Interview: Far Cry 3 Lead Writer, Jeffrey Yohalem

by on March 11, 2013

Not too many games take us by surprise these days, but Far Cry 3, with it’s great level of quality throughout, definitely did. So it’s with pleasure that we recently had the chance to sit down for a very brief word with the lead writer on the game, Jeffrey Yohalem.

Far Cry 3 has done amazingly so far – how has the feedback been from the community?

I’ve been floored by the reception. I feel like people are really discussing the game, and it’s really entered the public conciousness. There’s still the conversations going on now, and I think all of the different elements of it have kind of harmoniously come together and everyone likes different things, and it has just been a world that people have enjoyed being in and I am very grateful and proud that we made something like that?

What kind of games are you playing right now?

I’m playing Kentucky Route Zero, which is in indie game, right now. I’m waiting for Bioshock Infinite. And I’m here right now, in London, so I was at the National Portrait Gallery today – so not playing anything. I’m finishing The Walking Dead, I didn’t finish the last episode yet.

Anything to say about your competition at the BAFTAs?

I think this has been an incredible year, and I’m honoured to be included in this group of developers. The team is honoured, and even if we win nothing, we’re just glad to be here. The group of people in this room, for me, are the luminaries in the industry, and so I think it’s been a great year.

What are you working on next?

I’m in the middle of working on something cool. I can’t talk about it though.

Do you have any hopeful collaborations? Anything about outside of the norm, for gaming?

I am very interested in bringing artists into video games. People who are trying to express ideas that come from their life, and situations that they’ve been in. That can come from anywhere. I guess if someone understands the language of video games, or has something very deep to say, and I can help translate that into the language of video games, then I’m very open to it.

We’ve seen a bit of a convergence between movies and video games, and other forms of entertainment over the last few years. How do you think that’s affecting games and AAA titles?

I think games are much more focused right now, in terms of AAA. On IP, and on creating a world that’s so big that there can be movies in it. But to me, the heart of games is interactivity, and it’s very different than any other medium. Like for example the writing, when you write a scene in a game, I focus on what the player is experiencing every single second, and the player is the main character in that scene. And I don’t mean the avatar they’re playing, I mean the player themselves. And so that’s completely different than a film, when you do a scene in a movie you’re focused on what’s going on between those characters and the audience may as well not exist.

I mean there are some similarities, in that directors try to shoot scenes in a way that appeals to the audience. But writing, it’s kind of like an amusement park ride, when you write for a game, because what you want is, you tell the players “Oh, the lights are going to go out now” and that’s going to excite the player, instead of conflict between two characters on screen.

So what console would you say rules your household at the moment?

I have all of them. I mean, for me it’s all about the content  So wherever the content plays the best, that’s the copy I get.