Sooner or later everything succumbs to societal norms, the creative output of men and women of any media industry with time is overshadowed by the need of turning a profit. Over the decades customers have bear witness to the said descend. Profound and immersive creative content of the past have been replaced with ‘products’ of no significant substance. Masterpieces such as the Apocalypse Now, that questioned human existence and the lengths that one is willing to go in order to achieve his/hers safety, have been replaced with a simple flicks that are nothing more but mindless entertainment.
While at times being superbly stunning, content of such nature can halt the progress of any industry and result in releases that at times are nothing more but mirror images of one another. In a peculiar way all media industries have degraded in a homogeneous fashion. And the said regress is highly understandable, as with time small companies have turned into monumental corporations, and their every action has to ensure a reasonable return to financially justify further endeavors. However video game industry while of monumental statue, just few years ago was still capable of taking great risks.
On July 19th 2007, Ubisoft has announced their next big game, Far Cry 2. The reveal exposed nothing more than a generic FPS that we all have been accustomed with. However to the surprise of many it offered much more than it promised, in fact it offered more than most games available at the time. From the get go, the game drops you in the middle of a dysfunctional African state. Details of your mission are scarce, and the point of such approach is to allow you to associate yourself with the character (of your choice), and evaluate all your in-game actions from a personal standpoint. As you unravel the intricacies of the civil conflict that you are in the middle of, the game instantly reminds you that you are not in control of this world, as you slowly drift away on the back seat of a cab.
As soon as you start to take control of your own actions, the developers tease you by having your target, Jackal, stand right in front of your very eyes. Powerless, you watch him disappear in chaos that ensues on the streets of Pala. Reminding yourself of your mission, you slowly rise from your bed and begin the hunt for the notoriously infamous arms dealer. Left to die, you scramble through the streets, taking down adversaries with difficulty while hopelessly searching for Jackal. Simple turn of events makes you personally alter the motives of your mission, as with every passing day a paramilitary quest slowly turns into personal vendetta as you witness the inhuman atrocities that claim lives of the innocent.
Equipped with a map, deteriorated gun and a handful of bullets you traverse the vast African plains of Leboa-Sako and Bowa-Seko, on your ambiguous quest. Constantly surrounded by soldiers of both military factions you are hunted by the endless feeling of impending death. Through the game you patiently plan every single encounter, taking in consideration your health, ammunition, and condition of your firearm.
you are not in control of this world, as you slowly drift away on the back seat of a cab
With every battle you gain personal experience. Step by step you slowly build your confidence only to have minutes, if not hours of progress erased by a single nonchalant mistake of yours. Enemies in Far Cry 2 are ferocious and relentless, if you fail to contain the situation you’ll be dethroned from your position of the hunter, and you’ll become the hunted. However, once you have accomplished your goal you’ll feel the real sense of achievement as you look back at all the pain that you had to endure. In the end you’ll treat Far Cry 2 not only as a game, but as an experience. Ending will mean nothing to you, as all the satisfaction will come from battles with the nameless, and soulless soldiers that you have encountered on your way to the finish line. The tension and threat of impending demise that such NPCs can create is astounding, and will rattle in your head for the years to come. Far Cry 2 was a tremendous financial success and its ingenuity could be discussed for countless hours, however in order to progress commercially it successor had to appeal to a wider audience.
New additions have turned the game into previously mentioned brainless entertainment
Far Cry 3, an indirect sequel to the previous installment debuted on 29th of November 2012, four years after its predecessor. While the two could be compared on grounds of scale and the mechanics, they couldn’t be any more different from one another. the title separate itself from the player, and in a way became a box standard video game. While forcing upon you the unlikable personality of the main protagonist it have literally carried you through the entire game equipping you with enough firepower to invade a small country. Multitude of checkpoints ensured that your progress remained untouched, turning the previously dramatic death of the on screen character into a minor inconvenience.
Everything that you have achieved in the game resulted from nothing. Non-playable characters weren’t strongly developed and deaths meant completely nothing in the grand scheme of things. New additions have turned the game into previously mentioned brainless entertainment, as planning have been reduced to minimum resulting in series fall from grace. Enemies that have been a worthy, time consuming obstacle in Far Cry 2, have simply became campaign’s lengthening ‘speed bums’ as provided no challenge nor satisfaction.
It would be unfair to blame developers for the design of a released game, as they only create content to cater to gamers needs. Games where a player embodies god like abilities are desirable by consumers, forcing developers to design to this niche. If you plead for change in the industry, remember that you’re the one in control of it. Every pound (or dollar), you spend ultimately decides this outcome.