I had the opportunity at this year’s rAge to interview Robert Purdy, the Cinematics Director for UbiSoft’s FarCry 3, this is the transcript of that interview. Join me for a conversation about the changes from Far Cry 2 to Far Cry 3, the introduction of more mature content into the franchise and insight into the cinematics of Far Cry 3.
Robert Purdy, Cinematics Director Far Cry 3. Image courtesy of itf gaming
How would you introduce Far Cry 3 for new comers to the Far Cry universe?
“The easiest would be to say it’s an open world first person shooter, with the emphasis being on open world.”
Does that mean Far Cry 3 resembles Far Cry 2?
“Yes, it does resemble Far Cry 2, plus I would add it also has a very robust multiplayer, as well as a four person co-op and a player-versus-player (PvP) feature.”
Did you use the Crysis engine in Far Cry 3?
“No, we actually used the engine from Far Cry 2, which is UbiSoft's Dunia Engine. The original Far Cry was published by UbiSoft but developed by Crysis, but because UbiSoft owns the license the next Far Cry they developed in-house with their own engine and that is where they separated.”
So besides the additions you’ve just mentioned, what other changes can we expect from Far Cry 2 to Far Cry 3?“
"Narratively it's a brand new game, we're telling a brand new story. It doesn't follow as a sequel so it doesn't pick up where Far Cry 2 left off. That means you don't need to have played the previous Far Cry games in order to play Far Cry 3.Obviously graphically we have pushed the game with the Dunia engine.
We are also going to a different part of the world. Far Cry 2 was set in Africa and it had a kind of very dry orange palette. In Far Cry 3 we are going to lush tropical forests so visually we did a fair overall on the engine. We have also improved the animation system which is a big change. We pushed it as far as we wanted to push it. For myself as Cinematic Director, I focused a lot on the level of performances for our narrative characters. We use full performance capture technologies which basic captures body and facial movements."
Let’s talk about the facial expressions; looking at the demo it’s really astounding.
“We really had to because we chose to tell the story strictly from a first-person point of view. This means we can't cut away and use traditional cinematic tools to cut to different angles. So we really relied on the actor's performance to carry the narrative.”
Why did you introduce more adult-orientated content in Far Cry 3?
“Basically everything came from the story. The story dictated what we wanted to do. In this game we found that we wanted to explore the idea of what toll it would take on people to become a killer - because our core-mechanic is shooting people.
Our protagonist is not a guy who is a Special Forces operator or anything like that, it's a coming of age story. He is a twenty-something person on a gap year who gets kidnapped into this alien world and we wanted to put him in this position of, what if a person who has never killed had to become a killer to save the people he loves? That is where the story stems from. As we grow up and mature we have experiences, so any experience that Jason has is kind of we didn't want to pull punches and respect that.
We didn't put scenes in to be risky, they were the scenes driven by what Jason would experience and we are seeing it through his eyes. We didn't want to shy away from it, it wasn't a conscious decision to do it just to get ratings or anything like that, it really was driven from a storyline.”
I'm a big fan of the series, Far Cry 1 is one of the best FPS I've ever played. With Far Cry 2 I felt you left your roots by going the open world direction. How does Far Cry 3 fall between those two completely different scenarios? Is it more like 1 or 2, or something completely different? Are you going to keep taking the franchise in new directions?
“I think Far Cry 3 stands between Far Cry 1 and Far Cry 2. Personally when I was talking to UbiSoft about joining Far Cry 3 the one thing I found interesting about it as a franchise was the idea that we could almost go anywhere. I always felt Far Cry as literally a far cry from civilization; it is one person going through a very personal experience, in a place that they are not familiar with.
I'm a fan of both games and I like them for different reasons. I really liked Far Cry 2 because I thought they took a creative chance going to Africa and I thought that was amazing, because we are in the games industry and there might be a tendency to 'recycle' for lack of a better term. I liked that Ubisoft took the creative choice to go to Africa. Now with Far Cry 3 we tried to listen to fans of both games and I think we've balanced the line of both games in that we have a very adept single player campaign.
You can at times, if you want to, walk off into the open world but you can always come back to the single player campaign and get back into the story. And then for other types of gameplay you can go into multiplayer and then there is another story in co-op. So we really tried to get a backbone for the narrative and the four person co-op has a storyline that connects into that story which Jason is part of. Although they don't overlap they take place in the same universe.So I think it's the best of both worlds. We streamlined some of the open world concepts and we've really played close attention to the storytelling and narrative."
In closing, describe Far Cry 3 in a nutshell
"Firstly it is a very robust narrative as I mentioned previously. Secondly, we have a monster game: A very in-depth single player game with a great open world. Also we have the multiplayer aspect of the game which has the traditional PvP also it has the four player co-op which has its own storyline separate to the single player version. The in-game editor is also back which was well received in Far Cry 2.”
From reading all the reviews this morning, it certainly seems like Far Cry 3 delivered what Purdy promised. Ubisoft took a gamble by taking the 3rd installment of the franchise yet again in another direction, and fans love it. I couldn’t get enough of playing Far Cry 1, I got bored with Far Cry 2, and it seems Far Cry 3 will deliver a dark ride worth taking. I’m sold.
Han’s Twitter | Blog / MWEB Gamezone Twitter | Facebook