Every second in Far Cry 4 is another chance to make the game’s story your story. From the brutal rush of witnessing an elephant go on a rampage in an enemy camp, to driving your car off a cliff only to use your wingsuit to carry you to safety, the world is full of choice and possibility. It is only right that this range of choices applies to the story as well. Every decision you make will have an impact on the world, the missions and the other characters you come across. Ajay Ghale will encounter these key choice moments throughout his journey. But who is Ajay, and why is he so important that his choices can affect an entire country?
Ajay and You
We know Ajay was born in Kyrat, and that his parents were important there for reasons initially unknown by him. When he was young, his mother brought him to the United States to escape Kyrat after something happened with his father (the team at Ubisoft Montreal is choosing to remain vague on the particulars) and he doesn’t return to his place of birth until many years later. However, once he arrives in Kyrat, a land of veritable strangers, he finds he is not so strange to all of the inhabitants. They know who he is, perhaps more so than he does himself. They know his family and his history. Even the tyrannical despot Pagan Min is familiar with him.
Creative Director Alex Hutchinson loves this parallel between the player and Ajay. At this moment, upon arriving in Kyrat, you know as little about what’s going on as Ajay does. “He has no idea what he’s getting into,” Hutchinson says. “We like the idea that at least in that moment, the player and the character are one. “
Hutchinson goes on to explain why the team wanted to maintain this relationship between the player and Ajay. “Ajay is interesting because in a first-person game you’re caught in this challenging spot where you don’t want to get in the player’s way too much. You really want as much as possible to allow the player to feel like they inhabit this world. We like the characters being representations of the player.”
Which is why it’s important that you (the player) are just as confused as Ajay is when he’s recognized by the Kyrati locals. Think of it like going to a party where everyone knows you and has crazy stories about you that you don’t remember telling anyone, let alone these people you’re sure you’ve never met before. It’s unsettling and, as Hutchinson says, a uniquely awkward feeling.
“You usually have either people who don’t know anything about you and they’re threatening you, or people who have all this knowledge about you and you know all about them – and it just makes you as the player feel disconnected from them. We wanted to find this hopefully new sensation of people recognizing you and involving you in their story before you really know much about them.”
This, of course, ties into the various choices players will have to make in the game with the sometimes limited information provided to them. Perhaps one of the most major choices involves what is known in Kyrat as the Golden Path.
Shades of Gray
Nothing is simple in Far Cry 4. There is no black and white. Everyone has an agenda. Even the supposed “good guys” are sometimes torn apart by in-fighting and opposing methods and motives. It’s within this morally relativistic setting that you’ll be forced to make choices that shape the world around you along with the story being told.
The Golden Path is the rebel faction in Kyrat; Ajay will eventually ally with them in his fight against Pagan Min. But there are different paths to take, different leaders to side with in the Golden Path, and that will change everything for Ajay (and Kyrat).
“With the Golden Path, what we wanted to achieve was this idea that even though they’re the good guys, they’re kind of muddled about how they should achieve their aims,” Hutchinson explains. “So the player will be able to choose which leader of the Golden Path they’re following. They both want to target Pagan Min, but how they do it, why they do it, and what the consequences will be are radically different.”
There is no clear “light” side or “dark” side in the Golden Path. In fact, it’s more akin to old versus new. Both leaders have their own reasons for why they do things the way they do, and at times the feuding between them goes to extremes. On the one hand you have someone hoping to end Pagan Min’s reign and preserve the old ways, which might be seen as “repressive and strange” in a modern world. On the other hand you have a leader determined to bring Kyrat into the present by embracing riskier business ventures like drug and weapons in order to bring much-needed money to the country.
These leaders will force you to make decisions at key moments that will affect the story, the missions and even the tools at your disposal. Hutchinson further explains that these choices won’t be made dispassionately; Ajay is caught up in a family feud wrought with emotion, which means you’re likely to find yourself stuck in the middle quite a bit. Choose wisely, though: What you do will decide the fate of Kyrat in Far Cry 4.
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