Far Cry 3
GDC 2013: Far Cry 3's Story Was "Broken," Says Microsoft Senior Game Designer
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A Senior Game Designer at Microsoft Game Studios believes that Far Cry 3's narrative is “broken.”

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference in a session titled 'Seven Techniques for Writing a Moral Game', Richard Rouse III said that Far Cry 3's story failed because of the disconnect between its story and its action.

There's spoilers for the end of the game below. If you've not completed Far Cry 3, you probably shouldn't read on.

Calling Far Cry 3 one of his favourite games of last year, Rouse said, “It has a really good mechanic, a really good compulsion loop, a really interesting world to be in and really big characters that you meet along the way.

“But the only interaction you have with these characters is to shoot them,” he continued. “This made for a really fun experience to play, but from a plot level I found it to be broken.

“Because at the end of the game, after doing all this violence your character says, 'Oh what have I done I've killed all these people' and 'I've lost my humanity.' Yeah but you lost your humanity because the game made it such great fun to be bad and it wouldn't let me do anything else!

“So you get this situation where the game punishes the character despite having no other choice. That's why I think it's important for a game's story and gameplay to work together.”

Before moving to Microsoft Game Studios in June 2012, Rouse worked on Ubisoft's Rainbow 6 Patriots, which he has described as “a reboot of the Rainbow brand that incorporates story in a way that the franchise never has before.”

Indeed, Rouse co-designed and wrote the “Bridge” target game footage that accompanied the Rainbow 6 Patriots reveal. You can watch it below.

It's worth noting that Rouse's words should not be considered a scathing attack. They are merely the words of one professional using the work of another to make a point about approaches to storytelling. So let's not get our knickers in a twist too much.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 67
Comment #1 by UltimateBane32
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 02:57:19 PM
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I don't care about the stories in video games, or porn movies.

I'm all about the action.

Forum Posts: 11678
Comment #2 by BiggD
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 02:57:51 PM
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So much Ubisoft news!

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #3 by flyboy080498
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 02:58:54 PM
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Story, and a compelling story, is an absolute must for me.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #4 by Quackers789
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:00:56 PM
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Finished far cry about a hour ago, absolutely amazing, no complaints here :)

Forum Posts: 44
Comment #5 by TheyCallMeNooTs
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:01:44 PM
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yeah nothing better than just mashing buttons whilst wearing a bib to catch ur drool from the mindnumbing gameplay - fuckin people

Forum Posts: 3223
Comment #6 by DecadentBeaver
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:02:27 PM
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Actually, he has a point about the Far Cry 3 story. Choices in agames should be more frequent and have far more drastic consequences. I actually like how the story in Fallout New Vegas worked out with the 3 factions, or your own choices changed the outcome, and how you interacted with each changed the end story.

Forum Posts: 11678
Comment #7 by BiggD
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:10:09 PM
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@6, Obsidian did wonders with New Vegas. The fact that "The Narrator" had a different closing for EVERYTHING you did in the game, was amazing.

Forum Posts: 14
Comment #8 by xMEGADETHxSLY
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:11:05 PM
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“Because at the end of the game, after doing all this violence your character says, 'Oh what have I done I've killed all these people' and 'I've lost my humanity.' Yeah but you lost your humanity because the game made it such great fun to be bad and it wouldn't let me do anything else!

(He has a point, but i really doubt anyone was playing it for the story)

Forum Posts: 89
Comment #10 by strawberry
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:15:15 PM
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This guy is contradicting himself. It's fun to kill people, that's why you lost your humanity. That's the whole point of the plot. He acts like this is a broken part of the plot, but in reality, it's actually the point of the game.

I don't really care what this guy says, he works for Microsoft where creativity is suppressed. Look at Rare, they're dead due to M$.

Forum Posts: 813
Comment #11 by XxStuartxX 1990
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:16:57 PM
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I agree with the story been broken, for a guy that was supposed to be so 'not a bad-ass killer' he soon became fine with it and was charging all over the place, shooting people left right and center.

Forum Posts: 813
Comment #12 by XxStuartxX 1990
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:18:07 PM
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@1 go play COD then

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #13 by Hurricane Of 87
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:20:36 PM
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Richard Rouse The Third ladies and gentlemen.

Forum Posts: 52
Comment #14 by Zoron
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:22:36 PM
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@1 How much more are you going to troll?

Forum Posts: 221
Comment #15 by the ferenczy
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:24:24 PM
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The ending was poorly done; you lost no matter what choice you made. But the game was a blast to play, so it didn't bother me much at all. Kind of like Mass Effect 3.

Forum Posts: 1155
Comment #16 by Emperor 95
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:25:30 PM
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@11 yeah but it was such a great game though. At the end though, I felt like such a basses it was unreal.

Forum Posts: 51
Comment #17 by Agent Mantis
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:25:52 PM
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I also felt the ending was a little weak, I loved everything up to that point. Spec-ops did the whole losing your humanity thing as well but it didn't feel like the ending was out of completely out of your control.

Forum Posts: 718
Comment #18 by bob101910
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:27:02 PM
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"So you get this situation where the game punishes the character despite having no other choice"

Just because it's there's only 1 choice, that doesn't make it right. He has the choice throughout the whole game to give up and not rescue his friends or family. He made the choice to fight. Sorry if it's not the happy ending that you wanted.

Forum Posts: 399
Comment #19 by General Boredom
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 03:47:17 PM
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I still love how they said that R6 video was a prototype, yet a trophy is unlocked at one point. It also makes me sad that R6:Patriots has either been canned or restarted from scratch.

Forum Posts: 271
Comment #20 by macd
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 04:06:01 PM
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Just shooting people made sense since you were basically in the middle of a civil war. It is fun to kill people so that at the end you want to kill and the struggle of Jason to overcome this and do something useful with the rest of his life is mirrored in the player. Keeping going down the other path would result in a horrible death at some point soon for Jason. That was the entire point.

Only real critcism I have is that after Vaas, Hoyt just wasn't very interesting.

Forum Posts: 25
Comment #21 by TheOwl
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 05:11:45 PM
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@7 Amazing, but nothing new. Fallout 1 and 2 did it over 10 years ago.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #22 by YBloc Rellim
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 05:13:01 PM
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Fallout 3 was amazing, Fallout New Vegas on the other hand was udder shit and don't try protect it like some people protect Brink just because Bethesda's name is on it.

Forum Posts: 41
Comment #23 by Tim 13
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 05:16:02 PM
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@1: I actually agree. As much as some video games these days are cinematic masterpieces, the controller in my hand means that I want to play, not watch.

Forum Posts: 166
Comment #24 by the emcee
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 05:18:24 PM
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The thing that disconnected me from this game was the character you play as...they made him a complete bell end.

Forum Posts: 981
Comment #25 by Tai_MT
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 05:21:18 PM
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My complaint about the storyline stems from the writers of said storyline thinking it was more important or impressive than it was. Also, shoving all those "Alice in Wonderland" quotes in my face every freakin' chapter was annoying. Much of the time, the quotes had absolutely nothing to do with what was going on or what had gone on. It was a really terrible attempt at trying to be "high brow" by merely quoting a better work of writing (and trust me, I'm not a fan of anything in the Wonderland series... especially since much of it is nonsensical, paradoxial, and hypocrasy... But, I suppose that's the point of the literature).

The ending was... Well, the ending. Granted, the "good ending" seemed to be ripped from other games (the one that immediately came to mind for me was "Phatasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh"). The "bad ending" also seemed to make little sense in context with the rest of the story. The devs themselves have admitted that the point of the "bad ending" wasn't to make sense, but merely an attempt to be "surprising" or "ironic" or what-have-you. Basically, poorly written with no set-up for it what-so-ever. Especially when in the context of the legends, it makes no sense for Citra to do.

The devs input on it? "We wanted it to be unpredictable. This woman your character falls in love with kills you if you take the 'stay with her' option." Um, no, that's predictible as hell. Anyone who's ever played an RPG knows not to trust the one helping you and appearing to do nothing. Everyone who's ever played a game knows that the hot chick is going to betray you and probably kill you at some point (or attempt to kill you, depending on how storyline immune your main character is). Unless a woman is on your team for an extended period of time (as in, fighting with you, like in an RPG... as in... at least 50% of the game), she's out to kill you and murder you and betray you. It's a trope at this point.

The rest of the game? Solid and impressive. The storyline up to the end was fun and impressive. The devs just needed to take a step back and stop thinking it was more than it was.

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #26 by Spandex Stiffy
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 05:41:57 PM
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Why does every game have to be about choices now? Far Cry 3 told it's own story, when you wanted it to tell yours. That's your own expectations being broken not the game.

Forum Posts: 491
Comment #27 by Rickmassacre
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 05:46:20 PM
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i 1000G'd far cry 3 and loved it.
i think everyone should give it a try

Forum Posts: 147
Comment #28 by NewProfileKid
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 05:57:30 PM
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I actually enjoyed SP, it's just a shame that the CO OP factor of it is so broken

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #29 by Zero fox fk
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 06:00:21 PM
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Can't wait for Rainbow Six!

Forum Posts: 392
Comment #30 by smokevf
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 06:14:37 PM
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Mass effect series did it great with choises and outcomes no other game tops that at the moment

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #31 by GamePlayUK
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 06:16:32 PM
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who cares... far cry 3's single play is amazing without the plot anyway..

Forum Posts: 124
Comment #32 by Matictac
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 06:35:08 PM
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This guy is an idiot, he is complaining that your character is being punished for killing all these people, that really isn't the case. It's part of the story. It's not like if you didn't kill them, there's a different outcome. It's just how it is.

He must hate it when he watches a movie, and a character kills someone, and they scream, "WHAT HAVE I DONE?!"

Forum Posts: 51
Comment #33 by xxxacexxxconks
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 07:08:39 PM
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I much preferred Far Cry 2's story was much more realistic and related to real life situations. The choice at the end of Far Cry 3 was terrible as well, why would you kill your 'friends' when you have spent the whole game saving them, would make the whole game pointless. The gameplay of FC3 was a lot better than FC2 though.

Forum Posts: 95
Comment #34 by resevil239
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 07:20:25 PM
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so far cry 3, which though it didn't have that great a story BUT gave you characters lots of depth, was seriously flawed because it didn't give you a choice? did he put any thought into this? There is a big difference between telling a good story and giving the player choices.

Forum Posts: 27
Comment #35 by TeAmExTrEmE737
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 08:44:28 PM
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I thought it was a great story, and very good acting, especially from Vaas.

Forum Posts: 3574
Comment #36 by Shiftie
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 08:51:09 PM
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Only a matter of time before video games get the blame for vest bombs -.- That being said, I'm fine with how FC3 turned out. I can definitely see the comments about the ending, and other story elements, but I know it can be hard to keep people entertained otherwise (some people). I can't wait to get my R6 fix, especially now that I know they're incorporating a new way to tell the story.

Forum Posts: 32
Comment #37 by Godfather93a
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 09:50:20 PM
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@30 Agreed, the Mass Effect Trilogy was a true landmark in gaming history.

Forum Posts: 165
Comment #38 by xSavage Henry
Monday, March 25, 2013 @ 11:27:53 PM
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Lol and a month ago I was being begged to buy this game. I thought it was going to be so good? This is why I never buy a game when it first comes out

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #39 by a1br0wn
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 02:20:57 AM
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Actually, I think YOU are missing the point. He's not contradicting himself at all. You say it's fun to kill people, and that's why you lose your humanity, but it's only fun to kill people because games, this one included, have trained us that it's "fun". I don't imagine it's actually fun at all to kill anyone in reality, unless you've got some screws lose of course. Mass murder has just become a staple in videogames. Even the so-called "every man" that some games try to portray (Nathan Drake and Lara Croft, for example) end up racking up massive kill counts by the end of their respective games. Jack the Ripper, Dahmer, the Green River killer, all these guys together don't have shit on Nathan Drake or the Far Cry 3 guy by the time they're finished with their adventures.

And why you choose to say M$ (might as well say $ony, too) and accuse them of "suppressing creativity" on a site called is baffling to me. Obviously you're a big enough fan of their console to have invested enough time to hunt for arbitrary achievements, so why all the hate? Oh, and by the way, Microsoft didn't kill Rare, they were pretty much already dead by the time they were bought out. The majority of key people had already left. Even still, Kameo and Viva Pinata were great games.

Forum Posts: 201
Comment #40 by Kivlov
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 02:42:52 AM
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The Far Cry 3 story sucked, not because of the disconnect but because it was extremely unbelievable. I don't care how crazy you get after killing countless pirates, you are NEVER going to join some random tribe on an island and kill your girlfriend when the WHOLE purpose of the game is to get them back and leave. I felt that aspect of it completely bullshit, yes he would be in pain but he wouldnt tell all his friends especially his girlfriend to just fuck off, let alone kill her just to hang out with some tribe that doesnt do shit for you and you have to do it all yourself.

Easily the stupidest storyline I have ever seen in a video game, even worse than the bullshit fail/fail choices from Army Of Two: 40th Day, damned if you do damned if you don't moments. Fucking stupid.

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #41 by merc mcguirk
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 06:14:31 AM
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Wow! First time I've seen that R:6 video and I'm impressed. Except for all those squares and triangles that showed up on the screen; those kind of bummed me out...

Far Cry 3 was amazing up until the interesting villain gets killed. After that, I lost interest pretty quickly. Probably only have an hour or two left of the game but I just can't bring myself to care about fighting "Stereotypical British Bad Guy #1".

Forum Posts: 1490
Comment #42 by ThePumpkinKing
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 07:07:43 AM
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He acts like any everyman in that situation wouldn't be irrepairably broken coming out of it. Fact is, you look at any soldier coming back from active duty. Post traumatic stress disorder is a very real thing. Because war changes people. Sometimes to the point where they just don't know how to be "people" anymore. Don't believe me? Watch The Hurt Locker. That's what that movie was all about.

I thought the "good" ending of this game worked just fine. Jason did what he had to do to save his friends. He almost lost himself entirely as a result. And that left him broken. And more than likely, unable to function as a normal human being in the "real" world.

Then ending was fine. The problem was everyone's expectations of it. Hell, even I admit I expected something more "action-film" cliche. But that's what the Alice quotes were leading up to. Eventually, Alice woke up and left "wonderland".

Forum Posts: 38
Comment #43 by Cobra034
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 09:45:19 AM
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I didn't have too many issues with Far Cry 3's story, and I enjoyed the hell out of the game, but the ending was weak.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #44 by Big Halo 83
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 12:42:59 PM
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I personaly thought Far Cry 3 had a good story and the ending was good because you got to choose what ending you wanted.

Forum Posts: 78
Comment #45 by Discofrog
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 @ 06:44:17 PM
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For me Far Cry 3 should have ended at/on the first island, after getting to the second island I lost the majority of interest in it.

Forum Posts: 121
Comment #46 by Spartanic Ghost
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 @ 01:43:58 AM
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Never once did I ever feel like a bad guy, never once did I ever feel regret fro my decisions, and never once did I ever Think the story or narrative was anything less than grand.

The game gives you a choice. You can fell guilty for killing people, and become a power hungry demi-god with a bloodlust that rivals your foes, essentially doing nothing more than perpetuating the cycle of violence. That's ONE way to play the game. But the game gives you a choice. Unless it's set in stone that one playstyle/ending was canon over the other, I think arguing that you're a villain and the story of the game sucks because of it is just silly. While you could end up consumed by greed and power, you can equally use it for good. You're a rare opportunity for the island, an Outsider, forced into the conflict, with no prior interactions with any of the factions. It's your choice. Sure, the natives start you off on their side, feed you the propagation that one would expect to hear from one side of a warzone, hand you what you need to survive, and tell you that you need to help them, but once you're self sustaining (I role Play that it would be quite fast, as Jason has all the motivation in the world to adapt and overcome as quickly as possible, time is of the essence to him) you can pretty much wander off and do your own thing, and rescue your friends.

Now, do your friends deserve to be rescued? That's debatable. Are they good people? Eh, maybe not so much. But are they Innocent? yeah, for the most part it seems that way. So do they deserve to die? No. No they do not. And by choosing to end both cycles of hate (Pirates & Natives) you bring what could have been a multiple decade long conflict, involving the murders of countless people, to it's knees, and you end it. You are a hero. You might not have been an MLK or a Ghandi, but you created peace, if only for a time. You created balance. Jason can be a good guy or a bad guy, the story doesn't decide that, you do. Don't discredit a game for your own choices, that's just what I'm saying though.

Forum Posts: 58
Comment #47 by CHiLLiONS
Tuesday, June 04, 2013 @ 09:59:37 AM
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far cry 3 is a great game and i would not have changed anything about it

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #48 by kugotsumin
Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 10:30:25 PM
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I think Arnold says it best in True Lies when Jamie Lee Curtis asks if he's every killed anyone.... "yes, but dey were all bad."

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #49 by VeeDubleYou
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 01:14:32 AM
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Am I the only one who pressed the Right Trigger (on 360)? If he (or anyone in the comments) had, this conversation wouldn't be happening.

Completely different ending. COMPLETELY. (and pretty awesome)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #50 by Nick12y
Friday, August 30, 2013 @ 05:39:28 AM
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Game Info
Ubisoft Montreal


US December 04, 2012
Europe November 30, 2012

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