Permanent Death: exploring harsh consequence in Far Cry 2

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A little while ago, a conversation on Far Cry 2 creative director Clint Hocking’s blog led to a small experiment amongst the die-hard fans of the game. Manveer Heir argued that ethical choices are meaningless unless those choices are irreversible and backed up by permanent consequence: Clint Hocking argued that such a philosophy is one more applicable for linear narrative, and doesn’t take into account the game-specific mechanics of restarting and trying again.

Eventually, this snowballed into an experiment revolving around Hocking’s game: how would the player-enforced concept of permanent death change the experience of playing Far Cry 2? What if instead of restarting from your last save file upon death, you simply deleted your savegame and had to accept that your death represented the end of your story?

Though Ben Abraham isn’t the only blogger to chronicle his attempt at a permadeath Far Cry 2 run, he’s certainly presented his story in a more polished and entertaining format than many others I’ve read. His story, “Permanent Consequence,” is now available for download as a PDF (don’t get scared by the pagecount: each slide only holds one or two sentences). Though it focuses more on the experience of creating a story and identifying with one’s avatar than it does the actual strategies that a FC2 veteran would need to undertake in order to survive a permadeath playthrough (Abraham forces himself to pretend he doesn’t know the endgame twist, for instance) it’s still a remarkably interesting read.

And a surprisingly well-timed one, as well: I just completed my first successful no-death playthrough of FC2, and it may have been one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve ever had in a game. I highly recommend trying it out.


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