Farcry is a vast open world first person shooter. It was the first of its kind and may still be the only one. I enjoyed the first 2 titles but it could have been was more enjoyably and I was assured that they listening and fixed everything. If you have never play Farcry I encourage you to get lost in this Tropical World Insanity. Very unique and fun multilayer modes and I’ve found an entire new respect for level design just from how he describes the work that goes into it. FarCry 3 will be out Dec 4th for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. Here is the man him self
BBM: What’s your name and what do you do for the company?
My name is Mark Thompson and I’m the level design director Ubisoft Montreal working on Farcry 3.
BBM: Tell us about FarCry 3. Part 2 was such a wonderful game with an open world design will this one stay true to that?
Mark: Yeah absolutely it was always super important to us to Expand on the open world experience of Far cry 2. It had so much fullness and it had so much promise and so much potential and there was a few little things that kinda held is back like the re spawning check points. We took on a lot of feedback and really expand and keep the promise of a first person open world game.
BBM: So when you go to new areas will the enemies re spawn like the last one?
Mark: Yes that was one of the strongest pieces of feedback we got.
BBM: Tell us about the game
Mark: Farcry is about being in a faraway place that’s a little bit dangerous. You come across bad guys and enemies. You’re in a part of the world that’s a little to far off the edge of the map. You can’t just pick up the phone and call 911. No one to help you its just you alone with the weapons that you have. The island still has enemies but for this one we want to give people the chance to take back part of the island and make it their own. So we have a system called outpost the island when you get there is controlled by pirates and they have segments of the map that they control. They are controlled by outpost and if you go and capture the outpost you basically they will be pushed back from that area and you claim it as your own. When you through that part of the world you won’t see road blocks you won’t be ambushed and it liberates the world so you can hunt animals and such for plants and hidden treasure and you don’t have to worry about being attacked by enemies.
BBM: What are some features that you’re most excited about or the new game?
Mark: I really like the Gameplay and the way the dynamic systems interact with each other. When people are playing the game it creates a lot of content. As a level designer you plan for things to happen but when you through people into an open world you really don’t know the results of the gameplay. That’s what I really like in Farcry 2 we had a lot of animals but they weren’t really part of the gameplay . It was beautiful to see them. They weren’t really part of the experience. So what we did in Farcry 3 is really take that to the next level. We still have goats and pigs that will run away when you get close and you can kill skin and used animal’s parts to craft better equipment.
BBM: That’s cool
Mark: But also we have the predators that you have to be careful with. Sometimes you might be in the Jungle and you think you’re going to kill a goat and you go to skim him and all of a sudden you hear a grrrrr and then you turn around and there’s a tiger that pounces and you fight with the tiger. Other times you might be at an outpost and you take time to tag all of the NPC’s. Your taken it very carefully and then a heard of buffalo just charge in the outpost and cause a riot. The enemies will start to shoot the animals and the animals will attack the enemy and all of this stuff is not scripted or planned by the level design team it just a dynamic system.
BBM: Such attention to details and your thinking outside of the box. Like Red Dead Redemption had the animals you could skin and get stuff to sell but this an entire new level where it customize stuff I don’t know of a game you can do that beautiful idea. What is the biggest challenge being a level designer? Especially with this game the depth to the world is what makes the game.
Mark: I think games its always about suspending disbelief because we put people in almost unbelievable situations the things that you do is fantastic. In a way it has to be real and creditable and for me its super important that the world you play in like the locations we have feel like the real place. You have that sense of place. So when I move through the island and a tiger jumps on a pirate and a pirate starts shooting that’s crazy if the world feels real its much easier to accept that like yeah that could happen. That’s believable I get it this is cool. We researched the hell out of the locations that we use
BBM: What goes into that research? Do you go to the jungle or how do you research?
Mark: We are up in Montreal we have a fantastic Bio dome it’s like a zoo for plants that the best way I can describe it. So we when there and took all kinds of reference of tropical plants. For the locations we really researched a lot of Micronesia and Hawaii and the Detail to the mountains and how they form. You know it comes down to small details you know the rivers in the game. We don’t just put down a river because we think it looks cool like we really learn about how rivers get formed and the point of origin. How they move naturally through the landscape and we make sure that we build natural rivers so people can believe them. Probably 90% of people don’t concisely realize it
BBM: I would have never thought that.
Mark: Sub concisely if the world around you is realistic you will believe everything that happens.
BBM: That’s Genius I would have never thought yall take it so serious. Could someone who has never play Farcry Jump into this game?
Mark: One of the cool things about Farcry as a brand it’s more of a gameplay philosophy if you real think about it its about freedom, exploration and about being a fish out of water in a faraway land. You get pushed into an unpredictable situation and you really have to learn how to survive. In a foreign and hostile environment to service. Fans of Farcry will love it and people knew who like open world and first person games its an easy game to fall into the experience.
BBM: I love the characters they seem so gritty like the doctor I saw in the Game Informer it feels true to the environment like you said always make people believe. It such a beautiful level of story telling. Mark: Where can fans find the latest info about Farcry and what’s the release date?
Mark: Dec 4th is the release on pc, Xbox 360 and PS3 and the latest news of Farcry is on Facebook we keep it up regularly with the latest info on screen shots and photos.
BBM: Three words that describe the game?
Tropical World Insanity
BBM: What have you worked on in the past?
Mark: I started working on driving games for Atari and I came from a studio that made Test Drive. Then I worked for Midway and worked on Wheel man the last game I worked on the Council cycle.
BBM: That was with Vin Diesel
Mark: Yeah then I worked on the most heart breaking game which I worked on or a year and it got canceled. It was another open world game.
BBM: That’s ruff it’s like your baby your create and nourish it. What was your first major experience with video games and how did you know this was the career for you?
Mark: I think for me Unreal Tournament was the turning point for me to making a level and design. I’ve always been a gamer but when I was playing Unreal tournament so much I started looking at the user created maps and then I stumbled across a community of guys who would help each other make maps and learn so I just started playing around with the map editor in 99 and 2000 and I quickly realized that this was it and it’s what I wanted to do.
BBM: Did you have formal training or just that map experience?
Mark: No I just played and learned in the Unreal tournament editor and learned how to make maps that way.
BBM: That’s amazing and really cool that takes real determination what kep you so motivated?
Mark: It was more fun then what I was doing in college
BBM: What was that?
Mark: It was linguistics
BBM: Ahhh Ok. What are some words of wisdom you would give a youth wanting to do level design?
Mark: You just have to do it. Find a game that you like that has a map editor and then just build maps and keep doing it keep getting better. Get involved with the community. Like the Farcry 2 guys are still making maps in the editor post up like work in progress screen shots of what there doing and the guys critique them and give them advice to improve the maps and where doing the same for Farcry 3
BBM: To have such a dedicated fan base all these years after Farcry 2 that’s awesome.
Mark: The guys are like chompin at the bit to get there hands on the new map editor. Like the E3 demo we did in 2011 some of the guys re built that in the Farcry 2 map editor. That was really cool to see
BBM: What is one of the coolest designs that was made from part 2?
Mark: I really like what people did with the vehicles people made the crazy kinda roller coaster courses and I didn’t expect it. My head was kinda in okay FPS people are going to make a lot of death match maps. You know there were guys who made all these different robots out of train tracks and you see giant robots in the sky. I’m amazed by the creativity and the ingenuity
BBM: What tweaks have you made to the new map editor?
Mark: We really started making it more accessible and wanted it to be more user friendly. Make sure the interface works well on all the different platforms and it works great on PC like X box and is easy as well. Really about trying to get more people into it. Try to feel the community side of the editor and how people can rate maps and share it we want to build on that and get people into it.
BBM: How’s San Antonio treating you so far?
Mark: It’s a really nice I’ve been to a few places in TX but none are like San Antonio. I really like it its cool weve spent a lot of time on the River Walk. That stuff was really fun we plan on see the Alamo tomorrow
BBM: What are some pre order bonuses?
Mark: We have an exclusive character and 4 maps for Gamestop
BBM: tell us about the addictive game mode firestorm?
Mark: it’s a mode where sharing at the expo what it’s all about is setting fire to the entire map. Two teams have a control point and you capture the point and then it calls a firestorm. The other team has to get to the radio to cancel it if you don’t the maps sets on Fire.
BBM: So Co-op is going to be ready straight out of box not just certain areas?Mark: we built a different map that’s in the same universe its about 6 hours.
BBM: Awesome sounds like a lot of replay value with the game. Any last words anything you want to add on?Mark: All I can say Farcry 3 is an insane huge open worlds. A 20 hr campaign and a PVP campaign with sepearte characters. Make sure you check out the new map editor and dive right in.Photos By: Dreadfully Dorothy
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