Far Cry 3: Face to face with the men behind the blistering shooter

How Ubisoft Montreal is going to mess with your head...

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Mad Hater

Vaas. He's at the centre of Far Cry 3's insane, morally challenging story. "We always knew that insanity was a core feature, but I think the facets of that insanity were less defined," explains Hay. "I would be lying if I said that we knew exactly what we wanted right from the beginning. The reality was - it all happened with Vaas. We knew roughly what we wanted. We'd written down what kind of character he was, then we started to push it, twist it, and put the concept under pressure. But when we started to do auditions, we actually met Vaas. Michael Mando came in, did his piece, and we said 'Yes, that's perfect. Don't change anything'."

Far Cry 3 is using impressive tech to bring Vaas to life in game. The tightest writing in the world can easily unravel with wooden videogame acting, born of uncanny valley faces and stiff animations. That's why Ubisoft's motion capture streams the actor's performance directly into the game. As PSM3 sits and watches Michael Mando, who plays Vaas, terrorise his fellow actors wearing a tight ping-pong ball suit, we see the whole thing playing out, in-game, on the screen behind us.


During this scene Vaas has strapped Lisa - one of Jason's friends, who you'll recognise from the CG trailer - to a chair, and he's filming her on a camera phone. He's creating a ransom video to send to Lisa's parents; it's how he generates the cash to fund his small army on the island. His interviewee struggles and cries as Vaas shoves the camera in her face, whispering at her for more tears. He's a hateful creation of long-term exposure to island life, but at the same time we can't help but love Vaas as a character. Think Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, or Jack Torrance in The Shining.

Each tattoo represents something Jason has actually done in game

"You look at Vaas, and it's clear he's a tortured artist. He's doing all these installations - when he tortures someone, he records it and leaves these messages - and you'll see them in the E3 demo. There are TVs all over the place. He's basically showcasing his work," explains Hay. How crazy is Vaas? "Ha - he's pretty crazy. I think he could hold his own against someone like Hannibal Lecter. And what's interesting is watching the player starting to like that about Vaas - like it and hate it at the same time. But then the bigger question becomes: what makes up a Vaas? Or more importantly: who makes a Vaas? Because when you uncover that you begin to see there's even deeper levels to his insanity."

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