Welcome to a feature so huge that we had to span it over 4 pages.
In what can only be described as a huge step forward, Ubisoft and Megarom organised to have international game developers from around the world visit South Africa to promote their upcoming titles and talk to the local press.
A few lucky journalists were invited to a special three day event in the Pilanesberg to get one on one time with the Far Cry 2 developers as well as a ton of hands-on time with Far Cry 2. I just happened to be one of those lucky journalists and I have come back with exclusive inside information, hands-on impressions with both the single and multiplayer as well as an in-depth look at a map-editor that is going to change the way that things are done in these parts.
This is the hugest feature ever seen on Lazygamer so click through and find out whether or not you should be saving a couple of extra bucks for this holiday season.
So What’s it all about?
Throughout the presentations and interviews, we were able to get a lot of dirt on the developers thoughts behind Far Cry 2 as well as the reasons behind many of their decisions. Let’s kick things off by looking at why Far Cry 2 is what it is.
Far Cry 2 began development in 2005, before the awful Far Cry: Instincts had made it to consoles. The developers from Ubisoft Montreal were asked to renew the Far Cry brand and bring something special to the plate. 174 people worked on the game for a total of three and a half years.
From focus testing, they learned two important things about what gamers thought. The first was that most gamers did not enjoy the latter half of the game as much as the first part which focused more on encounters with human enemies. The second is that everyone could not care less about the games protagonist, Jack Carver. This quickly made them realise that the focus for Far Cry 2 would be on humans and that there was no need to continue with the story of the first game but instead focus on the core gameplay elements that fans enjoyed so much.
^ above: The original Far Cry was a favorite for many PC gamers
The developers explained that after the original Far Cry as well as TV series such as Lost and Survivor, the tropical island setting was no longer seen as exotic. So after a suggestion by their art director, Alex Amanico, they decided that Africa would be the perfect setting (Yay for us!).
To ensure that they were on the right track and could produce the best possible product, Ubisoft Montreal sent a team of the developers over to Kenya to rough it in the wild as well as take sound samples and footage. I have added a link to their developer diaries at the end of the feature. Be sure to check out what nonsense they got up to in Africa.
The entire theme of the story behind Far Cry 2 was influenced by a few different sources of media. While the original Far Cry was almost a take on “The Island of Dr. Moreau” and Crysis took a look at the ideas behind “The War of the Worlds”, Far Cry 2 has taken it’s influences from stories that have more of a personal effect on the characters rather than an external source.
The story and dialogue were penned by Susan O’Connor who is a veteran in the game industry and was responsible for games like Gears of War as well as Bioshock. Vietnam War veteran Malcolm Clark was also brought in as an adviser for the team to keep an authentic and realistic feel. He has also worked on many films and is an Academy Award winner in this respect.
Inspiration was taken from books such as Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness as well as movies such as the 1961 Japanese film, Yojimbo, Apocalypse Now, Red Harvest and Fist Full of Dollars.
All of these stories have one thing in common. They are all about characters who are on their own and will require the manipulation of the local factions for them to achieve their goals of vengeance or duty. The developers pushed the fact that they did not want the character to feel like that of James Bond, who has lots of supplied gadgetry and support from a rich benefactors. In Far Cry 2 it’s you and you alone and it will be up to the player to make friends and play the local factions against each other to succeed and take down the warlords that seek nothing but to profit from the suffering of others.
Click Page 2 to read our interview with the Far Cry 2 developers >>
Last Updated: October 9, 2008