s showing you that you’re not as tough as you think you are. Everyone thinks they’re tough until the first time they get punched in the face, they feel the weight of that, their nose exploding and the taste of blood in their mouth, and they realise life is not always fair. Vass is there to show that, encapsulated in a moment. Imagine Jason’s household, imagine having a brother like Grant – a big tough guy, who’s strong and smart and can pretty much survive anything. Imagine having dinner next to him with your family, maybe that’s Dad’s favourite kid and you’re in his shadow. “We want those little bits of the story flowing underneath events to make them credible, and then you lose Grant. You literally feel the pulse in the feedback to the player ebbing as the blood leaves his body and for kicks Vaas says, “Run, let’s see how this works out.” So yeah I think we focused on making it real and drew on emotions that you or I recognise – a bit of jealousy, obviously loss, love, hate, frustration and fear. But then you’ve gone through something deeper, Jason has gone through the rabbit hole and out the other side of it and has found that that there are things that he’s good at. Yes it’s hard to pick up the bow, pull back the arrow and kill that tiger – before he could never imagine doing it, but then suddenly he can; he has to survive. When you kill an animal, like a pig, you take the meat, throw it into your bag and hear the sound as it slops into inside. You even hear it in the timber of Jason’s voice, “Oh god!” and by the end you’re able to do this and it becomes second nature – you become elegant at it.”
The devil is in the detail as you see the transition in Jason as he does it, finally towards the end of the game you have a full tattoo on his arm and he has learned all these different things from the Rakyat [tribe]. Those friends that you’re talking about, they really function as a mirror reflecting Jason’s transformation. The friends that you’re rescuing, were they really your friends or your social network? Are they friends, are they family? What exactly are they? And so when you go and rescue a couple of them, and you show up and you’re covered in tattoos, they say, “You aren’t little Jason any more.” They look at you and they aren’t sure whether they like it, and you still need to go out there and rescue the rest of them, but then there’s a whole open world to discover and a whole other life. I think it’s an analogue for that moment when you grow up. We really try to make it so that Jason really encapsulates that moment when you leave your house. You know your parents don’t know what they’re doing, you think that you’re special and the whole world owes you something and that the friends that you have at that moment are going to be your friends your entire life, and then you look back and you realise you’ve changed. Who was that sweet kid, what was he thinking?
GZ: There’s a specific moment in the game where rape is insinuated heavily in the dialogue with the protagonist overhearing somewhat of an invitation from one henchmen to another; “We’re going to go have some fun do you want in?” How far are you willing to go with this kind of mature content?
DH: It’s interesting that you got that from that as that isn’t exactly the story that’s being told. We didn’t specifically set out to talk about the details of how somebody is being hurt, but what we try to do is remind people that those experiences are real. Daisy herself manages to escape, she manages to get to the doctor and then she turns to you and says, “Jason whoever did this, deserves to die.” It’s just that moment where you take something that’s serious, the death of a brother, and you take the raw emotion of that. We wanted to play with the idea of asking the player why he or she is doing something. When the time comes for you to go after Vaas, and either seek retribution or save your friends, at what point do you cross the line? When do you realise that the island and the lack of rules, sheriff or 911 has turned you into something that you need to look at. Are you doing it because you need to save your friends, or are you doing it because you like it?
Tags: Far Cry 3
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