Clint Hocking on sense of place and the effect on violence in Far Cry 2

Steve Gaynor has a new Idle Thumbs offshoot podcast called Tone Control, and in this episode he talks to Clint Hocking, and they spend about the last 50 minutes talking about Far Cry 2. I wanted to excerpt this one great little quote that I think is really important. It’s from about an 1hr 10mins in, I think:

‘…a sense of place, even for a place that is really mundane in a lot of ways, is really, really powerful… …having the sense of place and the sense of the environment be so strong, I feel, makes the counter-position of the kind of violence that happens in it, much more shocking.

You don’t blow people up in any more shocking way than you do in any other game, it’s just when you have these long periods of silence where you might have stopped on the side of a rock and listened to water trickling, and as the sun was setting behind a tree for a few minutes, you get this strange sense of peace and like ‘ah the world is beautiful and things aren’t all that bad’. And seven seconds later you’re burning a guy alive with a Molotov cocktail while he’s screaming and flailing around in a brushfire. It’s the juxtaposition of these things, and without being authored or without being scripted, it can mess with your emotions.’

Later on in the talk, they get onto discussing the systemic nature of the game a bit, and talking about it reminded me of State of Decay which I’ve been playing this week, which takes a lot of the same systemic premises and runs with them to a really fantastic degree. Which made me think, we tend to think that the most ‘Far Cry 2‘-game has already been made, but really I think that might not be the case. The most ‘Far Cry 2’ like game is probably yet to be made. Which is exciting to me.

Addendum: if nothing else, listen to the very final question that Steve asks Clint at about 1hr 47mins. Long story short, the way that they solved the problem of playtesters taking pleasure in killing wild animals, their solution was minimal, elegant, and absolutely effective. Just a fantastic solution.