Far Cry 3's lead game designer Mark Thompson has hit back against the accusations of gratuitous violence that were aimed at the game following a blood-soaked E3, saying that violence and artistic merit are not mutually exclusive, and that it's important for violent games to justify their own core mechanics.
"Violence and artistic value aren’t mutually exclusive," he told VG247. "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,” Thompson continued, “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.
“If the characters in the game don’t react to the violence performed by the player; then you create a plot hole, one specific to the interactive nature of games. We addressed this head on and wrote a story that was about the core mechanic, about killing.”
Thompson was keen to point out that this isn't a game that's looking to lecture or expound upon morality, but rather that the core mechanics are inextricably tied to the game's narrative.
“It doesn’t judge whether this is right or wrong,” Thompson continued, “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,” Thompson concludes, “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.”
Far Cry 3 releases on November 30th over here for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.