Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
November 16, 2014 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Far Cry 4's alternate ending (spoilers) turns the genre, and gaming expectations, on its head.

In UbiSoft's Far Cry 4, like previous games in the series, the player begins the game as a stranger in a strange land, is put into peril, introduced to the big bad, and then offered a chance to escape. Your escape sets the game in motion and serves as a tutorial to introduce you to basic control mechanics. But what if you didn't try escaping?
posted by thecjm (44 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I remember the would be smart-arse "It's called ROOK Island so all the racism isn't racist, you're just not smart enough to understand" bullshit about Far Cry 3. Making jokes about a genre's expectations, while still providing a user experience which conforms to those expectations is, at best, a pretty sophomoric form of subversion. At worst it's a means to excuse problematic elements under cover of "irony".
posted by howfar at 8:50 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or, you know, you can totally ignore this secret ending and play the game as intended. Don't get the outrage.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:06 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Games have done this for a long, long, long time. Alternative endings like this are basically Easter eggs.
posted by Yowser at 9:15 AM on November 16, 2014


"Maybe now we can shoot some god damn guns." Is this game still for sale? It looks pretty good. I thought Far Cry was full of those strange pukers and burpers. I couldn't stand that silly game.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:17 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is the subversive bit that the big bad looks like a Southeast Asian version of Mr. Humphries from Are You Being Served?
posted by davros42 at 9:23 AM on November 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


I haven't played a big game like this in about a bajillion years, so please excuse this question for possibly being ignorant...Do all games have such interminably long cut scenes now? Those scenes just went on for-fraking-evar.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:24 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


What is the implication of this ending? That Pagan Min takes you back to the border and you go home, having completed your errand? Or that he's going to kill you? Or that you have joined his "side," but they didn't actually make that game, so they just cut it off there?
posted by rustcrumb at 9:25 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


rustcrumb...It will all be answered in Far Cry 5.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:27 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not played FC4, or any of the others in the series, but that seemed like a pretty decent alternate ending.

The implication of that ending to me was that the player joins his father in suppressing the Golden Path. Since presumably the Golden Path don't stand a chance in the game without the great messiah protagonist, it probably goes swimmingly well.
posted by YAMWAK at 9:32 AM on November 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


The storytelling choices get even more bold in Far Cry 64.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or, you know, you can totally ignore this secret ending and play the game as intended. Don't get the outrage.

It's not really outrage, it's just that UbiSoft have form for being kinda dickish about this stuff, and, specifically pretending that the problems with Far Cry 3 were all to do with an audience that didn't "get it". It was discussed in this MeFi thread. So, yeah, I guess I'm just cynical about them, specifically, doing this sort of thing in a Far Cry game, given how much it pissed me off before. This type of thing made Far Cry 3 worse, as an experience, for me.
posted by howfar at 9:45 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't think Pagan Min is supposed to actually be his dad, but basically the father of his half-sister, after watching this--but it's sort of interesting, not having played the game itself or anything in that series. He's clearly brutal. But it's a shooter--the expectation would be that you yourself are going to spend quite a lot of this game murdering people, let's be honest. The story Min provides about your childhood--it's so impossible to tell if he's honest, of course, but the man's been keeping a shrine to your sister, talks about how he loved your mother, blames your sister's death on the Golden Path. This could very almost be the beginning of a completely different game, except that Min's torture and murder is the bad guy trope kind, not the hero trope kind.

I thought this was awesome, except that I was sort of tempted to pick up the game before, and now I think I'm going to be ultimately disappointed by the actual main storyline NOT being the story of how you go off and bond with your surrogate dad while getting stylish (and excessive) revenge against the terrorists who killed your sister.

I have an established problem with having too much sympathy for certain sorts of well-dressed antagonists, though.
posted by Sequence at 10:16 AM on November 16, 2014 [14 favorites]


We've seen a few instances of this recently, where a work gets called out for its problematic content, and the response is, "Well, it only looks awful because it's a satire of really awful people. We doubled down on the racism/colonialism/sexism in order to make these awful people seem more awful, not because we the creators endorse these awful things." For example, The Mikado, Far Cry 3, maybe this iteration of Far Cry as well.

This is sorta a huge risk. If a work is not really amazing, instead of merely being lackluster, it can inadvertently be actually really awful. Also I think there's a good chance that for people who are actually affected in real and tangible ways by these bad isms, there may not be a way to satirize their plight which is not hurtful. Finally, over time, a satire which was once spot on and incisive can lose the context that helps make the satire obvious, and the work slides into problematic territory.
posted by rustcrumb at 10:20 AM on November 16, 2014


As mefi's jscalzi puts it, the failure mode of clever is "asshole".
posted by jcreigh at 10:35 AM on November 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


This is sorta a huge risk. If a work is not really amazing, instead of merely being lackluster, it can inadvertently be actually really awful. Also I think there's a good chance that for people who are actually affected in real and tangible ways by these bad isms, there may not be a way to satirize their plight which is not hurtful. Finally, over time, a satire which was once spot on and incisive can lose the context that helps make the satire obvious, and the work slides into problematic territory.

I think your definition of "huge risk" and mine might differ. We're not talking Mein Kampf here now are we.
posted by Sebmojo at 10:36 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Having watched it again, Sequence, I agree with your interpretation. Never did do well at English comprehension.

I think the 'So, you want me to follow you?' line from Ajay pretty much tells the audience what happens next, anyway.
posted by YAMWAK at 10:36 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Weird, Far Cry 4 isn't officially out until next Tuesday.
posted by kmz at 10:40 AM on November 16, 2014


Weird, Far Cry 4 isn't officially out until next Tuesday.

Press definitely have it, and whatever embargo they had must've expired a few days ago because Giant Bomb did a quick look on Friday.
posted by sparkletone at 10:44 AM on November 16, 2014


Speaking of, Ubisoft may have punished Polygon for its coverage of the Assassins Creed Unity boondoggle by supplying them (and apparently only them) with an unplayable, non-retail review copy of Far Cry 4.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:51 AM on November 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Is this what counts as turning gaming expectations on their head these days? I mean, once you see the secret cutscene, it doesn't suddenly change the game in a meaningful way. You just chuckle to yourself, restart the game, and engage in the same dry power fantasy that has been repeated ad nauseam for so many years.

You know, it wasn't that many years ago that Far Cry 2 came out. That's a game that subverts gaming expectations. Hey, let's take a genre that survives by being a power fantasy and use all the iconography of a power fantasy but actually strip out the power fantasy and replace it with a game world that is at best ambivalent toward the player and at worst is actually hostile toward them.

Now Far Cry 2, that's a video game. It's been really disappointing seeing how the series has become just another rote, follow-the-minimap-icon power fantasy since then. I don't begrudge people their Far Cry 4s and their Assassin's Creeds, I just wish other, more game-y games were also as popular as often.
posted by BV at 11:04 AM on November 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


howfar: "I remember the would be smart-arse "It's called ROOK Island so all the racism isn't racist, you're just not smart enough to understand" bullshit about Far Cry 3."

Lots of thoughts. Full disclosure: I haven't played Far Cry 3, but I have played the original and Far Cry 2 and I've read a lot about Far Cry 3.

I think the problem might be that Far Cry 3 doesn't commit to the satire. The game isn't fundamentally about race. If you removed the racial aspect, you're left with a perfectly good story that questions what it means to be a protagonist in a shooter. Race is just set decoration.

On preview: what BV just said.
posted by yaymukund at 11:10 AM on November 16, 2014


Speaking of, Ubisoft may have punished Polygon for its coverage of the Assassins Creed Unity boondoggle by supplying them (and apparently only them) with an unplayable, non-retail review copy of Far Cry 4

Well, it's Ubisoft we're talking about here. Following Occam's Razor I think the most likely hypothesis is that they just fucked up, since there's ample evidence that the company's business end is breathtakingly incompetant.

I do notice that there's a lot of discussion about problematic themes and tones in PC shooters and as much as there are things that could probably be improved at the end of the day you are shooting people in the face. That is kind of inherently problematic in that shooting people in the face is not something you ought to do, or, really, fantasize about and derive pleasure and satisfaction from. Sorry.
posted by selfnoise at 11:20 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed the game play of Far Cry 3, despite the failings of the story, and I'll be buying the new game, even though it sounds like more of the same. Stories have been built around violence since the dawn of time, there's no reason they have to be racist and, well, just bad, too, but first person shooters aren't there yet.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:34 AM on November 16, 2014


Or, you know, you can totally ignore this secret ending and play the game as intended. Don't get the outrage.

It's not really outrage, it's just that UbiSoft have form for being kinda dickish about this stuff, and, specifically pretending that the problems with Far Cry 3 were all to do with an audience that didn't "get it". It was discussed in this MeFi thread. So, yeah, I guess I'm just cynical about them, specifically, doing this sort of thing in a Far Cry game, given how much it pissed me off before. This type of thing made Far Cry 3 worse, as an experience, for me.


I thought this was pretty awesome, and I don't quite get how it's a point of outrage or cynicism about dickishness. In order to trigger this, you literally have to sit around for 15 minutes wondering if something out of the ordinary will happen. And then something out of the ordinary happens. What would have been dickish is if this deprived the player of a serious amount of play time or something, but I'm pretty certain there will be an auto-save the moment the antagonist leaves the room.

It's like some of the old choose your own adventure books where you can pick wrong and die right away. It's not new to entertainment in general, but probably new to this genre. I thought it was kind of cool, really.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:03 PM on November 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


FAR CRY 4: Alternate Ending

Pagan Min lies dying at your hands at last. You've murdered so many henchmen, travelled through the very heart of hell, but your moment of redemption is here at at last. As you squeeze the last of his life from his throat, he slips an ornamental silver dagger between your ribs, searching for your heart.

Suddenly you're stirred from your reverie by the gentle yet insistent voice of your dying mother.

"Son?" she rasps. "Do you promise?"

You blink to clear your mind. The daydream had been so real.

"Yes mother, I promise. I will travel to Kyrat, a land with no diplomatic ties to the U.S., ruled by your homicidal ex-lover and haunted by the followers of my terrorist father, and place your ashes by those of my murdered half-sister. I will not let you down."

"Oh thank you! Thank you, son!" She closes her eyes for the last time, at peace at last.

Cut to a private banquet room in the back of a Kyratian restaurant in a strip mall in suburban Albany one week later. A crowd of mourners, many of them the deceased's coworker in the Accounts Receivable department of Albany Medical College, mingle and nibble on Kyratian appetizers. An urn is displayed prominently at the front of the room.

You rise to speak. "As many of you know, my mother treasured her friendships above all else. In fact, with her dying breath she made me promise to throw this dinner for all of you, so that you wouldn't have to be alone in your grief. So, let us eat and celebrate the life of my beloved mother..."

You catch your reflection in one of the decorative mirrors. You have to admit the traditional pink paisley Kyratian mourning jacket looks quite fetching on you. It really makes your newly bleached bangs pop.

THE END
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2014 [16 favorites]


Do all games have such interminably long cut scenes now?
There was a five-minute-long monorail ride at the start of a game that won 50 game-of-the-year awards in 1998.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:39 PM on November 16, 2014 [14 favorites]


That's because it was one of the first such games to have such an introduction, the assumption was that it was a cut scene, but actually you could move around and seamlessly introduced your character into the story.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is, of course, setting up for Far Cry 4's version of Blood Dragon, "The Dictator and I".
posted by Slackermagee at 1:01 PM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd have to agree that this doesn't seem that expectation-breaking, but I do really like the fact that "Should I Stay or Should I Go" subtly hints at the existence of the alternate ending.

Also, though Min's character seems like a flat and boring caricature, whoever does the voice acting for him fucking kills it.
posted by 256 at 1:01 PM on November 16, 2014 [13 favorites]


It really makes your newly bleached bangs pop.

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.
posted by Hicksu at 1:06 PM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: full of those strange pukers and burpers

(You're maybe thinking of Left 4 Dead)
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:31 PM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed the game play of Far Cry 3

I had a blast tooling around the island, murdering dudes, taking over their forts (and also occasionally punching a shark). But blaaaaaggghhhhhhhh. The plot missions and that one rapey bit... It really kind of soured me on the game by the end to the point where I completed all the fun side stuff, and didn't ever finish the story about my slow, somewhat implausible conversion from a frat doofus into a crazy asshole with loads of guns.

GTA games, for instance, certainly contain their fair share of icky stuff (the torture scene in the latest one was very hard for me to stomach for instance), but I don't usually struggle finding myself wanting to complete the story missions even if they're not my favorite part of the game. I had that trouble with FC3 though. I wonder if it's because they do the "you never leave first person camera view" thing that Valve kind of pioneered, but then in FC3 force your character to do these awful things (beyond all the murderin' dudes) that I would never have chosen if they gave options ala Bioware games. As mute ciphers go, Gordon Freeman is a really interesting protagonist in a lot of ways. I never had any trouble identifying with him the way I did FC3's protagonist.

I can't really tell from this video whether four will really be better about the shitty stuff while keeping the really refined exotic animal murder mechanics or not.
posted by sparkletone at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sorry Mario! The subversion of video game tropes is in another castle!
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:58 PM on November 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Saxon Kane, I choose you.
posted by Mister_A at 3:18 PM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Man, the marriage of next gen graphics with less than stellar character animation lands these cut scenes squarely in the uncanny valley. Any emotional impact that ending was supposed to have is completely undercut by the fact that the actors' facial expressions barely exceed the range of a marionette.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 4:17 PM on November 16, 2014


the actors' facial expressions barely exceed the range of a marionette

No no, that's the whole racism satire thing you've heard so much about.
posted by Behemoth at 4:58 PM on November 16, 2014


I had a blast tooling around the island, murdering dudes, taking over their forts (and also occasionally punching a shark). But blaaaaaggghhhhhhhh. The plot missions and that one rapey bit... It really kind of soured me on the game by the end...

I had similar feelings. I enjoyed the gameplay, although I found the patronizing attitude of the local allies ("become a real warrior") more than a little galling after I'd murdered dozens of hardcore thug bad guys while all my allies did was sit around and talk shit. Then I hit the high point of burning pot fields while listening to Skrillex FOR AMERICA!! and I suddenly felt like this game was written just for me...and then it just got way, way too icky and rapey and, um...no.

I turned it off.

Blood Dragon, however, was an absolute masterpiece of awesome. I pity any fan of '80s action sci-fi flicks who has not yet played this tour de fuck yeah.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:09 PM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, though Min's character seems like a flat and boring caricature, whoever does the voice acting for him fucking kills it.

It's funny because you can say the same about the villains from Far Cry 3. Whereas the Jackal from Far Cry 2 had a performance that was flat and boring, but his character was far from it.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:43 PM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I might be the only person who loved the voice acting in Far Cry 2. It was weird, with everyone sort of rushing through their lines, but the understated, often flat, delivery was so refreshing after playing so many games with the ACTING turned up to 11 all the time.

I want to blow up and burn the scenery, not stand around watching awkwardly-mo-capped NPCs chew it.
posted by straight at 9:21 PM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, I think this alternate ending is a subversion insofar that it shows that all of these high-minded aspirations in video games (honor your dearly deceased mother) are naught but thinly-veiled justifications to murk a bunch of dudes, because if you choose to not behave like a video game character, you achieve your goals with minimal fanfare. Though presumably you then go murk some other dudes anyway.

I thought this was awesome, except that I was sort of tempted to pick up the game before, and now I think I'm going to be ultimately disappointed by the actual main storyline NOT being the story of how you go off and bond with your surrogate dad while getting stylish (and excessive) revenge against the terrorists who killed your sister.

That would make for a great alternate campaign in a DLC, but it's not subversive at all. How many video games- FPS's especially- have a big twist that you were fighting for the bad guys all along? It's become especially cliche in recent years, even though I can remember it as far back as Deus Ex.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:40 AM on November 17, 2014


Evidently, the new AC games are very buggy. I find this to be hilarious.
posted by jbickers at 12:52 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Those were potstickers, not crab rangoon.
posted by Chuffy at 1:20 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mister_A: Let's BEE friends.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:36 PM on November 17, 2014


That would make for a great alternate campaign in a DLC, but it's not subversive at all.

I certainly wasn't thinking of it in any "twist" sense, but I'm also not particularly concerned with it being "subversive", just slightly more novel and considerably more compelling in terms of the characters you get to spend your time hanging around with.
posted by Sequence at 8:23 AM on November 18, 2014


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