Announced on the 1st of April, you could be forgiven for thinking that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was a joke. An apparent expansion-pack for the excellent Far Cry 3, but one set in an alternate reality where the 80’s never died, where Michael Biehn is still basking in his Terminator glory-days and where the waters are infested with cyber-sharks. Insane.
The truth is: it is a joke. The most amazing, welcome, hilarious, two-fingers-to-the-industry joke that gaming’s ever told. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Creative Director, Dean Evans, speaking to Eurogamer:
“We’re in a business where we’re quite risk averse – everyone plays it pretty safe. But we were given that opportunity to be like, f*** it, and basically do whatever we want. Things don’t have to make much sense. Look at Platinum Games, the stuff that Kojima does. They get a lot of flak for the kind of stuff they do, but ultimately it’s that attitude – so f***ing what? Let’s go!”
This is perhaps the Aliens tribute that Colonial Marines never was.
What a complete breath of fresh air. Sure, this is an expansion pack standing on the shoulders of giants, one that may never have been green-lit had Far Cry 3 itself not been a roaring success, but it completely blows that tired, shallow argument of games-lack-creativity out of the water. OK, it’s an FPS, but I think that we just need to accept that we’ve perhaps reached genre saturation; it’s a phenomenon that doesn’t prevent other creative mediums from being wildly inventive and exciting, so why should it prevent games?
“Mum and dad have gone to bed and you’re downstairs, there’s the Vic-20 over there on the black and white TV, the Atari over there. You’ve seen those consoles change, but the one thing that’s stayed the same is these shitty action movies burning your retina, watching Robocop again and again and again and watching that police station scene in Terminator and rewinding it, pressing play and watching it again.”
You see, real creativity and ingenuity in the arts comes not just from ‘Eureka!’ moments but by-and-large from insightful observation, synthesis, parody and homage. This is something that music, film, literature, art and stage embraced long, long ago: it’s a state of mind that gaming is long-overdue – especially so in the AAA game range.
Here’s hoping that this glorious, nonsensical, gaudy wonder is merely the start of things to come.