While critics loved the gameplay and gorgeous visuals of Ubisoft's island-bound shooter, the general sentiment was that the story of Far Cry 3 left a bit to be desired.
However, the game's writer, Jeffrey Yohalem, told Penny Arcade Report that the game's plot has plenty of depth that he fears most of the gaming public overlooked. The way the island natives were presented in the game was designed with the intention of providing commentary on how cultures are perceived.
It’s set on an island in the South Pacific. So immediately the thing that comes to mind is the white colonial trope, the Avatar trope. I started with that, and it’s like, ‘Here’s what pop culture thinks about traveling to a new place,’ and the funny thing is, that’s an exaggeration of most games, they just don’t expose it.
For example, GTA is a colonization game. You come to New York, you colonize New York. Most open world games function that way. Ezio comes to Rome and colonizes Rome. To take that to its extreme, exaggerating those tropes is how you reveal them. The exaggeration of that trope is what happens in Far Cry 3.
Yohalem also discussed his frustrations with storytelling in games today, saying that writers are not giving their audience enough credit.
What I’m hoping is that through talking about this game and the Internet talking about this game, is that all this stuff will come to light, and the audience will say next time, ‘We want more of this.’
This all comes from my sense that players shouldn’t be talked down to. For me, there’s a kind of caustic relationship that’s developed between players and developers. It’s really a bad, abusive relationship, because developers say ‘Players won’t get it anyway, so we’re just gonna do something that holds their hand.’
It doesn’t respect them, and then players say ‘I hate this,’ or ‘I hate that,’ or ‘This game sucks,’ and that hurts developers. So it’s like a cycle. It also feels like critics aren’t looking for meaning in the game, either. So it’s like all sides have just stopped listening to each other.
For those of you who played through Far Cry 3, what did you think of the story? Did you pick up on the cultural commentary? Let us know in the comments below.