Far Cry 3 Preview: The Discovery & Branding of Insanity

Far Cry 3 Preview

Ubisoft made a big surprise splash at E3 last summer and it wasn't just because of Assassin's Creed: Revelations and its epic cinematic trailer. Attendees of their press conference were blown away by the stunning and shocking Far Cry 3 announcement video that immediately became one of the top five trailers of E3 2011.

Yesterday, a follow-up cinematic trailer for Far Cry 3 broke early and re-introduced fans to the game's new protagonist and one of the game's primary villains, while also revealing the game's September 14th release date. A few weeks ago, we were invited by Ubisoft to their Montreal studio where we had the chance to watch several demos and interview some of the key people behind the game.

Far Cry 3 is not an easy game to describe as it accomplishes several different things in its spanning of multiple video game genres. It's a rich open-world game while at its core, is a shooter. It's an RPG with leveling, crafting and experience mechanics, while also being story and character driven.

Producer Dan Hay prefaced our demo by breaking down the game's three core concepts that form the key focus of the game's development.

  1. At its core Far Cry 3 is a shooter.
  2. Open-world designs that emphasize the ability to take advantage of "360 degrees approach."
  3. The game's reactive AI works for any gamer's play style: "your battle, your fight, your way."

Ubisoft aims to offer a far more engaging, cinematic and gripping story embedded in the open world play style fans loved of Far Cry 2. And it was that E3 demo that engaged us by introducing fans to Vaas (pictured up top), a character we can label simply as insane, "insane" being the key word behind the Far Cry 3's game design.

During the preview event, the themes of insanity and discovery popped up in every interview and demo session, with Dan Hay starting the day explaining that one of the design goals was to deliver "a cast of insane characters." And while we didn't have an opportunity to get hands-on with the game, from what we saw of new scenes featuring Vaas, another new character named Dr. Earnhardt, and from our interviews, Far Cry 3 will be offering an entirely new experience for fans of the franchise, while still remaining true to what what makes a Far Cry game.

Far Cry 3 Screenshot - RPG

Far Cry 3 earned a spot among Game Rant's most anticipated games of 2012 not just because of its impressive E3 unveiling, but because Ubisoft has been very open in regards to feedback, learning from the response of fans and critics to Far Cry 2, improving and altering gameplay mechanics and features that hindered players' experiences the last time around. That means we can say goodbye to things like weapon degradation and jams, and there will be no more malaria and most importantly, no more AI blunders which saw NPCs locating players through obstacles.

What is Far Cry 3 about? It's about surviving the impossible and learning to adapt. Far Cry 3 tells the story of Jason Brody, a twenty-something young man who's done school and is travelling the world when he ends up on on this island with his friends.

"He and his friends are backpacking through southeast Asia, they're having a great time just kind of enjoying life. They think they have pretty good beat on things. They think they understand what is up, what is down, what is fair. And then they come to our island and they're in discovery mode, they're having a really good time and maybe not paying attention to how loud they are or how much attention they're drawing to themselves. And then they get taken. They get victimized. And it's brutal.

And by sheer luck, Jason manages to escape, and then he's alone on the island. He doesn't have friends, he doesn't know what to do..."

Far Cry 3 Screenshot - Medusa Mission

This is the story revealed in the cinematic Far Cry 3 trailer released yesterday and a big part of the game will be the development of Jason as the game goes on, as he transitions and adapts to the situation and environment as the days go by and as he's forced to do crazier and more dangerous things to survive. At the very beginning, Jason is the "babe in the woods" and then he feels more confident that he can do this, that he can survive. Jason (the player) has two major goals:

  1. Find his friends.
  2. "Get the F*** off the island."

Far Cry 3 brings players back to the water-infused exotic vistas of an island reminiscent of the original game of the series, and Hay explains that the location choice stemmed out of what Ubisoft wanted to include in the game, from a visual perspective, and most certainly a story and character standpoint.

"We didn't set out to make Far Cry 3 on an island. It kind of found us. It felt natural. We knew that we wanted it to be beautiful. It had to be stunning, it had to be exotic, it had to invite you to discover. Where the island really works for us is that it's remote. It's cut off. There's no 911, you can't call mom, nobody's coming to help you. You break your leg here, you better like pain because there is no one to set the bone.

The second thing we wanted to make sure we had in how it's gritty, raw and real, is in our cast of characters... You met Vaas, we know he's insane, he's a psychopath, he may be a sociopath, we don't know. But for us it was creating different characters and different brands of insanity. We want different rabbit holes for you to go down as you experience it. It's almost a mosaic of dysfunction as you meet these characters and you travel across this island.

The third and possibly most important part is in our main character Jason. He's a regular guy. He's like you or me, totally normal. He gets on a plane, goes over and thinks he's got a pretty good beat on life. He's not a superhero, he's not a super soldier. He's not trying to save the world, he's just trying to survive the next five minutes."

Surprise is the keyword in describing the adventure and story of Jason Brody in Far Cry 3. The players will always feel surprised as they discover. Everything done for the game is done so long as it feels "Far Cry" and that it fits into the universe.

The original Far Cry made its mark for its visuals while Far Cry 2 offered a different type of game with an open world. Far Cry 3 respects and builds upon what the series has offered fans thus far from an FPS and open-world perspective. There are directed, narrative-driven experiences found in Far Cry 3 but none of it takes away from the open-world gameplay, the 360 degrees approach or the shooter style.

Continue to page 2 for more on the weapons, AI and RPG elements of Far Cry 3!

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