Far Cry 3 Interview: -A Game For Adults, By Adults- – Ubisoft Gets Controversial
Far Cry 3 looks to tackle mature themes that are deemed controversial in gaming, yet have been commonly accepted in other media for years. That doesn’t make sense to Ubisoft.
Lead design director Mark Thompson believes it’s time for everyone to grow up, and to stop treating mature gamers like children, or the problem will never go away. Join us as we discuss Far Cry 3 controversy, map creation and multiplayer.
Your E3 presentation for Far Cry 3 caused quite a stir – does the game approach themes such as nudity, mental instability and violence in a sophisticated way? Are games ready for that?
Mark Thompson: We have a lot of respect for our subject matter. We approach it with maturity and honesty. Moreover we respect gamers, and we know that they will treat the material with the same respect.
After all we are adults making a game for adults. It’s not about cheap thrills and titillation, it’s about exploring mature themes in ways that other entertainment media have being doing for years.
We aren’t doing anything that hasn’t been seen on post-watershed television, but the reaction has been that we are taking a risk, or being bold, because those areas of life are often left unexplored in games, especially in the FPS genre, where Far Cry 3 will really stand out as a different experience.
Far Cry 3 combines the jungle exploration and open approach of the first two FC games – what features are you bringing to the series that will make FC3 distinctive compared to the others?
MT: Far Cry has always been about freedom and exploration, and the way you are able to explore the living islands while completing missions with your own style of approach is something that we absolutely continue in Far Cry 3.
Where we expand from previous games in the series is in the powerful narrative and the cast of memorable characters. We wanted to take players on a real emotional journey as you learn to survive these islands of insanity as Jason Brody.
As the narrative unfolds, as Jason explores the dark heart of the islands, he’ll be pushed to his limits both physically and psychologically and we take players along the same journey.
How big a portion of the game is dedicated to multiplayer/co-op? How will the co-op campaign differ to single player?
MT: Multiplayer is an important part of the experience and the reason we chose to collaborate with Ubisoft Massive in Sweden, who are exclusively dedicated to Far Cry 3 multiplayer.
They’re working on PvP, Co-Op, the In-Game Map Editor and a number of online social features that allow the community to share assets, tweak their profiles, and communicate on the web as well as in-game.
Co-op takes place in the same part of the world, but the locations are unique. In fact, we created a completely new island for the co-op campaign.
There are six co-op missions that take a different group of characters, throw them into the Vaas’ world, and challenge them to survive in an entirely different way than Jason Brody does in the single player adventure.
There are a lot of shared themes between the two experiences, but everything was built separately and you won’t see the same content recycled from one campaign to the next.
Far Cry 3 will feature a map editor – how creative can players get with the system? Is it more accessible than the Far Cry 2 editor?
MT: The Far Cry map making community is fantastic; they make some great content and we spent a lot of time looking at ways to improve the experience for everyone: great map makers, and for less experienced players who just want to access great new maps.
We improved the tools, the interface, and the usability of the In-Game Editor over the last 3 years. Now it’s easier to get into map making. A key focus for us was also making sure that we were supporting the work done by the community.
We have a whole new tier ranking system to ensure that great maps get promoted and that it’s easier to share and find great maps. I can’t wait to see what the community will create; it is super exciting to see some of the insane ideas that come from a powerful tool and a great map-making community like we have with Far Cry.
How ‘open’ is Far Cry 3 compared to its predecessor?
MT: The development of Far Cry 2 taught us how to create a truly open world, and we had the luxury of building on that experience when we started developing Far Cry 3.
The advantage is that we can look as some of the rough edges, listen to the community, and make sure we focus our energies in the right places.
We knew from the start that openness was something we wanted to embrace so, for three years, we pushed the technology hard, to the point that we could create a truly open world experience with no restrictions on where you can go or what you can see: now the mountains aren’t just backdrop, they’re part of the world.
You can climb them, look around at the entire world, then take off on a glider to explore from above. At the same time the world has to be more than just open, it was important for us that it really felt alive.
The islands are a dangerous place, so of course you will see hostiles. Some areas of the world are controlled by hostile groups. If you explore the open world and capture a key enemy outpost then that area of the world is no longer hostile.
We wanted the player to have a noticeable impact on the world. When an area of the world is liberated like this, you will unlock new stores, quests, activities, and a host of new opportunities in the open world.
What are the standout enhancements in Far Cry 3’s Dunia 2 engine – is it ready for next-gen? Can we expect to see it in future Ubisoft games?
MT: In addition to delivering technology that can provide a true open world experience, the other main enhancement made in Dunia for Far Cry 3 is the overhaul of the lighting pipeline. In Far Cry 3 we are able to create complex interior spaces, which wasn’t previously possible.
This gave us the opportunity to take the player through some incredible environments, so the places you explore and the mission locations will keep surprising you until the end of the game.
We’ll take you into underwater caves, sinking ships, forgotten mountain temples, WWII bunkers, and the list goes on.