Spoiler Alert: Far Cry 3
Spoiler Alert: Far Cry 3
Last week we talked about the gameplay in Far Cry 3, but today we are talking about the story - particularly the ending. The word I've heard most often used to describe Far Cry 3's story is 'problematic' and it seems pretty accurate. I think it might have been necessary however and today we're going to look into that. This is your warning - if you haven't played Far Cry 3 yet and don't want it spoiled, do not read past the next screenshot.
These guys are best friends.
If you're looking for a way to get an awkward uncomfortable silence out of a group of people, give them a quick overview of Far Cry 3's story. You are a white man dropped onto an island of natives, where you turn out to be the only one capable of doing anything about the evil oppressors. Itís a fairly common trope known as Mighty Whitey and it has existed in media since, well, forever.
We'll start with a run down of events. Far Cry 3 begins with a group of white, fairly well off young adults being captured by pirates, led by the clearly mentally unwell Vaas. You play Jason - a typical slacker - his girlfriend complains about his lack of responsibility, about the way he just wants to have fun and play games.
The game kicks off with Jason stuck in a cell with his brother - a trained soldier - and the pair of them attempt to sneak out of the enemy encampment only to be caught by Vaas at the last second. Vaas shoots Jason's brother and, in Bond villain fashion, gives Jason a chance to flee before sending his men to hunt him down and kill him.
Jason actually manages to escape and meets Dennis - a Liberian ex-pat who introduces him to the Rook Islands and the Rakyat - the natives who are struggling against Vaas and his boss Hoyt for control of the island. Dennis plays the role of the magic black man and he tells Jason he needs something more if he wants to get revenge for his dead brother and rescue his kidnapped friends and his little brother - the one who wasn't shot in the face.
This is where the tatau is introduced. Tataus (the word they give tattoos) give their bearer incredible power - and they transform Jason from a scared, confused and perfectly useless white boy into a warrior. A warrior capable of handling military tech, capable of out-performing seasoned mercenaries and pirates in combat and capable of defeating Vaas and rescuing his friends.
Jason continues to grow stronger as he slaughters countless enemies. He meets Citra - the priestess and leader of the Rakyat, who doesn't believe he is strong enough to help them at first, but slowly grows to love him, considering him a most powerful warrior and capable of taking the islands back for the Rakyat.
Buck - a stereotypical Australian.
His path to saving the island can be separated into parts - delineated by his fights against Vaas, Buck, a giant fire warrior thing and, finally, Hoyt. Missions follow Jason rescuing his kidnapped friends and hiding them. Talking to Jason's rescued friends in their hidden cave has them commenting on the ways he is changing.
He shows no remorse for the countless enemies he has killed and he's no longer the carefree and irresponsible young gent he used to be. They are all fixing a boat to get away from the Rook Islands and once its finished they tell Jason its time to go. But Jason doesn't want to leave anymore, he doesn't want to go back to the real world. And he wants to make Hoyt suffer.
Once Jason kills Hoyt the end game begins and Jason rushes to rescue his little brother - the last of his friends to remain captive. Together they go to where the other survivors are hiding - only to find it empty and burned down. Citra and the Rakyat have taken them and Citra wants Jason to choose - his friends or the Rakyat.
This is the absolute last thing you can do in the game - click the left mouse button to choose Citra, click the right mouse button to choose your friends. Jason stands in front of his girlfriend Liza with a knife at her throat.
When I reached this point, I seized up. I wouldn't have put it past Ubisoft Montreal to make this the end - and force you to live with the aftermath. In hindsight I guess the uproar from people who made the wrong choice would have been too overwhelming - sometimes it seems like these days video games aren't allowed to have meaningful consequences.
So whichever you choose - Citra or Liza - you can still play on after the credits. Through the lead up to that choice though, a drugged Jason stumbles through a series of hallucinations. Citra and Liza both tell him he will lose all of his power if he doesn't side with Citra - if he refuses to kill his friends. Not wanting to throw away the dozens of hours I'd spent in the game, I chose Citra.
You're welcome. By the way, I stole a priceless relic while I was helping you.
If you choose Liza, Jason snaps out of his stupor and cuts her bindings. He turns to Citra and tells her its over. He tells her there will be no more blood, no more violence. Dennis accidentally stabs Citra (or she attempts to protect Jason?) and as she dies, she tells Jason she loves him. Jason apologises and we see a boat sailing away from the islands as Jason says:
I've killed so many people I've lost count. I can't come back from this, I'm a monster. I can feel the anger inside of me. But I am still, somewhere inside me, more than that. Better than that.
If you choose Citra, things naturally go a little differently. Liza begs for her life and Jason slits her throat. Citra tells someone to prepare the tatau - a tatau which will make you extraordinarily powerful. It cuts to an incredibly awkward first person view of Jason having sex with Citra while she talks about how powerful the Rakyat people will become now. Jason finishes up and rolls off and Citra straddles him. "It is done" she says - and then stabs him in the chest. Citra says:
Hold me. You are perfection. The ultimate of your kind. And our child will lead the Rakyat. Shhh. Rage against the darkness. You are a warrior. Die a Warrior. You won.
So what was the point of all that then? Is it a confusing jumble of nothing? A poorly written power fantasy with the world's most obvious self-insert character? Perhaps, but I don't believe so. I can't, in fact - I think Ubisoft Montreal are capable of better than just telling a very violent, absolutely ridiculous version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Instead, I believe Far Cry 3 is about gamers.
Cassowaries, nature's stupidest looking killing machine.
At the beginning of the game, Jason has never killed, he has never even seen people die, except in video games. But soon he gets a gun - he begins playing the game - and he slowly grows stronger, gaining more power. He unlocks special powers, he fights bosses and his strength makes women fall for him and men fear him. His friends don't get it, because they aren't playing the game - they aren't gamers and they think there is something wrong with him.
Many writers will be familiar with the self-insert character - when the author writes a story with themself in the lead, making the character better in every way than everyone else. And that is exactly what Jason appears to be - he suffers some set backs, sure, but he is still way too capable for words. Why? Because thatís how games play out.
And then we reach the end and now the player has a choice. Does Jason reject the power fantasy, does he leave the game and return to the real world with its responsibilities and lack of adventure? Or does he stay, keep playing the game, keep being King?
If you choose to return, Jason lives - and he will find a way to become a normal, well adjusted member of society. If you choose to stay though, Jason dies. But, as Citra says, he wins. He wins the game and he dies, because he rejected reality.
Jason has to be white then, because he represents the largest demographic - the ever-beloved 18-30 yo white male. Thatís how these power fantasies work. Far Cry 3 is a game about brotacular action, and the protagonist in those stories is always a white guy.
I actually did this on purpose.
If Ubisoft Montreal wanted to give us a truly powerful ending, they could have done a bit better. Imagine if Jason made his choice, only to wake up kneeling back next to his brother, shot in the head by Vaas. The end game then, would feature a powerless Jason desperately trying to outrun Vaas and his pirates, incapable of firing a gun, let alone killing anyone.
A roguelike style Iron Man mode, where if Jason escapes he has no magic black man to give him power, no Dennis or Citra or Rakyat treating him like the great white hope. The natives would treat him like they would in real life - some might be helpful out of pity, but most would handle him with a mix of derision and disgust.
So it would be Jason by himself, afraid of everyone and everything, desperately wanting to save his friends but knowing that he is completely incapable of doing so. Finding a boat and sailing away as fast as he can, hating himself for his cowardice, but knowing every one of his friends is dead anyway. Knowing that in the real world, you have to work hard to get respect and power, and that he has never worked for anything.
I would play that game.
Comments on this Article
Tue 11 Dec 12, 1:29pmLogic_Incarnate
Posted: Tue 11 Dec 12, 1:29pm
Tue 11 Dec 12, 1:36pmhoax86
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Wed 12 Dec 12, 8:04amSweatyGremlins the II
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Wed 12 Dec 12, 9:24amJoaby
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Wed 12 Dec 12, 9:11pmSweatyGremlins the II
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Thu 13 Dec 12, 12:06pmBazroon
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