The development team behind the upcoming Far Cry 3 recently spoke to the importance of providing context for violence, especially when you’re trying to tell a compelling story.
Speaking to VG247, lead game designer Mark Thompson discussed the importance of providing the player with enough motivation behind the violent acts they are committing on-screen.
Violence and artistic value aren’t mutually exclusive: it’s more about how honest you are with people regarding the games’ core mechanics and the story’s characters.
One mistake that games can make is to simply not acknowledge the violence and pretend like it isn’t important, that their protagonist is nonchalantly killing a ton of people. If you ignore what your core mechanics are asking players to do, if you pretend like players aren’t being rewarded for killing, then it will undermine the narrative.
In an effort to tell a compelling story and provide the necessary context for the violence going on in Far Cry 3, the team at Ubisoft Montreal made a conscious effort to weave the protagonist’s motivations into the story. The main character has to fight for his life, so in the end, this is a story about survival.
It doesn’t judge whether this is right or wrong. It isn’t about creating a morality play. We simply take someone who hasn’t killed before and force them to kill, in order to save their own life and then the lives of their closest friends.
Along the way, this killing, the core mechanic, becomes a key theme in the narrative. If it wasn’t, then any literary or artistic value would be undermined by the moment to moment gameplay, the story told through the player’s actions.
Look for Far Cry 3 when it launches this December for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.