Talking to Gamasutra about the narrative design and structure of Ubisoft's forthcoming Far Cry 2
, designer Patrick Redding has said that the team's goal has been to 'fail as big as we can,' saying that the game is trying to be "the first... to do the kind of dynamic story architecture applied to a first person shooter in an open world setting."
By no means is the team deliberately trying to fail, but, Redding says, if the game doesn't hit the lofty dynamic narrative goals that it aspires to, the "shrapnel" would be useful for game designers in the future:
"[Lead designer] Clint [Hocking] and I always said, from the very start, "Let's fail as big as we can on this." Let's take such a radical swing at this... let's put it all in and bet on red 12.
And honestly, if we mess this up, it will be one of the most useful epic failures of all time, because the shrapnel will be useful. There will be a lot of good forensics to have on this. Other developers, with whom we hopefully have a pretty decent relationship, just informally, they know what we're trying to do. We talk to them a lot about it. They appreciate that we're doing something that's risky, and that's ambitious, and also, hopefully, to the benefit of games as a whole.
And my feeling on the matter is, even if we don't achieve everything that we set out to achieve, I think there's a lot of really smart guys out there who are going to look at it and go, "Oh man, I see exactly what these guys were trying to do. That's really cool." And then they'll be thinking about it, and they'll have the benefit of having not spent three and half years on it, and they'll be like, "Oh, well why the hell didn't they just do X?" Or some super-programmer will come along and say, "Well why didn't they just build an animation system that did this procedurally?" You know, maybe we couldn't have done it, and they can.
So I think the point is, yeah, we're trying to raise the bar. I mean, it's often the case, as I think Clint found out going from the first Splinter Cell to Chaos Theory, that you have to kind of take your lumps on that first iteration. And you have to kind of just cringe your way through the parts that don't get to be as tight as you want them to be, in hopes that the message is delivered loud and clear to both players, as well as developers, as well as the publishers that, "Listen, whether you like it or not, this is something that needs to be done."
Here, we're trying to be the first ones to do the kind of dynamic story architecture applied to a first person shooter in an open world setting. And there's no way we would have tried this unless someone had done Deus Ex. Or they'd done System Shock. Or they'd done these other types of games."
You can now read the full feature
, with more from Redding on the game's dynamic structure, and how he believes it will draw a line in the sand for the industry's movement toward fully interactive narrative.