Far Cry 3 Ending Explained: The Making of a Monster - VRGyani News and Media

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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Far Cry 3 Ending Explained: The Making of a Monster

Far Cry 3 wasn’t the first game of the franchise, but many regard it as the title that put the Far Cry series on the map and brought it into the gaming mainstream. Not only did its sales eclipse those of its predecessor, many also credit the game for popularizing the open-world gameplay loop that would go on to be imitated in countless other titles. Before radio towers and settlements became a punchline of game design, they were a staple of Far Cry 3.

However, while shooting and exploring their way through the islands of the Rakyat might have been the main selling point for most players, it was the story that made the title such a memorable experience. Experiencing Jason Brody’s evolution from wide-eyed tourist to a veritable killing machine kept players grounded in the world, and gave weight to their actions within the context of the story. Culminating in the end with one final choice for both the player and Jason Brody: Do you save your friends and escape back to civilization? Or, do you ritually sacrifice them, fully embracing the chaos and violence you’ve had to immerse yourself in to earn the right to have this choice in the first place?

With Far Cry 6 just around the corner, let’s take a look back at where the series truly came into its own, and why many still remember it fondly as a high point for the franchise.

Spoilers AheadRELATED: ‘Far Cry 6' Season Pass Lets You Play as Franchise Villains Vaas, Pagan Min, and Joseph Seed

Story Recap

To briefly get us up to speed, Far Cry 3 follows the tale of Jason Brody, on vacation in the fictional Rook Islands. Following a skydiving trip gone wrong, Jason and his friends are captured by a band of pirates led by Vaas Montenegro and his employer, a man named Hoyt Volker. After a daring escape that ends with Jason’s older brother Grant shot dead and the rest of his friends still missing, Jason is rescued by Dennis. Dennis is an adopted member of the island’s native Rakyat tribe, led by a mysterious woman named Sitra who implores Jason to rid the island of the pirates.

Throughout the story, Jason proceeds to defeat Vaas and Hoyt as well as rescue his friends. However, they are captured yet again, this time by Sitra and the Rakyat. After a brief drug-fueled hallucination induced by Sitra, Jason awakens holding a knife to his girlfriend Liza’s throat. It is here that the game offers both Jason and the player a choice: Sacrifice your friends to remain on the island forever, or seek redemption and follow them back to civilization?

Murder Is a Hell of a Drug

Ludonarrative dissonance is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit when discussing storytelling in gaming. It was coined to describe what happens when the narrative told by the game itself conflicts with the narrative told through gameplay. Far Cry 3 is one of a handful of AAA games that attempt to bring these two stories together. When Jason makes his first kill early on in the game, he is horrified. Even in some of the earlier missions, you can feel his reluctance to throw himself into this culture of violence that exists on the island. It’s a bit clumsily done at certain points admittedly, as most of these character moments are expressed solely via cutscene. But the game does show that it cares about its narrative enough to attempt a more nuanced approach to its in-game violence. As the game progresses, players will inevitably become more proficient with the game’s systems and mechanics. But by extension, Jason Brody as a character becomes more proficient and comfortable with the act of killing and fighting. This transformation elicits notes of concern and shock from his friends, as they struggle to comprehend what Jason has had to do to rescue them. Just as Jason has made his mark on the island, the island has marked him in turn.

Far Cry 3 is not shy about its influences and inspirations, as an early quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland helps to set the mood: “In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.” The symmetry couldn’t be more clear, as Jason begins his descent into an alien world with rules far more brutal than he can imagine. Just like Alice, to escape this strange world, Jason Brody is compelled to immerse himself in it. Changing from someone who was at first hesitant to even pull a trigger into a seasoned killer and combatant. And as the player becomes more immersed in the story, their growth and Jason's growth start to become the same. It’s hammered into both the player’s and Jason’s heads that you are a warrior, honing your skills to defeat your enemies and accomplish your goals. Sitra makes it clear that she wants to transform Jason into a warrior of legend, determined to sever any ties he has to the outside world. And players are on board with that kind of mindset from the start. It's the major reason we're here in the first place, to shoot cool guns and level up.

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This is why when the ending choice finally comes, it’s a wake-up moment for the player as well as Jason. To even get to this final decision, Jason has had to shoot, stab, and hunt countless human beings. He has become a killer who has conquered every obstacle in his path with violence and blood. As he stands there, knife to Liza’s throat, the gravity of what he’s become finally hits. With Citra by his side egging him on, this is more than just a choice of whether to save his friends or not. This is a choice of who Jason will decide he’s going to be for the rest of his life. But, it’s a choice for the player as well. If the game has done a good enough job immersing the player into the narrative, this moment is an indirect call to them as well. You’ve had fun playing the game, but you’ve also turned this character into a monster in the context of this world. Do you give Jason the release he’s been fighting for this whole time, and give him another chance at a normal life? Or, do you lock him into this world forever, killing Liza and sacrificing everything he used to be in service of the monster he’s become?

If you choose to save Liza, Jason has a line of narration where he reflects on what he’s become. He recognizes the terrible things he’s done but also recognizes that he has a choice. He can choose to be better than all of this. Choose to reject the gratuitous nature of violence, and rise above his past actions to look to the future. Games are fun, and violent games are tons of fun. This is why it’s so interesting that Far Cry 3 takes the time to remind the player that regardless of our enjoyment of violent media, it’s important to recognize the line between fact and fiction. To recognize that violence has consequences, and there’s a reason we try to relegate our more aggressive urges to the realm of make-believe. It’s an uncomfortable question to pose to players, which makes it all the more impressive that Far Cry 3 chose to pose it in the first place. And if you have any doubts regarding where the writers stood on which was the ‘correct’ choice, the second option leaves little up in the air.

Choose to kill Liza, and the game ends with Jason bleeding out via a knife in the stomach. The message here is very clear. If the player chooses that Jason should live by the sword, it is only fitting that he die by the sword.

The Definition of Insanity

Most players will choose to save Liza without much consideration. A glance at some message boards, and you’ll find players discussing why there was even a choice given in the first place? After all, who would willingly choose to become such a reprehensible creature and sacrifice one’s friends for the sake of pure bloodlust? But this is the point of having the choice in the first place. Had the game simply taken control away from the player and saved Jason’s friends by default, it would have been a fine ending. But it wouldn’t have done justice to the themes being explored throughout the game.

Some say what separates us from animals is the ability to reason. Others say it’s that we have the ability to choose. And this appears to be the crux of the debate surrounding the quality of Far Cry 3’s ending. When the correct choice seems so obvious, making the player choose seems like nothing more than a formality. But that’s the point.

When all is said and done, no matter how far gone Jason Brody might be, he still has the ability to choose.

KEEP READING: Netflix Announces Two Animated ‘Far Cry’ Series, Including Spinoff Series 'Captain Laserhawk'



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