An Interview With Far Cry 3 Writer Jeffrey Yohalem

 

In a previous interview, you said that after playing FC3, “the player will then have an opportunity to examine what their actions in the game mean to them.” What kind of conclusions do you expect players to draw? What potential meanings could their actions have?

The player is the hero of the game, so how it turns out is up to him/her, and it’s really going to be a gut feeling. The game is about the emotions that the carefully selected gameplay loops included on the island cause the player to feel, and what they make the player want to become. The story is a game itself and an allegory. It’s up players to discover what it means to them and to solve it.

FC3 has been cast as the “definitive shooter,” or perhaps, a “shooter about shooters.” How did this affect the team’s approach to the actual mechanics of gun-based gameplay? It seems important that mechanics from Far Cry 2 – like gun jamming, which provided a patina of realism – have been abandoned. The contrast between the way firearms work in video games and the way they work in real life has always informed the medium’s depiction of violence, and its ability to tell stories about violence. How did you account for this contrast when thinking about the way Jason Brody would interact with guns?

This is a game about enticing gameplay loops, not real combat. We put fun at the top of the list. You know, A History of Violence isn’t referring to real violence, but the audience’s relationship to onscreen violence. Far Cry is about games and our relationship to what we do in them. How they make us feel.

Despite the emphasis on shooting and guns, most of the FC 3 trailers available on YouTube are littered with violence involving knives. Does killing people with knives present a different set of issues and psychological repercussions for Jason and the player to grapple with, one that is distinct from killing with guns?

It’s up to players to experience it and see. Everything in the game is there intentionally, and it’s all part of the story.

How would you define the word “compelling,” as it relates to video games?

The great acting teacher, Stella Adler, once said: “The currency of civilization is The Idea.” Anything that is compelling contains new ideas, which cause us to look at ourselves and/or the world in a new light. Games are no different.

Other games have attempted to portray their characters’ psychological states by asking players to navigate dream sequences, hallucinations, and other supernatural environments. Are there any that you think approached this storytelling technique particularly well? How is FC3′s approach distinctive or different?

Catherine is a great dream-sequence game, another is Dear Esther, with the underwater moment. We hide a lot of the secrets to the main character and Vaas in the dream sequences. I think we’re different because everything in there is intentional and means something. We didn’t throw stuff in just to be weird.

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1 Comment on An Interview With Far Cry 3 Writer Jeffrey Yohalem

The Defenestrator

On December 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Y’know, I’m not entirely sure I buy it. I believe that he believes it… but if what you wrote is indistinguishable from the thing you’re satirizing or sending up, then that means you failed. He mentions guys like Lynch and Cronenberg but they have a consistent tone of disconnection or unreality that throws whatever you’re seeing into question and can’t feasibly be maintained in an open-world shooter. And that’s what FC3 is at the end of the day.

Maybe they wanted for the game to be something more than “just a shooter” and I respect their ambitions but I really don’t think they pulled it off. Whatever those ambitions were, I think it ultimately just allowed for them to have their cake and eat it too.