GR: There's also the malaria mechanic, which sees the player's character having to keep topped up with medicine to avoid succumbing to illness and delusions. Is that going to be a constant worry to the player or will they be able play the game without paying too much attention to it?
CH: Malaria is not something we want the player to have to micro manage. Most of the time, the player will need to take a malaria pill every 20-40 minutes of playtime. This is done simply by pressing the heal button when you have malaria symptoms. However from time to time, perhaps every few hours or so (but it varies based on the actions you take), you may run out of malaria medicine and when that happens you will effectively be forced to take a simple side mission to get some more medicine. Once finished, you should be in good supply for several more hours.
GR: We've heard that indulging in gratuitous violence can also cause the protagonist to go crazy, while simultaneously becoming too infamous to get medical help from the game's benevolent NPCs. Are the world's more blood-thirsty gamers going to be at a disadvantage in FC2?
CH: ‘Go crazy’ is perhaps a bit of an overstatement. We never want to take control away from the player. Infamy is – grossly speaking – a reputation system. Effectively the player needs to develop a reputation as a dangerous and ruthless fighter in order to set himself apart from the masses of hired goons in this world if he has any hope of tracking down the Jackal.
Of course, in setting yourself up as the worst of the worst, you are on a collision course with those who are trying to help innocent people trapped in this hell hole. Your reputation as a cold-blooded bastard may eventually get in the way of your ability to get medicine to deal with the symptoms of your malaria.
Will blood-thirsty gamers be at a disadvantage? Only to the extent that blood-thirsty mercenaries are at a disadvantage – how significant that disadvantage is, is in fact exactly what Far Cry 2 is about. Are human beings dangerous because they can be shot a lot of times? Are they dangerous because they have guns? Are they dangerous because they have the will to be cold-blooded and ruthless? Or are they dangerous because they are social animals who have friends and alliances?
GR: Previews have also touched on there being a second 'darker' game world in FC2. Given all the madness and physical degradation present, are we going to see some kind of horror element appear later in the game?
CH: There will be no horror or mystical or magical or sci-fi or psychic or fantasy elements of any kind anywhere in Far Cry 2. Far Cry 2 is dedicated to creating a realistic credible world. The ‘darker’ part of the world you are referring to, and the madness and physical degradation, are all themes we want to explore.
The questions above about what makes a man dangerous are in themselves dangerous questions that lead to madness. In creating a game that invites the player to ask himself these questions and explore his own feelings about the answers to these questions, we felt we needed a kind of ‘final climactic area’ in the game that would be visually different and would reflect the climax of the psychological journey we hope to lead the player into.
Thus, as the threads of the dynamic narrative are tied off and we close toward the possible conclusions, we unlock a final area in the game world in which the player undertakes his last few missions. Obviously, what it is and what it looks like is going to have to be a surprise, but again, there will be no monsters or any of that business.