A conversation with Far Cry 3: Here’s why nobody wants to engage with your story

Far Cry 3

By on January 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm

After Far Cry 3 was launched, the game’s lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem was disappointed that nobody seemed to be engaging with the story. Yohalem made further claims in interviews such as this excellent one with Rock, Paper, Shotgun that “to explain this story you need more than a soundbite, and I feel like a lot of people just glancingly looked at the thing and then got upset. They didn’t actually explore the whole game.”

So why might a player not be convinced to explore the whole game? Why might they stop at the surface and just write it off rather than going deeper? Maybe this is why…

***

The PLAYER is browsing an online store. FAR CRY 3 is relaxing on a shelf nearby, and beckons you over with its SHINY COVER ART.

The PLAYER examines the SHINY COVER ART. It promises an ENGAGING STORY of Jason Brody’s DESCENT INTO MADNESS.

FC3: Checking out my story, eh?

PLAYER: Yeah! It seems pretty engaging.

FC3: Man, it totally is. It’s so deep, you don’t even know.

PLAYER: Sounds great!

The PLAYER downloads FAR CRY 3 and installs it.

PLAYER: Alright! Let’s do this.

FC3: Do what?

PLAYER: Let’s… let’s play the game.

FC3: What game?

PLAYER: You. Far Cry 3.

FC3: I don’t understand. There’s no game here. Did you uninstall something recently?

PLAYER: Uninstall? I just downloaded you.

FC3: Let me check with uPlay.

PLAYER: What?

FC3: Okay! Got it. Now, just let me ask Ubisoft if we’re cool.

PLAYER: ….

FC3: Okay! Let’s do this. LOVE SEX TRIBE GUNS KILL DEATH LOVE GUNS GUNS GUNS

PLAYER: Right.

FC3: You suck.

PLAYER: What?

FC3: Jason Brody, I mean. The guy you’re playing. He’s a dick.

PLAYER: Man, for reals. He’s really unlikeable. I don’t think I give a crap about anything he has to say.

FC3: Here’s some of your friends. Take a close look: they’re all completely boring and uninteresting in every way.

PLAYER: Got it.

FC3: Okay – now they’re dead. Probably. Or whatever.

PLAYER: When do I get to play?

FC3: You’re playing right now. Check this out: I want you to press some buttons so your brother doesn’t die.

PLAYER: Alright, I’m doing it. What now?

FC3: Now he’s dead anyway! Ha ha ha, how cinematic was that? How do you feel?

PLAYER: Uhh… a little bit ripped off.

FC3: RUN LIKE HELL RUN LIKE HELL RUN LIKE HELL RUN LIKE HELL

PLAYER: Crap crap crap crap crap crap. Did I make it?

FC3: You sure did! Here’s seventeen minutes of cutscenes.

PLAYER: Cool, great. I can play now?

FC3: Yeah! Get out there! Some of the islanders are telling you that you’re a mystic warrior and want to give you sweet tats.

PLAYER: That seems legit. I guess I’ll help them out.

FC3: Nice! You clear the outpost without any difficulty like a seasoned fighter, even though you were terrified of murder only five minutes ago. How do you feel?

PLAYER: I want to drive a car through the jungle and run over a tiger and then shoot a bear.

FC3: You do that. You do all of that. It’s amazing.

PLAYER: Haha, damn. This is the best. I’m–

FC3: HEY YOUR FRIENDS NEED YOUR HELP

PLAYER: Can it wait?

FC3: YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR

PLAYER: No! NO. I’m having fun.

FC3: I’ll unlock the skill trees for you.

PLAYER: Fine! Okay! Whatever. Let’s get this out of the way.

FC3: Alright, for this mission I want you to listen to some dipstick NPC ramble for five minutes and then do whatever he says even though it doesn’t make any sense.

PLAYER: I shoot the NPC.

FC3: Nothing happens.

PLAYER: I run into him with my car.

FC3: Sorry, did you want the Double Takedown skill or not?

PLAYER: I hate you.

FC3: Okay, now drive halfway across the island to some random ancient place that you’re the first one to explore in 500 years.

PLAYER: Really? Because the pirates are here already.

FC3: Oh, haha! Wow, that’s so weird. Guess you’ll have to shoot and/or stab them!

PLAYER: Uh-huh. Okay, well, they’re all dead.

FC3: Vaas appears in a scripted cut-scene and knocks you out. I should tell you now that this will happen at the end of approximately every third mission. Edgy!

PLAYER: Well, as long as that means more Vaas! He’s probably the only interesting character.

FC3: lol no he disappears halfway through the game

PLAYER: Right. Of course.

FC3: But you escaped! Boy, wasn’t that cinematic as hell? My heart is racing.

PLAYER: I’m going to go punch a shark.

FC3: WOAH hey wait a second I think your internet connection just dropped.

PLAYER: Did you save after the mission?

FC3: I think so.

PLAYER: You think so?

FC3: Ubisoft will know. I’ll call them.

PLAYER: How are you–

FC3: Did you know your internet connection is down?

PLAYER: Yes.

FC3: Okay! It’s back. Did you still want to go punch a shark?

PLAYER: Yes! Goddamn.

FC3: Sure thing! In case you forget that your friends need your help, I’ll put a constant reminder in the corner of your screen that you can’t get rid of.

PLAYER: Whatever. I’m going to go drive a jetski into a pirate camp, explode a bear, stab a pirate and then use his grenade to kill his friends. I’m feeling pretty good about this.

FC3: Ha ha, good for you! That’s great.

PLAYER: Yeah, it was actually! It was good fun–

FC3: OH BOY now your phone is ringing! It’s your friends. They’re still (mostly) super-captured and still (definitely) super-boring. Let’s go save them!

PLAYER: I… I have literally no incentive to care about that. Did anybody even playtest this?

FC3: Look dude, it’s not my fault if you’re not willing to engage with the story.

PLAYER: That’s cool. You’re a cool guy. I’m going to patch the game now so that you can’t talk to me anymore.

FC3: YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR FRIENDS YOUR

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32 comments (Leave your own)

Haha, love your work :D

 

Bahahahaha! Love it. LOVE it.

God I hated those friends of his. They each embodied the sort of people I freakin’ hated when I was in school. The rich, snobby jock kids who went through life without trying because they never needed to, and were popular despite having the personality of a mannequin. Why they were put into a game at all, I’ll never know.

 

And for this reason I stopped playing FC3 and started playing Borderlands 2

 

Awesome

 

rickboy,

You’re doing yourself a disservice there.

This article isn’t trying to say the game is bad, its making a show of the how the game treats the user in regards to the story and why nobody ended up giving a fuck about the story.

Still a great game to play through, definitely better than FC2 anyway.

 
Relaxed_Possum

After that first radio tower I couldn’t cope with the Waypoint indicator/GUI/Notifications/Encyclopedia so edited the ini file or whatever it was to suppress it all. I’ve managed to get up to the second island playing like this. I have to say, QTEs are far more exciting when you’re not sure its a QTE or just a scripted event and so you just randomly mash all the buttons on your keyboard when you think it ‘might’ be one :)

 

This is one of those games which I have no idea why I enjoy playing it.
For starters I am up to the second island and I still haven’t found anything in the game really that difficult (playing on Hardened).
I wish Jason didnt mutter things to himself – Should take a leaf out of Freemans book.
And personally I wouldn’t socialise with his friends, they are idiots.

At least the Rakyat being voiced by a Kiwi has it close to home.

 

Making the cast of a videogame unlikeable rich jerks really doesn’t play to a majority of the target audience. Like Nemesis said, these are the kind of people that the stereotyped “gamer” hates. Not even the extreme stereotypes, either. Just people who are reasonably smart/good at maths/both and enjoy playing games.

Who am I kidding? They’re the kind of people everyone hates. They’re part of the reason I haven’t bought the game yet.

 

Er, that’s not what Nemesis said. The second half of that sentence changed, but I forgot to go back to the rest. Nemesis said he didn’t like them. I’m saying that thing about the stereotype.

 

You’d better make it game of the month then…..

 

After 10 minutes of Far Cry 2 haven’t even cared to torrent this crap game.

 

I had the same reaction to his friends at first (the stoner especially), recoiling at how privileged and shallow they were, but I found by the end of the game that I actually cared about them and was relieved when they survived. Whether they were aiming for that intentionally or not, I was impressed.

Many valid points in this piece though. Seriously, a giant opaque mission reminder there constantly?

 

Hahahaha

 

Well that was amusing. XD

 

:)…

 

Personally I think all his mates should have snuffed it. They had no personality or drive to care about. His girlfriend was a controlling bitch and the rest were just idiots. Better off dead than poisoning the gene pool…

Vaas was interesting if mad. Brody is a sullen pillock. The entire story is just well total bollocks TBH. Nothing really very deep about it (not mentioning why incase of spoilers).

Pity the Far Cry franchise went to Dunia really, the 2 best things about the game are marred by the two worst. Firstly the Single player campaign is ruined by it’s own story. The Second is that it has probably the best setup FPS Multiplayer of an shooter in the last 5 years and they ruined that with Peer 2 Peer connections hosted by peoples crappy Dell’s and the inability to get a ping below 400 outside of Canada.

So all in all another game screwed by Ubisoft…

 

Very very entertaining piece that lol. I managed to ignore all the reminders of the story missions most of time but the Encyclopedia bugged me.

Indeed the characters were very uninteresting, in which I would of preferred an ethical situation where we can choose to either save or sacrifice them one by one in various scenarios. By saving them, you more effectively maintain your sanity (affecting the ending), sacrificing them would do the opposite but with some nice incentives! But not like some money… half way in the game I made more than enough to buy everything I wanted.

 

Money in games annoy me as 99% of the time it’s a worthless currency and has no need or purpose. eg: Only worth of money in Borderlands 2 imo is for getting those badass points, the game itself cares so little about money that it makes you lose practically all of it when you die. I once lost $1.8 million within 5 minutes.

 
James Pinnell

Far Cry 3 very well could have been my game of the year. I have not had so much fun in a sandbox since… well… ever. The weapons and takedowns were immensely satisfying to execute, and the system of increasingly difficult outposts and radio towers were addictive to find and overcome. It was the first shooter I felt compelled to explore, especially since most of the dodgy mechanics I hated in FC2 were gone.

The problem, of course, was the atrocious campaign and its complete disconnect from the sandbox. Instead of structuring missions that take into account your own growth and abilities, it boxed you into the same tropes around linear mission corridors, enemy waves and the same old “standoff” bullshit. Turrets again? Really? How many times do we have to do this before it disappears forever?

Finally, a shooter that understood the balance between stealth and assault, and it’s all ruined by lazy writing, design and a stupid amount of needless QTE/Cutscene time stealing. I won’t even start to talk about how poor the story was paced or written, how one dimensional everyone is nor how apparently everyone on the island besides Brody is useless at everything.

 

Have to admit I still haven’t given this a crack because I found FC2 to be one of the most mediocre games I’d ever played. 50m insta-respawn is for 90′s games where limited resources was the excuse (please tell me that’s not in 3).

When I finally get around to picking it up, I’ll definitely be taking everyone’s advice from this thread and disabling everything story-related that I can. It sounds horrible.

 
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