A few weeks ago, Game Rant visited Ubisoft Montreal to preview the single-player offerings of Far Cry 3. At the event we had the opportunity to interview some of the creative leads behind the game's development, including Producer Dan Hay.
In our chat, we discuss what Far Cry 3 draws from its predecessors, what genre the game falls under, some of the game's weapon and progression mechanics and the experience of losing one's mind when put in a fight-to-survive situation.
How would you describe the genre Far Cry 3 falls in? At first, I thought open-world shooter, but now I'm learning that's it's an open-world shooter RPG.
"It's tough to describe it. Like, we're absolutely a shooter first. We know that. But yeah, we want a little bit of action-adventure in there, and by a little bit, I mean a lot. It'll be interesting to see how you guys qualify us. We're looking for that moment of discovery, so for me, shooter with action-adventure, a little bit of RPG, sure. We'll take 'em all."
What does Far Cry 3 draw from its predecessors?
"When you get to Far Cry 2 it's a completely different experience. It's a lawless frontier, there are no rules, it's this huge open world, it's got really cool stuff like procedural fire, it's got some really cool weapons, it's a completely different experience. We come to Far Cry 3 and you say okay, there's a ton of stuff you can mine from both of those experiences. One's got a lot of systemic stuff to it that we want to grab, the other's got an emotional feel to it that we want to grab, and then we want to take it in a very, very surprising direction.
And for us, when we start talking about insanity and we start talking about the characters we wanted to see if we can get a "turn" in the player, so we talk about the turn a lot. When you're out in the jungle or you're alone, you're scared, there's a moment when you kind of turn, you go into a defensive mode, right - somebody pushes you too far and you get pissed off, there's a bully at school and they push you too far and you get pissed off - you actually watch people unleash what's inside. That was the emotional thing we wanted and when we first saw it, it was with Vaas."
Creating the character of Vaas, they thought they had the script ready and had Michael Mando reading for the part but they couldn't get it at first. In the motion capture recording area, they told him they had cameras off, that they wanted the guy that if there were no rules, and they crashed, they had a terrible experience, who would that person be? Meanwhile, the cameras were rolling the entire time.
They had Mando read the lines, and simply said no, that's not that it, each time. They kept making him do it over and over, and they made him get tired, then he snapped and they had to calm him down - that's the character they want. And Vaas was born.
Jason Brody, the game's protagonist who must save his friends and survive the island may just be another case study of insanity, an origin tale of sorts.
How does that, Brody's journey and transformation, play into the RPG elements and progression system of Far Cry 3?
"Did you guys notice the tattoo on [Jason's] arm? That story is going to be told in that tattoo. The island takes its pound of flesh. The mark of the island is left on you and the longer that you play the game, the more you live on this island, just like if you or I were to go over there, the more it kind of sticks with you. The question is going to be is if Jason saves his friends, are they going to recognize him by the time he does it? We wanted to play with that."
We saw a hint of that with experience points earned during the demo.
"I can't give you too much but take a hard look at that tattoo. Take a hard look at it because what we wanted to do, we wanted it to feel like there are things that you earn. You go through this experience and it's written on you."
As a shooter first and foremost, what can we expect from the weapons of Far Cry 3?
"We go back to Far Cry 2 with fire, so with Medusa [boat mission] I played as a sniper, and what I like to do is actually light fires and almost heard the AI. Far Cry 2 was great for that... I won't give away too many weapons, but what I can say is in Far Cry we know that we had rough human weapons, it as a black market feel and we took that even further."
Any weapons that jam?
"No [laughs]. No, no, no, we looked at Far Cry 2 and there were definitely some things that... I played the hell out of that game, but there were some things we got good feedback on, right. It's like, guys, are you going to have Malaria? No. And the other thing to is that when you build an open world, we want to make sure for Far Cry 3 that we offer you fast travel. The idea is that you're able to get into the action [snapping fingers]. We have a checkpoint system that makes sure that when you clear an area out, you save that experience and you go back, and that experience is there and the AI hasn't respawned. There were little tweaks that we could do that would take Far Cry 3 to where the players, they don't see those things, they're just in the moment."