Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is the result of a team of Ubisoft developers being let loose and given permission to mash together 80s action films and toys with one of the studio's most well-known franchises, according to creative director Dean Evans.
Speaking to Polygon, Evans said it was "kind of psychotic and crazy" that the idea to put a 1980s, kitschy, sci-fi action spin on the Far Cry series was approved, but he's glad it did, because it's the kind of risk he wanted to take.
"We were given a brief to look at downloadable content or an expansion for Far Cry, and that was the most exciting thing because you don't have to present back something normal, right?" Evans said. "It would have been really safe and traditional to say, 'Let's do some new weapons! Or a new map!' but we wanted to take a risk."
That risk came in the form of an 80s aesthetic inspired by B-grade action films, plastic toys, neon lasers, terrible dialog, cheesy scripts and stories and killer cyborgs. According to Evans, Far Cry 3 has a "really good engine and really good gameplay" that allowed the development team to apply the changes they wanted to make, so as crazy as the premise and the action seems, the core game supports every bit of the neon. Far Cry's executive producer, Dan Hay, also supported Evans' idea.
"Going into that pitch presentation was hilarious," Evans said. "To be totally honest with you, there was a small part of me that thought, 'They'll never do this. They will never, ever go for this.'"
Evans arrived at the pitch meeting with a 50-page presentation. Three slides in, Hay gave him the thumbs up to make Blood Dragon.
"I think Dan [Hay] knew where we were coming from. The kind of genesis of the industry and the explosion of games in the late 80s and 90s — this is what it was," Evans said. "We can go through Smash TV, we can go through Contra, we can go through Metal Gear — it's the same stuff in terms of the aesthetic and the overall feel. It's been permeating within everyone's veins. And Dan has been in the industry for a while and he grew up in this time period, so he knew where we were coming from."
According to Evans, the development team wanted to bring some fun to the shooter genre by indulging in what excites them and being upfront and honest about what they're doing.
"The game is stupid, and it's OK," he said. "We're not trying to tap into these super deep emotions and make a 'realistic shooter'. We're embracing what we are, which is an honest, bullshit shooter with mindless fun. And we don't see anything wrong with that."
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon will launch on May 1 for Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Windows PC.
Update: Blood Dragon will be available one day earlier on PlayStation Network — April 30, according to the PlayStation Blog.