At the other extreme, I sometimes play the game on a 4 core system running in dual GPU mode. Our development team uses a large array of PCs and they all run the game.
We are still focused on optimizations but as we near the ship date we will be able to give clear requirements.
Players can choose from a variety of different characters at the start of the game. How have you managed to keep a tight story going for so many possible characters without making them bland and overly similar?
Clint Hocking, Creative Director: Much like Gordon Freeman, the character you play in FC2 becomes a sort of 'blank slate' once you choose him. There is no dialogue from the player character, because we want the player to be the character and to be completely immersed in that experience.
The journey for the player is a personal one - not one written by a writer that tells him how his character feels that may have no real relationship to how he feels. In service of this, the entire story of the game has been made interactive and dynamic. That's why we have so many characters.
Depending on how you play, who you ally with, and who lives and who dies, some of those characters will be very important, while others will be minor characters, and still others you may never encounter.
Our dynamic narrative seeks to construct certain elements of the story based on your actions. We believe it is much more interesting to make a decision about the life or death of a character who you have build a real relationship with through the mechanics of play than it is to make a life or death decision about a character in a cutscene that has been made important for you by the writer. Games, after all, are about the player's story - not the writer's story.
We've seen a phone and a buddy system in another game recently. In fact, aside from location there are a lot of similarities between Far Cry 2 and GTA IV. Was this just a coincidence?
Hocking: I think the way you work with a Buddy in FC2 and the way it is done in GTA are completely different. In any case, it's pretty clear if you look back to Leipzig where our Buddy System was first detailed, well, there was basically no information about GTA IV at that time - we definitely came up with our buddies independently.
That said, there is no doubt that girlfriends in GTA: San Andreas were a minor influence or inspiration on certain elements of our Buddy System.
Soldiers in the original X-Com were another influence. In fact, any game from Ico to Bioshock that has ever attempted to use game mechanics to forge meaningful relationships between the player and game characters has been some kind of influence.
So no - it's not coincidence. It's a case of people with similar aims and similar inspirations working on similar problems at the same time.
Co-op play is a big thing in games at the moment. Did you ever think about going down this route?
Louis-Pierre Pharand, Producer: At some point we did. We decided to abandon it for this instalment simply because of the complexity and size of the game.
Just on single-player alone, gamers can potentially have close to 50 hours of game play. Add the multi-player experience and the map editor... gamers will have their money's worth with Far Cry 2.
What did you think of the trailer to Uwe Boll's new Far Cry movie?
Pharand: Nothing in Particular.
How are the PS3/360 versions shaping up and did they impose any limitations on developing the PC version?
Pharand: The console versions look and play great. They're stunning!
After the Games Conventions in Leipzig last year, the engineering team had as a mandate to port our engine (DUNIA) to console. So it could be used by other Ubisoft titles.