E3 2011: Far Cry 3 Preview – Too Much Blank Blank Makes Blank Blank Go Crazy!
Written Wednesday, June 22, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
The fact that Ubisoft came to E3 armed with its Far Cry 3 announcement didn’t really surprise anyone – we all kind of knew it was coming after various leaks and it being nearly three years since the last game. It was a shoo-in to be announced eventually. What surprised us was what they brought to the show, which was a good 10-15 minutes of solid gameplay, something that rarely happens in this day and age. Game announcements usually follow the age-old formula of: release teaser of teaser trailer, release full version of teaser trailer and then throw a press release at the gaming press. Ubisoft and Ubisoft Montreal were throwing the rule book out the window with Far Cry 3 and we headed behind-closed-doors to catch another glimpse at the walkthrough from the Ubi presser, but with guidance from two of the game’s devs: Jamie Keen, Lead Game Designer, and Andrea Zanini, Game Designer.
Far Cry 3 is returning to the franchise’s roots, throwing the game’s main character, Jason Brady, onto a mysterious tropical island with picturesque sights, dense green jungles and crystalline blue waters. Far Cry 3’s setting is a “lush tropical environment with a brutal side” on an island “as far away from civilisation as possible” said Keen, and the game challenges players to uncover the island’s dark secret and discover the whereabouts of Brady's girlfriend who has mysteriously disappeared. With all his friends either killed or kidnapped, Brady will need to tackle the island alone. Now that wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that it was inundated with crazy people – a bit like England. That’s sod’s law right there!
It’s an island that boasts an incredible amount of bold, powerful colours and balances its utopian paradise with a sense of ill ease that comes from the amount of mentally deranged people that roam its plains. All of this is abundantly clear as Brady treks through the overgrown bush of this tropical safe haven, complete with downed plane wreckages, vines galore and stunning draw distances. Below Brady, as he observes from a cliff edge, are many of the island’s inhabitants, torturing poor innocent victims a few clicks away. THWACK! Brady is unwittingly taken down from behind as the screen fades to black.
“Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?” says Voss, one of the island’s less than mentally stable folk, as Brady finally awakes from his forced slumber. Voss is one of the craziest crazies on the island according to Ken, someone who has a bit of a fascination with tying people to breezeblocks and drowning them in the island’s bright blue waters. He’s just the tip of the iceberg though said Keen, mentioning that there are a whole range of other crazy people on the island; some who aren’t nearly as obviously crazy as the Mohawk son-of-a-bitch that stands over the game’s protagonist.
“Insanity is doing the exact same fucking thing, over and over again, expecting shit to change. That. Is. Crazy!” said Voss, before continuing to rant with more F-word expletives than an episode of The Osbournes. “I’m sorry, I don’t like the way you’re looking at me!!” he says, as his aggression rises, obviously antagonised by our main man. “The thing is, I’ve killed you once and it’s not like I am fucking crazy,” he continues, before ending his thought-provoking and excellently written monologue with exactly the same line as he opened it with… “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?” snarls Voss, as he sends Brady to the depths of the cold, dark and deep pond below him. It ends a really intelligently written monologue and coupled with the believable voice-acting and impressive lip-syncing, it’s apparent that Far Cry 3 is more than just a piece of eye-candy. On the basis of this scene, it could be winning a few fans over with its script and story as well. As Brady breaks free and swims to safety, the sentiment of Voss’ monologue still echoes in our mind as the cycle of Voss’ repetition continues. Man, that dude’s crazy!
“Jason’s been on the back foot up until now, but now he really needs to turn the tables if he wants to get out of this place,” said Keen as he leaves the water slightly further down stream, out of Voss' eyeline. “He’s now going to use the environment to his advantage. Right here we’ve got a waterfall and it’s going to mask the sound of his approach so he can take him out silently,” and with that, that’s precisely what Brady does.
With the franchise known for its sandbox-esque elements, what can we expect from the third instalment of the trilogy? Exploration and non-linearity according to Ubisoft Montreal, meaning more of the same then. “The island itself is a really, really important part of the game, it’s almost like a character in the game,” said Keen. “We want players to not just go in a linear path from A to B. You’re going to see things like the temple, they’re going to be off in the distance. We want players to feel the curiosity to go off and explore around the island, to find things, to follow their nose.” Zanini also confirmed that players will be rewarded for seeking out these places and exploring to their heart’s content.
Looking over an encampment, Brady takes to the front foot in a bid to turn himself from the prey and into the predator. Spying a zipline further along the cliff line, Brady makes his way down there, before using a sniper rifle to map his plan of attack. With goons everywhere, Brady spots his opening: a couple of explosive barrels under a bridge that’s being guarded by a couple of foot soldiers. BANG! Brady takes the shot, decimating the two guards and in the confusion, zip wires into the thick of it.
Leaning in and out of cover, Brady shoots barrels and turns many of the approaching mercenaries' faces into a bloody crimson mess with his trusty AK rifle. “Here I’m going to use the river to try and lose sight of the enemies and try and sneak up and maybe make a run for the chopper,” said Keen as he made a run for the water to swim under the surface and break the line of sight. While the soldiers regrouped and searched for the invader, Brady is able to quickly make a dash for the chopper, holding the pilot hostage and taking off for the skies.
Life is never easy though in video games and it’s not long before the chopper is struck down, causing Brady and co. to crash into the dirt in a fiery mess. Seemingly unharmed, but in a daze, Brady fights to get to his feet, only to see a familiar figure pass through the smoke and dust that’s filled the crisp air. “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?” says Voss, ending the demo, but continuing the cycle of complete madness.
As far as first looks go for newly announced games, Ubisoft Montreal’s showing of Far Cry 3 ranks up there with the best of them. Who says game announcements have to take the form of some CGI trailer and a blows-its-own-trumpet press release? With interesting characters, a superbly written script (well, what we saw of it was), an incredible environment and some high-intensity gunplay, Far Cry 3 seems more akin to Far Cry 1 to me, than Far Cry 2. And for those who hold the original Crytek game in as high a regard as I do will be ecstatic to hear that. It may be a first look at a game that’s out next year, but it’s a great debut showing for Ubisoft Montreal’s latest title. Incidentally, does anybody actually know what the definition of insanity is?
Far Cry 3 is scheduled for a 2012 release.